Pediatricians have discovered that animal allergies are becoming more common. Their prevalence has increased in recent years with 20 to 30% of the population affected by allergic disease.

Following the first contact with the allergen, it penetrates through the respiratory tract and sensitizes the subject’s immune system. The latter is then out of order and defends itself against an otherwise harmless substance. The following contacts are responsible for more or less severe symptoms related to the cells of the subject’s immune system.

Causes and risk factors

Two conditions are necessary for the allergy to be triggered:

  • The exposure to the allergen;
  • The genetic predisposition.

Animals are now most often confined in urban dwellings, which explains the increase in the frequency of allergy linked to animals.

Animals responsible for allergies

  • The cat: the main allergen is present in the saliva that the animal deposits on its hair by licking itself;
  • The dog: it is recognized as being less allergenic than the cat;
  • The horse: dead skin cells and horse hair are very allergenic;
  • Cattle: appendages (nails and hair), urine, saliva are the major allergens in cattle. Virgin sheep wool, sheepskins as well as bovine leather and dander can also be responsible for allergic manifestations;
  • The rabbit and rodents;
  • Birds and in particular their droppings;
  • Insects (cockroaches, fleas, ticks). The biting insects (bees, wasps, hornets) may be responsible for severe allergic reactions.
  • The children, in direct contact with pets, are most often affected. Allergy to animals is a common cause in children of chronic respiratory tract infections (colds, bronchitis) or asthma.


Allergies can result in skin, respiratory, or generalized manifestations (anaphylaxis), which is an extreme manifestation of an allergic reaction.

A few minutes after contact with the animal, the following symptoms may develop in the child:

  • Runny nose;
  • Redness of the eyes;
  • Cough or skin signs (eczema, hives).

More serious symptoms are possible:

  • Asthma attack;
  • Angioedema, with swelling of the face and airways which can cause death by suffocation.

Treatment from pediatricians of animal allergies

It is based on the removal of the responsible animal by keeping it away from the allergic person. When this is not possible, desensitization by an allergist is possible: it involves gradually accustoming the body by administering increasing doses of the allergen in question orally, with drops of allergens.

The protective effect of desensitization usually lasts for several years after stopping treatment.

Anti-allergic drugs may also be prescribed. You can take antihistamines; eye drops or nasal drops as an adjunct. For example, if an allergic child goes on vacation to his grandparents who have an animal, he can take an antihistamine the day before departure and daily during the length of stay.


Ideally, it is better to stay away from the animal that is the source of the allergy. If this is impossible and the person finds himself in contact, here are a few instructions to avoid the allergic crisis:

  • Wash your hands after stroking the animal;
  • Avoid carpets, pillowcases, cushions, fluff and any coverings on which allergens can be deposited;
  • Regularly clean the house with a vacuum cleaner and wash the bedding elements at high temperature, use protective covers;
  • Frequently ventilate the home.

Contact Pediatricians in Gastonia NC

The prevalence of animal allergies has been on the rise in recent times. As a parent or a guardian, you need to take note of the animal allergy your child has and ensure to avoid the things that trigger the allergy.

You may need to consult your pediatrician if the allergic reactions in your child are severe or life threatening. Contact  Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.