Furry and feathery animals are a common trigger of asthma symptoms. The allergens (the thing that causes the allergic reaction) are found in their saliva, flakes of skin (pet dander), fur and urine.
We know that any feathered of furry animal can trigger off asthma even if you have been unaffected by this particular type of animal in the past. This is called sensitization. Once you are introduced to a potential allergen you can become sensitive to it either at the second meeting or after many years. It can be quite unpredictable.
If you are experiencing worsening asthma triggers and you suspect that this is being caused by your pet or
a certain animal, we would encourage you to have an asthma review with your doctor or asthma nurse as
soon as possible. Your inhalers could be adjusted or you may need to have another medication added on to make sure your asthma is as well controlled as possible.
If you know your asthma is triggered by furry or feathery animals:
- If you do own pets, try to keep them out of your bedroom and where possible living area.
- Regular grooming and bathing of cats and dogs can help. You can ask your vet for advice on how to do this properly.
- If the animal that you own lives in a cage, it may be a good idea to get someone else to clean it out. Ideally it would be better to keep them in their cage as much as possible and limit where they go in the house.
- Some benefit may be obtained from the use of air filters and efficient vacuum cleaners for people who have cat allergies, but the evidence on the benefit of these remains unclear.