Cat Dander Extract Found To Clear Up Allergies To Cats


Allergic to cats? Don’t want to spend $7,000 on a hypoallergenic cat? Can’t bear to part with Fluffy even though you’re sneezing day and night? Good news. Now those cat lovers who are allergic to cats may have a solution to their problem.

Tolerance to cats can be built up in allergic kids by placing increasing doses of standardized cat dander extract under the tongue, according to Spanish researchers.

In the medical journal Allergy, Dr. Emilio Alvarez-Cuesta and colleagues says that immunotherapy is the only treatment if allergic cat owners are unwilling to give up their feline friends.

Immunotherapy is based on the idea that the immune system can “learn” to tolerate allergy triggers if it is exposed to gradually increasing amounts of the offending allergen, starting with tiny amounts that don’t cause an allergic reaction.

From Reuters:

In sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, the allergen is placed under the tongue, where it is absorbed into the system.

To see whether SLIT using cat dander extract works for cat allergies, the researchers randomly assigned 50 allergic youngsters to get daily SLIT drops with increasing levels of cat allergen or inactive “placebo” drops, for a year.

The participants were then “challenged” by spending up to 90 minutes exposed to allergens in a room in which a cat was housed.

Of the 33 participants who completed the SLIT course, 62 percent showed a marked reduction in symptoms compared to their symptoms before treatment. They also showed improved peak expiratory flow values during exposure, and a reduction in skin test reactions to standardized cat extract. No significant changes were seen in the group that got placebo drops.

There were no reports of adverse reactions, and the investigators conclude the results suggest “that the cat SLIT used in this study was able to improve cat allergy based on natural exposure challenge.”

4 Responses to “Cat Dander Extract Found To Clear Up Allergies To Cats”

  1. vida says:

    Seems sensible to me, my husband was allergic to cats when we met. His symptoms abated over time with exposure to a houseful of them. Wish we’d had access to this study years earlier, would have saved him discomfort in the adjustment phase.

  2. 2CatMom says:

    I had this done in LaCrosse Wisconsin. Of course its was considered ‘experimental’ so my insurance would not pay for it. But I couldn’t even find an allergist in my city who would give shots for cat allergy. I was told ‘its too dangerous’ or ‘we will treat everything else which will make you OK with cats’….NOT!

    It worked like a charm. I now have 2 kitties that sleep with me every night and I volunteer at a shelter. Life is good.

    I wish doctors would stop actually address the problem a patient comes to them with rather than work around it.

    I just saw a new allergist for an unrelated problem and when I told her I had cats - she said “Who said you could have cats.” Hey babe, I’m a big girl, so I made the decision all on my own. I think I’ll forward this article to her.

  3. Merlin Marshall says:

    This is great news! There are so many cats turned into shelters because a child or someone in the family is allergic to cats. Often the family (not to mention the cat) is heartbroken. Hopefully this will become standard procedure for people to try so that they can keep their cats.

    I have 7 cats and I seem to be much less allergic to them than I was when I got the first one. I’d buy the continued exposure desensitization theory.

  4. katiekat says:

    I had extreme allergies to cats as a child but my love for them kept me in contact with them. I decided to work around the allergy. I do believe that constant exposure does halp you become immune. I only have occasional flare ups. I might add I alos work hard to keep hair cleaned up and do bathe my kitties about once every 6 weeks, that does work wonders. I put hard flooring in my home as it will not harbour cat dander and is easier to keep clean.

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