Pet Allergies Specialist

Steven Schnipper, MD PC -  - Allergist

Steven Schnipper, MD PC

Allergist located in Murray Hill, New York, NY & New Rochelle, NY

If you love cats, dogs, and all things furry, it can be especially frustrating or inconvenient to live with a pet allergy. At the offices of Steven Schnipper MD PC in Murray Hill, Manhattan, and New Rochelle, New York, Steven Schnipper MD, a board-certified allergist, can diagnose your allergy and find a treatment for you so you can keep the family pet. For more information about pet allergies, call Steven Schnipper MD PC or book your appointment online today.

Pet Allergies Q & A

What are pet allergies?

If you have symptoms of an allergic reaction every time you pet an animal or even if you’re in the same room as one, you likely have a pet allergy. Contrary to popular belief, your animal’s fur isn’t typically the cause of your pet allergy. Instead, pet allergies are an aversion to proteins in the animal’s dander (skin flakes), urine, or saliva. Your pet might have mold or pollen caught in their fur that further contributes to your allergic symptoms. Furry house pets that contribute to pet allergies include:

  • Cats 
  • Dogs
  • Guinea pigs
  • Gerbils
  • Hamsters
  • Mice

Some breeds of cats and dogs are said to be hypoallergenic, but no cats or dogs are truly free from allergens. You might have fewer allergic reactions to a pet that doesn’t shed a lot of fur and skin.

Like all other allergies, pet allergies happen when your immune system detects a substance (like pet dander) and responds to it as if it’s a harmful invader. Usually, your immune system only reacts if you come into contact with something that can get you sick, like bacteria or a virus. With allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that detect and attack ordinarily harmless substances.

How can I tell if I have a pet allergy?

Pet allergies come with many signs and symptoms that can vary from person to person. Most often, pet allergies cause inflammation in your eyes and nasal passages, including:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Pressure in your face

Pet allergies can also contribute to asthma and cause more severe symptoms like:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing

In some cases, coming into contact with your pet can cause skin symptoms too. Rashes, hives, and itching can all occur after touching a pet if you’re allergic.  

How are pet allergies treated?

While staying away from pets is the best way to avoid an allergic reaction, it isn’t always easy or even possible to do so. If you’d like to treat your pet allergy and keep animals at home, Dr. Schnipper can help create a customized treatment plan. 

Your pet allergy treatment plan may include environmental control measures to minimize the allergens your are exposed to, as well as medications which may be helpful. In addition, Dr. Schnipper may discuss whether allergy shots may be appropriate. 

Allergy shots are a way of making you less allergic to your pet. Dr. Schnipper gives you a small injection of pet allergen and increases the dose week by week until you develop a tolerance. The vast majority of patients build tolerance, with fewer symptoms and fewer medicines. This allows people to keep their pet without suffering. 

If you’re only around animals occasionally and want to manage your symptoms, Dr. Schnipper may recommend appropriate medications for your pet allergies, which you can use as needed. 

To find out more about pet allergies and how you can manage them, call Steven Schnipper MD PC for an appointment or book your visit online today.