Dog Days: the Mysteries and Miseries of Allergy to Man’s Best Friend

By Henry Ehrlich
There’s a saying that will get repeated often as of late: In order for you a pal in Washington get a canine. But when the lonely legislator (or whomever) is allergic to them that’s an issue. The Obama kids have been suggested to get Portuguese water canines, which have a non-allergenic repute, however that’s all it’s. I knew that photographs for canine allergy have a so-so document of effectiveness, however I had no thought how sophisticated mere analysis is till I ran throughout a brand new article by Roy Gerth van Wijk MD, PhD to be revealed in JACI, about these doggy difficulties.
For a begin, many self-reported canine allergic reactions are unsuitable, as we would anticipate. However the professionals usually don’t do any higher. Structured allergy historical past leads to false-positive charges of 27% in contrast with a proper allergy workup. Accuracy of skin-prick assessments (SPT), one of many pillars of allergy testing, is hampered by the truth that extracts don’t at all times comprise the related allergens. In a single research, van Wijk writes, “five extracts from European manufacturers were examined. SPT extracts showed a 20-fold variation in protein content, whereas the dog allergens Can f 1 and Can f 2 varied widely between extracts with undetectable levels in one of five extracts.”
Some allergens are distinctively doggish, however are solely reactive in 50-90% of sufferers. Others are cross-reactive for different furry animals from cats to horses just like the way in which birch pollen Wager v 1 allergen that seems below varied names in different crops, such because the Ara h eight part of peanut. Some allergens are solely present in male canines, so if the testing extract is barely drawn from females, you’re out of luck. Part testing is helpful for diagnosing peanut-allergy; Ara h 2 and Ara h 6 observe fairly carefully with susceptibility to severe reactions throughout meals challenges. However whereas many elements will be related to canine allergy, within the take a look at tube it’s exhausting to line them up with the outcomes of a nasal problem, which is the closest equal of the gold-standard oral problem for meals allergic reactions. You’ll be able to’t stick an entire canine within the affected person’s nostril the way in which you possibly can some model of the entire peanut throughout a meals problem. For nasal challenges, docs should depend on the identical broadly variable extracts used for pores and skin testing. This seems to be extra of a idiot’s gold problem.
Our contributor Brian Schroer, upon studying the Van Wijk article, elaborated on sure factors “Studies have shown that dog allergen comes from the skin, saliva and in male dogs the prostate. So, the only way to have a truly hypoallergenic dog is to find a skinless or spitless dog. However, I do not know if I would want one!” Except in fact as many others have identified, it’s the form of canine you placed on a bun and eat with mustard.
“That being said,” Brian continues, “many canines produce completely different ranges of allergen. Some canines could also be ‘more’ allergenic than others, however this isn’t a breed-to-breed factor, it’s a person canine vs particular person canine factor.
Dr. Brian Schroer“The other thing to consider is that dog dander is ubiquitous. It is in schools, offices, and medical buildings. But the allergen levels are much higher in the homes where the dog lives. In the case of patients with dog allergies it can be hard to know if your dog is contributing to your symptoms. This is because if you live with a dog the allergen is always around and you are therefore constantly exposed. That constant exposure leads to constant lower level symptoms than you would have if you are not regularly exposed to other people’s dogs. This means you may have constant low level nose congestion and dripping with some mild sneezing from your own dog whereas someone else with dog allergies but no dog at home will have more fast onset and more severe symptoms when they do go around the dog. This often includes more sneezing, worse dripping and nose congestion and even eye symptoms. Asthma is another disease where dog can be one of many triggers and when you live with a dog it can contribute to more frequent or severe symptoms than if you do not live with a dog.”
“While history or testing alone are not perfect it is helpful to see an allergist to see if your dog maybe contributing to symptoms. Despite the potential for allergen extracts being falsely negative, a positive test and a good history is the best available way to know if your dog or other dogs are contributing to nose allergies or asthma.”
Thanks, Dr. Schroer.
Canine picture from “The Fatal Glass of Beer” by WC Fields, 1933
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