ASK THE VET: Can we keep the cat and lose the allergies?
Answered by MHS Veterinarian Dr. Michael Redmer, D.V.M.
Q: My husband tested positive for cat allergies (as well as dust and pollen) and now we’re torn. Our 1- year-old cat, Jasper, whom we adopted from MHS, is truly one of the family and is my 6-year-old son’s best buddy. Can we keep the cat and lose the allergies?
A: Fortunately, many people who are allergic to their family cats are motivated to keep them. We can help! As you have stated, Jasper is only one of several sources of your husband’s allergic response. “Losing the cat” will not eliminate his allergies to dust and pollen.
Allergens can be greatly diminished in the environment through regular, thorough vacuuming (use a vacuum with a fineparticle or HEPA filter) and your allergist can suggest medical options for dealing with allergy symptoms.
Humans with allergies to cats are primarily responding to the cat’s dander, which is largely composed of dried saliva from grooming. Bathing your cat with a hypoallergenic shampoo can greatly decrease the dander on the cat and in the environment.
Also, there is a veterinary medication called acetylpromazine that, when highly diluted with water and given to a cat orally on a daily basis, has been shown to alter the allergic response to the cat’s dander.
Studies suggest that a high percentage of allergic people experience greatly improved or resolved allergic response to cat dander with daily administration of this product.
Be patient: It can take several days or weeks to experience this relief. Talk to your veterinarian today!
Michael Redmer, D.V.M., has been a staff veterinarian at the Michigan Humane Society Berman Center for Animal Care in Westland for more than 10 years.
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