Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pets and Asthma

Asthmatics are often discouraged from keeping certain types of pets. Determining whether the pet is a problem for the asthmatic involves knowing specifically which allergens trigger an asthma attack. Asthma attacks are most often brought on by tiny airborne contaminants or allergens, such as pet dander. Some people with asthma have no trouble at all with the animal's fur or dander, however their symptoms may flare up due to what the pet brings into the home.

Pets that have the opportunity to be outdoors inadvertently track in environmental allergens. Small amounts of dust, pollen or spores may cling to the animal's coat. When the pet grooms or is stroked by its owner, these allergens have the potential to bring about bronchospasms.

Indoor pets or low dander animals are recommended for asthmatics. Although no animal can be truly hypo-allergenic, hairless or short-haired breeds of cats and dogs are generally preferred because they do not shed as much. Additionally, certain types of birds, such as the cockatoo, produce a fine powder on their bodies which can aggravate a person's symptoms of asthma or allergies.

An individual's quality of life and the enhancement of joy as a pet owner may take precedence over certain manageable health risks.

1 comment:

Service Dog User said...

Actually, you're incorrect, as are a lot of people. Shorthaired pets aren't better for allergies. When a longhaired pet sheds, the hair and dander gets caught in the longer coat and remains there until you groom him/her. Provided you groom your pet regularly, longhaired pets are much better for allergies because of this -- just think of the "poo" mix dogs that have become popular.

The other thing to remember is that everyone is different and will react differently to individual animals. For example, I'm more allergic to dark haired cats than light haired ones. No idea why. I'm also more allergic to shepherds and their mixes. So, if you'd like to have a pet of a service animal, spend some time with the individual animal or breed before bringing it home if it's possible.