Dog allergy


A dog allergy is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to certain substances that are released by dogs in saliva, urine and glandular secretions. A dog allergy is manifested by symptoms such as red eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a dog allergy is treated differently. Read all important information about dog allergy here.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. J30ArtikelübersichtHundeallergie

  • description
  • symptoms
  • Causes and risk factors
  • Examinations and diagnosis
  • treatment
  • Disease course and prognosis

Dog allergy: description

The dog allergy (dog hair allergy) is a hypersensitivity to certain, actually harmless proteins, which are released by dogs. These proteins are found in the saliva, urine and skin and sebaceous glands. You are thus on dander and hair as well as in the urine of the dog. If the allergens of the dog get into the airways and mucous membranes of humans, they can cause an allergic reaction. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the dog hairs themselves that trigger an allergy, but particles that stick to them.

Dog allergy is the second most common pet allergy to cat allergy. Dogs generally produce all allergens. There is no dog breed that does not apply to this, although rumors are circulating again and again. Unlike cat allergy, in which sufferers are usually allergic to all types of cats, a dog allergy can exist only against individual breeds. For example, more people are allergic to boxers than to sheepdogs. There is evidence that short-haired dogs are more likely to cause problems than long-haired dogs.

A few people with dog allergies also show signs of allergy when they come into contact with cats. Dogs and cats generally produce different proteins, but some of them may resemble their basic structure. It is much more common for people with allergy to cats to develop allergic symptoms in contact with dogs. This phenomenon is called cross-allergy.

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Dog Allergy: Symptoms

In a dog allergy symptoms occur immediately after contact with the allergens. Dog hair allergy is an allergy of immediate type. This means that immediately after contact with the allergen in dog allergy symptoms. In order to cause allergic symptoms, no direct contact with dogs is necessary. The dog allergens can also be transmitted through the air, over objects or other persons.

The symptoms of dog allergy depend on where the contact with the allergens occurs. If you get in the eyes of an allergic person, red, burning or itchy eyes develop to conjunctivitis. If they are inhaled and get into the nose, the symptoms are reminiscent of hay fever. It comes to increased secretion production, the mucous membranes swell. Often there is a permanent sneeze. The mucous membranes in the neck swell. It comes to coughing, swallowing and throat scratching. On the skin, some may experience redness or swelling on contact with the allergen.

Compared to a cat allergy, the symptoms of dog allergy are often less pronounced. If an allergy is left untreated for a long time, the symptoms may get worse over time. In rare cases (especially if a dog allergy is not treated for a long time or at very high allergen exposure) may threaten asthma attacks with difficulty breathing and respiratory distress or even an anaphylactic shock.

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Dog Allergy: Causes and Risk Factors

The cause of a dog allergy are certain proteins that are released by dogs with their saliva, urine and skin glands. These proteins (allergens) adhere to dander and hair of the dog. From there, they either get into the air of the room, onto objects or through direct contact with humans.

The dog allergens are actually harmless substances. The actual cause of dog allergy is an overreaction of the immune system. When the immune system comes into contact with the substances for the first time, no symptoms of allergy appear. However, the immune system recognizes the substances as foreign and classifies them as harmful. As a result, it makes antibodies against it. Upon renewed contact with the allergens, the antibodies are activated. These now stimulate cells in the body that, among other things, release histamine. Histamine induces swelling of the mucous membranes in the body, increased mucus production and dilation of the blood vessels.

In order to develop symptoms in a dog allergy, sufferers do not even have to have contact with dogs themselves. The allergens are distributed by air and by pet owners who wear the dog hair and dander on their clothes everywhere. High concentrations of allergens are therefore also found in public places such as schools or in public transport. A dog allergy can therefore also occur in people who have never had personal contact with a dog.

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Dog allergy: examinations and diagnosis

If a dog allergy is suspected, the family doctor or an allergist is the right person to contact. In an initial conversation, this person records the medical history (anamnesis). You have the opportunity to describe your complaints exactly. To narrow down the nature of the symptoms and possible causes, the doctor may ask questions such as:

  • Do the complaints mainly occur indoors or outdoors?
  • Do you have permanent complaints or rather bumpy?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Were there people with similar complaints in your family?

Due to the variety of possible causes of an allergy and also because the symptoms may still point to other diseases, the diagnosis of an allergy can be very difficult. After the first conversation, a physical examination takes place. Among other things, the skin, the eyes and the respiratory tract are examined. The lungs are monitored and the general health is checked. The doctor may ask you to come back a second time and keep an allergy diary in the meantime. In an allergy diary, enter:

  • When and where the complaints occurred.
  • What you just did.
  • What you ate and drank that day.
  • Which medications you have taken.
  • What conceivable causes would be.

If the doctor has made a suspected diagnosis, an allergy test takes place. As an allergy test, the so-called prick test is usually used today. In the process, possible allergens are dripped onto the skin (usually on the forearm) and the skin is slightly scratched underneath. If there is a dog allergy, the skin reddens under the appropriate allergen within 15 to 20 minutes, swells and possibly forms pustules. If there is no allergy, the prick test shows little or no skin changes.

In addition, a special blood test can be performed (so-called RAST test). The blood is tested for antibodies that indicate an allergy. In addition, a normal blood picture can rule out inflammations and infections of the body that may be associated with symptoms similar to dog allergies.

In case of uncertain findings, a provocation test is finally carried out. For this, the suspected allergen is applied directly to the nasal mucous membranes. The provocation test is now rarely used because it can cause very severe allergic reactions. After the test, a follow-up of at least half an hour is necessary.