Author Topic: Dog Allergies  (Read 4005 times)

pookie

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Dog Allergies
« on: October 21, 2007, 09:13:17 AM »
Has anyone ever heard of/encountered dog allergies as serious as, say, peanut or fragrance based ones?  My institution is currently dealing with such a conflict between a student who claims to have such an allergy, and another student who uses a guide dog.  Some people are skeptical of the dog allergy, and I am curious.

skdadl

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 09:20:14 AM »
People can certainly be allergic to dog hair / dander -- I know someone who is and yet keeps dogs, is willing to suffer moderate symptoms because she loves them -- but I've never heard of an allergy to animals as severe as the peanut allergy (ie: leading possibly to anaphylaxis). I suppose it is possible.

vmichel

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 09:24:41 AM »
Yes, I have heard of severe dog allergies. I had to deal with a similar situation. Employees had been allowed to bring dogs to work, but we had to stop that because of the allergies.

Your local association for training guide dogs would probably be able to help. They handle this sort of thing all the time. They have creative solutions.

Croghan27

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 11:40:56 AM »
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

radiorahim

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 04:59:44 AM »
Yes I believe in dog hair allergies...I have that problem myself.   Within an hour or so of being at someone's house who has a dog...I'm stuffed up like crazy and have itchy red eyes.  Sometimes I start wheezing like an asthmatic.

And when I mention this to people they'll say things like "Oh I'll put the dog outside"... which doesn't make one iota of difference.    The dog's been in the house for X number of years...and unless someone has some very expensive air filtration system...or spends their whole life cleaning ...I'm going to have a problem.

If I know someone has a dog in their house, I simply avoid it.

There are certain breeds of dogs...like poodles that I have no problem with...they have hair rather than fur.

The bizarre thing however...is that I don't have this problem with cats.  In fact I own a cat (or rather the cat owns me!).    Most people have a problem with cat dander...but with me...it's dogs.

Anyway this conflict does create a bit of a conundrum.   One person needs their disability accomodated...but that accomodation does create health problems for someone else...that also require accomodation.

Both have rights under the various federal/provincial human rights codes...and (IANAL) my understanding of "reasonable accomodation" is usually interpreted as being "up to the point of hardship".

If the institution is something like a student residence, perhaps some special air filtering equipment could be installed in the allergic student's room to filter out the dog dander.
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Boom Boom

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 08:00:54 AM »
I was allergic to the German Shepherd I looked after last year. One of my brohers has never had a cat or a dog because he was allergic to both.

brebis noire

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 08:07:33 AM »
I have mild-to-moderate allergies of a lot of things, including dust, moulds, and animal hair/dander/saliva. My allergist from a long time ago told me that the most severe animal allergies tend to be cats and horses. On average, dog allergies tend to be much milder.

I am a bit skeptical about the severity of the allergy as compared to peanuts, but only because the allergen is technically not being ingested. Minute particles will of course be breathed in, but if the allergy is really that severe, it must be hugely debilitating -  not only because you never know when you might be in contact with dog dander (or any other animal), but because respiratory allergies almost never come singly. I'd bet that person is allergic to a lot of other things as well, maybe even with sensitivities to chemicals in the air. In a case like that, you'd have to think that there would be an allergist involved, and not just layperson's opinions and beliefs.

On a related note, I just flew from Winnipeg to Montreal the other day, and I have never seen so many pets in an airport in my life. I saw things I've never seen before: people going through the security portal with dogs and cats in their arms, and a security woman being frightened by a very large cat, who yowled just as she went to inspect the carrier. I was thinking that people with severe animal allergies are going to have to make sure their flight is animal-free...I was also thinking that maybe Westjet is picking up on the animal owners who can't fly with Air Canada.

skdadl

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2008, 08:16:19 AM »
One footnote about animal allergies, although maybe this crosses a line because it has to do with actual poison: some people are or become dangerously allergic to bee stings -- I think those may sometimes cause anaphylaxis.

I've only had two bee stings in my life. The first had no effect at all (I was a kid at the time). The second, about four years ago, caused a localized itchy patch, maybe three inches in diameter, that lasted for weeks and just drove me bananas. I could still show you the spot on my thigh where it was, and I have a sort of ghost-memory of the feeling. Someone told me at the time that I should get tested, just in case there was an escalating something going on, but I never have.

Of course, a lot of other animal bites will kill anyone, but we won't go there.

brebis noire

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2008, 08:39:05 AM »
Allergology is a pretty fascinating field, an offshoot of immunology, or maybe even a form of applied immunology. There's so much we don't quite know, including how much our immune systems are overloaded by environmental toxins and can get set off by otherwise harmless proteins or particles. Then there's the hygiene theory...

One thing I've always wondered about is how our immune systems react to a change in overall environment. For example, I didn't have a single allergy until I moved to a different place, and then all of a sudden I developed several, including contact allergy to metals on my skin. Nobody else in my family has developed any allergies, even though one of my siblings also moved away from home about the same age I did.
I've heard people from other countries tell me the same thing - when they moved away from home, they developed allergies. One of them was a man in his 60s, who all of a sudden became allergic to all kinds of animals.

And in animals themselves, allergies nearly always present as skin itching and inflammation, even if the allergy is to food. In humans (maybe primates?) allergy is usually respiratory.

arborman

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2008, 02:17:56 PM »
When I was a First Aid attendant I dealt with a couple of very serious bee stings - serious enough to warrant a helicopter evacuation anyways.  If you have an allergy and get stung on the bum it's no big deal, but the head or neck can be fatal really quickly.

The scary part is that you can spontaneously develop an allergy to bee stings at any point in your life.  I've been stung a dozen or so times with not major effects (swelling & itchy).  Next time I get stung I might go into anaphylactic shock with no previous instances (though it is unlikely).
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Croghan27

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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2008, 04:12:07 PM »
Quote from: skdadl
One footnote about animal allergies, although maybe this crosses a line because it has to do with actual poison: some people are or become dangerously allergic to bee stings -- I think those may sometimes cause anaphylaxis. .


My 'ex' was raised in a rural setting. She and her brother were often stung by bees as they explored and played about their house. About 10 years ago she was stung and her arm swelled up like a baloon.

She did go to the hospital to have it looked at but poo-pooed the idea that she was having a reaction to the sting, thinking it had to be something else.  :roll:

Nope - tests showed it was an anaphylaxic reaction from the bee sting, developed years after her last encounter. She now has to carry a needle everywhere with her during 'bee season.'
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

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Dog Allergies
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2008, 04:20:17 PM »
Well, I think that an anaphylactic reaction means that you can't breathe because your air passages swell up (along with other things) and so become constricted -- that's the swelling that is dangerous. Other swellings and itchiness are just irritating, although they may indicate a heightened and escalating sensitivity.

Croghan27

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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2008, 04:23:14 PM »
Quote from: skdadl
Well, I think that an anaphylactic reaction means that you can't breathe because your air passages swell up (along with other things) and so become constricted -- that's the swelling that is dangerous. Other swellings and itchiness are just irritating, although they may indicate a heightened and escalating sensitivity.


The treating doctor told her that stings in other places many be irksome - but anything above the armpits could very well be fatal for the reason have detailed.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

 

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