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Pets with Allergies

Allergies in Pets

What is the difference between allergy to pets and allergy in pets?

Many people with allergies are allergic to the dander produced by dogs, cats, horses, or other animals. However, many animals, particularly dogs and cats, have allergic sensitivities of their own.  As far as is known, pets do not have allergic reactions to human dander, but like humans they are frequently allergic to proteins produced by dust mites.

What are dust mites, and where do they live?

Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in beds, blankets, sofas, carpets, and other soft materials. They are often thought of as insects, but are actually tiny arachnids, relatives of spiders and ticks. They live near people, dogs, and other warm-blooded animals, using their shed skin scales as food.

How do dust mites cause allergy?

“Allergens” are substances capable of eliciting an allergic reaction.  Proteins in the waste particles of dust mites are among the strongest allergens.  The allergy sufferer is exposed to these allergens when mite waste particles contact skin or are inhaled.

What is atopic dermatitis?

“Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema, a scaly, intensely itchy skin inflammation that is usually the result of an allergic reaction. It is the most common form of allergy in pets.

How can exposure to dust mite allergens be decreased?

Because the biggest source of exposure is the bed, the most important step is to have a pet-bed made with an inner allergen-barrier fabric, which prevents the dust mite allergens from escaping and contacting the pet. The removable outer cover of the pet-bed should be washed every 1-2 weeks to remove any accumulated surface dust.  If the pet is allowed on the owner’s bed, the mattress and pillows should also be encased in mite-proof covers.

What is Mission: Allergy Premium Microfiber barrier fabric?

It is an extremely tightly woven microfiber fabric with almost 200 filaments per yarn that block the passage of the minute allergen-containing waste particles, yet still allow air and water-vapor passage for comfort.

Does this fabric also block fleas and bedbugs?

Yes, and yes.  Those insects are vastly larger than dust mites, and cannot penetrate the fabric.  The bedbug-blocking abilities of Mission Allergy barrier fabric has been proven in scientific studies.

How well do Mission: Allergy Anti-Allergen Pet Beds work?

They are completely effective at blocking allergen escape.  They will be most effective at eliminating symptoms when dust mite allergy is a major cause of the pet’s dermatitis, and when mite exposure from sources other than the pet’s bed is not unusually high.  Testing by your veterinarian can determine if dust mite allergy is a major cause of your pet’s atopic dermatitis.  If so, the response to the Anti-Allergen Pet Bed can be dramatic.

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, in an inflammatory skin condition usually brought on by an allergic reaction to environmental substances including house dust mites,pollens, and molds, and occasionally by an allergic reaction to food. It is intensely itchy, and may lead to the pet scratching, licking, or biting itself, which it turn often leads to secondary infection. It frequently occurs on the face, ears, and paws, and at areas where skin contacts skin, such as the wrists, ankles, and groin. Atopic dermatitis has been described as "the itch that rashes, not a rash that itches." That is, the itch generally comes first, with most of the visible rash resulting from the resulting licking, scratching and rubbing of the skin.

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is based on the veterinarian’s examination, and by the exclusion of other conditions including fleas or other skin parasites and infection by bacteria or yeast. Determination of the specific allergen or allergens underlying the problem is based on allergy skin testing or blood testing.

Treatments include some or all of the following:

  1. allergen avoidance—decreasing or eliminating exposure to the allergy-causing substances
  2. medication—to decrease itching and skin inflammation (antihistamines, topical or oral steroids, immune suppressants), and to treat any superimposed infection (antibiotics or anti-yeast medications)
  3. immunotherapy (allergy injections or drops)—to build up a gradually increasing tolerance to the causative allergens

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