Treatments / Allergy and environmental illness / Cat & dog allergies

Allergy and environmental illness

Dog and cat allergy treatment
No dog is considered non-allergenic and there are no (readily available) hypoallergenic cats.

Cat & dog allergies

The most common pet allergies are cat allergies and dog allergies.

These allergies may cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • itching, running or congestion of the nose
  • red, itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
    plugged or itchy ears
  • the throat may have post-nasal drip, frequent throat clearing, itching and hoarseness
  • coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and frequent bronchitis
  • itchy skin rashes or hives

Most people who suffer from cat and dog allergies often have other mild or moderate allergies to pollens, moulds, feathers and dust.

Cat allergy

Although work is underway to create hypoallergenic cats, there are no standard cats which are hypoallergenic. Contrary to common belief, a protein in the saliva and dander of cats, not their hair, is what produces allergic reactions in humans. A glycoprotein, Fel d1, secreted by the sebaceous glands, is the major cat allergen. This allergen is found in the fur, pelt, saliva, serum, urine, mucus, salivary glands, and hair roots of the cat. The main sources of the allergen, however, are the skin and saliva.

Cat allergen is particularly sticky and may be carried on clothing and belongings from places with cats to areas without cats. Cat allergen may also remain airborne for long periods of time; this is because it is about 10 times smaller than pollen or dust particles.

Dog allergy

Dog allergens are also small and sticky and can stay airborne for a long time. They can adhere to walls, clothing, carpets, furniture, and heating and cooling ducts. No dog is considered non-allergenic because all dogs produce offending allergens, which are dander, saliva, and urine. However, there are dogs that produce less dander, which may be more suitable for some people.

How Breakspear can help

People with cat and/or dog allergies may benefit from a consultation with a Breakspear physician. After this, the doctor will make recommendations concerning treatment, where appropriate, and an estimate of the tailor-made treatment programme will be given before any further costs are incurred.

Breakspear specialises in the treatment of allergy, intolerance and sensitivity by using the proven system of allergy management called low-dose immunotherapy (also known as provocation/neutralisation), together with a nutritional supplement programme. (For more information on how this type of allergy treatment works, see How do antigen vaccines work?) We use a holistic approach to treatment and avoid drug therapy programmes where possible.

Pet allergy patients at Breakspear will also receive:

Publications & Records

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology printed a summary report in July 2007 which stated in its recommendations, "... immunotherapy can prevent a symptomatic allergic response for many years, and may prevent the development of additional allergic conditions..." 

To view the full Select Committee Sixth Report, visit the Parliaments Publications and Records website.

House of Lords

  • A booklet with information about pet allergies, tips on how to change your environment and diet to improve your condition, and a listing of the allergens for which you will be tested including such items as histamine, various moulds and pollens
  • Recommendations for a nutritional supplement programme to strengthen your immune system.

Good nutrition is important because some foods can exacerbate symptoms; some people are helped by avoiding wheat and histamine-containing and histamine-releasing foods, such as cheese, strawberries, pork and shellfish.

Breakspear's allergy treatment programme varies greatly from traditional treatments for pet allergies which have involved the use of antihistamines, steroids and decongestants. Antihistamines often cause drowsiness and many rarely do more than modify the symptoms. Steroids come in many different forms and have many undesirable side effects and reduce immunity to infection. Decongestants are drugs which cause the lining of the nose to shrink, thus reducing the congestion which occurs as a result of histamine release in hay fever. Unfortunately decongestants often need to be taken with increasing frequency, in increasing dosage, and symptoms may become even worse as the drug’s effects wear off.


More information on other allergy/sensitivity topics





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