KidsMD Health Topics

Animal Allergy

  • Overview

    Allergies are caused when the immune system reacts to a specific foreign substance (allergen). In children who are allergic to animals, their bodies are reacting to animal proteins found in dander, saliva and urine.

    • 15 percent of people are allergic to animals
    • Most common in children but can develop later in life, or recur at any time.
  • In-Depth

    When animal proteins are shed or dry in animal fur, or become airborne, they can attach to carpeting, furniture and other objects and trigger allergies in people. Allergies are most common in children but can develop later in life, or recur at any time.

    Which animals cause allergies?

    Household pets, such as dogs and cats, are the most common, but anything with fur or feathers, such as birds, rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, mice) or livestock can cause symptoms. "Non-allergenic" breeds of dogs and cats are popular, but can still trigger allergies, as can products made with feathers or down, like certain pillows and comforters.

    What happens during an allergic reaction?

    Allergic reaction may occur in the skin, eyes, lining of the stomach, nose, sinuses, throat and lungs. Reactions can result in:

    Are allergies genetic?

    There is a tendency for allergies to occur in families, although the exact genetic factors that cause them aren't yet understood.

  • Tests

    How are allergies diagnosed?

    All tests measure your child's level of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to specific allergens.

    Skin test

    Using diluted solutions of specific allergens, the physician either injects your child with the solutions or applies them to a small scratch or puncture. Reaction appears as a small red area on the skin.

    Skin tests provide faster results and are more specific than blood tests.

    Blood test

    A RAST (radioallergosorbent test) will analyze the level of antibodies in your child's bloodstream.

  • Your child's doctor may treat your child using immunotherapy (allergy shots) or medication that includes steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills.

    There are many things you can do at home to help reduce your child's allergic reactions:

    • Vacuum frequently and use air filters.
    • Send pets outdoors more often, bathing them, or limiting the number of rooms they're allowed in can also help.
Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

Patient Information
Date of Birth:
Contact Information
Appointment Details
Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
Please complete all required fields

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

Thank you.

Your request has been successfully submitted

You will be contacted within 1 business day.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call:

617-355-6000 +1-617-355-6000
close
Find a Doctor
Search by Clinician's Last Name or Specialty:
Select by Location:
Search by First Letter of Clinician's Last Name: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
BrowseSearch
Condition & Treatments
Search for a Condition or Treatment:
Show Items Starting With: *ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
View allSearch
Locations
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
Close