What if you have allergic reactions when near some dogs but not others?
Considering there are NO 𝐡𝐲𝐩𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐜 𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐬, then the answer must be somewhere else.
Have you thought you might be reacting to a male dog and not a female dog?
Although a male specific protein was discovered in 2008 by researchers in 𝐒𝐰𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐧, the test to make this diagnosis only became available in 2020.
This male dog specific protein is found in the dog’s prostate. Hence females will not produce it.
It is called “𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘬𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘯”, or 𝘊𝘢𝘯 𝘧 𝟻, and it is actually similar to a human male prostatic protein involved in vaginal allergic reactions.
Saying this, we also know that a male dog can produce the primary dog allergen, called 𝘊𝘢𝘯 𝘧 𝟷, which is found in saliva, roughly 𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 more than a female dog.
Understanding that allergic reactions are dose dependent can explain that someone might react to a male dog, mainly due to higher allergen exposure.
This can also explain why someone can have a reaction when in the same room as an animal owner (𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐉𝐔𝐒𝐓 𝐃𝐎𝐆𝐒), as the main mammalian allergen belongs to a group called “𝘭𝘪𝘱𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘴”.
These tiny allergens spread easily and adhere mainly to textiles but also can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time, making them easy to be transferred from one person to another.
If you are in doubt about being allergic to a dog or not, start by requesting 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐬.
In case the result is positive, and you believe you have allergic reactions when near a male dog only, you can request component diagnostics to dog allergens, focusing on 𝘊𝘢𝘯 𝘧 𝟻.
Many people think that pet allergies are caused by a dog's or cat's fur (or any other pet, for what it matters), but the real source of pet allergies is often a protein that's in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats, also some produced in sebaceous glands. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from your pet's skin.
Some cats or dogs may shed less dander than others, which potentially can lead to fewer symptoms.
The most interesting piece of research done so far came to the following conclusion:
There is also extensive research done by Prof A. Custovic, related to the development of allergies to pets (can provide references if asked).
The most common symptoms seen in pet allergy are very similar to most other airborne allergens.
But they will vary depending on the person's own sensitivity to the pet in question.
The greater the skin prick test and/or specific IgE, the higher the chance to develop more severe symptoms.
The worse respiratory symptoms tend to be associated with someone who already has an underlying breathing pathology, like asthma, poorly controlled allergic rhinitis or recurrent wheeze of varied aetiology.
This potentially can lead to significant deterioration, often leading to hospital admission for treatment, often including moderate to intensive admissions and treatment.
Prof John Warner, one of the best known worldwide experts in Allergy, has once said that "If you remove a cat from home, you clean all the walls down, do the laundry, do the draperies, it still takes six months for the level of cat protein to get down to normal."
More of less the same will apply to dogs.
Research done by Allergist Dana Wallace, MD, has shown cat dander to be the smallest among pets. This means it will remain airborne for at least 30mins after being disturbed, leading to constant exposure to it.
What to do?
Depending on the severity of symptoms, you might need to avoid the pet (leading to allergic symptoms) completely.
If mild, then you can try mild avoidance and cleaning methods, like:
Dr Costa is a Consultant Paediatrician and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.