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Pet dander and difficult-to-control asthma: Therapeutic options

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The prevalence of sensitization to cat and dog allergens is high in the general population and poses a challenge to the physician managing allergic asthma. Adequate allergen avoidance is difficult to achieve because of the physical characteristics of airborne animal allergens and patient noncompliance. Allergen-specific high-dose subcutaneous immunotherapy has shown benefit in cat-allergic patients with asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis, whereas the data for dog-allergic patients are not as convincing. Alternative immunotherapy approaches including the sublingual route or allergen-derived peptide-based immunotherapy remain experimental. Pharmacotherapy of pet-allergic asthmatic patients requires a stepwise approach following established asthma management guidelines. In addition to short-acting beta-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids, prophylactic antihistamines before anticipated pet exposure, the use of intranasal steroids, and the use of leukotriene antagonists may also be considered as adjunctive therapy in pet-allergic patients with asthma and/or allergic rhinitis. Omalizumab appears to have particular efficacy in pet allergen‐induced asthma. Novel therapies such as Fcgamma-Fel d 1 chimeric proteins still have to be evaluated in the human setting.
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Keywords: Asthma; Can f 1; Fel d 1; cat allergy; dog allergy; immunotherapy; omalizumab; peptide

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: 2010-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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