Your doctor may suspect a pet allergy based on symptoms, an examination of your nose, and your answers to his or her questions. He or she may use a lighted instrument to look at the condition of the lining of your nose. If you have a pet allergy, the lining of the nasal passage may be swollen or appear pale or bluish.
Allergy skin test
Your doctor may suggest an allergy skin test to determine exactly what you're allergic to. You may be referred to an allergy specialist (allergist) for this test.
In this test, tiny amounts of purified allergen extracts — including extracts with animal proteins — are pricked into your skin's surface. This is usually carried out on the forearm, but it may be done on the upper back.
Your doctor or nurse observes your skin for signs of allergic reactions after 15 minutes. If you're allergic to cats, for example, you'll develop a red, itchy bump where the cat extract was pricked into your skin. The most common side effects of these skin tests are itching and redness. These side effects usually go away within 30 minutes.
In some cases, a skin test can't be performed because of the presence of a skin condition or because of interactions with certain medications. As an alternative, your doctor may order a blood test that screens your blood for specific allergy-causing antibodies to various common allergens, including various animals. This test may also indicate how sensitive you are to an allergen.
Aug. 09, 2017
- Pet allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditionsandtreatments/allergies/petallergy. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Pet dander. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/pet-dander.html. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Platts-Mills TA. Allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Pet allergies. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/pet-allergy. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Sanchez J, et al. Pet avoidance in allergy cases: Is it possible to implement it? Biomédica. 2015;35:357.
- Konradsen JR, et al. Allergy to furry animals: New insights, diagnostic approaches, and challenges. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2015;135:616.
- Auerbach PS, ed. Seasonal and acute allergic reactions. In: Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 11, 2016.
- Erwin EA, et al. Pets in the home: Impact on allergic disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Pet allergy: Are you allergic to dogs or cats? Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/page/petdogcatallergies.aspx. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Allergy testing. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergy-testing. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- AAAAI allergy and asthma drug guide. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/treatments/drug-guide. Accessed Aug. 13, 2016.
- Antihistamines, decongestants, and cold remedies. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/antihistamines-decongestants-and-cold-remedies. Accessed Aug. 13, 2016.
- Montelukast. Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed Aug. 13, 2016.
- Is rinsing your sinuses safe? U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm. Accessed Aug. 12, 2016.
- Li JTC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 16, 2016.