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Allergic to Dogs? You Might Be Able to Get a (Female) Dog After All!

Did you have to quit your dream of ever getting a dog, because either you or one in your family is allergic to dogs?

You might be able to get the dog you’ve been dreaming about after all, and this doesn’t have anything to do with hypoallergenic breeds.

No, just as long as we’re talking about a female dog.

“Some who are allergic to dogs, tend to only react to male dogs.” This is the conclusion from a small study done by the Danish Child Asthma Center(DBAC) at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

“Based on this small study, I can’t guarentee that you can avoid reacting to a female dog. When somebody who’s allergic reacts to dogs, it’s due to the proteins in the dogs’ hair, saliva, dander or urine. These proteins are called allergens. There is a special allergen from male dogs that you might be allergic to, without being allergic to all the other allergens.

Professor Hans Bisgaard

Professor Hans Bisgaard was leading the study together with post-doc Ann-Marie Schoos.

Almost 60 Percent Only Reacts to Male Dogs

The researchers studied 22 persons between the ages 15-18, by exposing them to different dog-allergens by using special tests that the researches had developed for this experiment.

The study showed that 30% of the persons only had a reaction to a specific male-dog-allergen called Can f 5, which is a protein that’s created in the prostate of male dogs.

“Those who are only allergic to this kind of allergen should be perfectly fine with getting a female dog. Hans Bisgaard said.

And he continued: “Allergy towards dogs is especially traumatic to children, and even more so for those who already have a dog, and later discovers their allergies, and then having to get rid of the dog. Perhaps they would be able to avoid that in some cases now.”

Hans Bisgaard estimate is that 30-60% of everybody who’s allergic to dogs, will only react to Can f 5.

“We’ve had an assumption regarding this because what we experience in our clinic is that some patients are more than fine being with their dogs, even if the allergy test for dogs comes out positive.” Say Hans Bisgaard.

Scientist: It Requires More Research

Professor at Institute for Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University Hans Jürgen Hoffmann and professor in allergy in children at Syddansk University Susanne Halken have both read this new study.

And while they do find the study quite interesting, they also conclude that there’s still some information missing on how many patients this knowledge would be able to help.

“It’s another piece of this puzzle we’re trying to solve, and while I don’t have any doubts about that there are some patients that will only react to male dogs, just how large a number of the patients it is, we still dont know.” Says Susanne Halken.

She specifies that the results also requires more research, seeing as we’re talking about a study with relatively few test-subjects.

“Based on this relatively small study, I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that you wouldn’t react on a female dog as well. I also can’t guarantee that if you can tolerate a female dog now, you would also be able to in 7 years” Susanne said.

She continued: “We’ve known for quite a while that there was an allergen related to male dogs, the new thing in this study is that we’ve done tests which have been divided into male and female dogs.”

You Can’t Get a Specific Male-Dog Test

You can find out if you’re allergic to dogs by taking a blood sample or a skin-prick test.

But currently, the problem is that you can’t test for allergy towards either male or female dogs with the existing skin-prick tests. The tests used currently are a mix of both male and female dogs.

“In this specific study we created separate tests for male and female dogs, but it’s not something you can get over the counter in your local drugstore. We will just have to wait until the industry has evolved.” Says Hans Bisgaard.

On the other hand, it is possible to analyze the cause of the allergy by blood samples, and thereby learn more about if it’s only dogs’ you’re allergic to.

According to Susanne Halken, it’s also a problem that we don’t have a standardized test all over the nation.

“There’s a large difference between them depending on what company is the manufacturer of the test, and that means that different results are very likely to occur.” She finished.

Sources: Children Monosensitized to Can f 5 Show Different Reactions to Male and Female Dog Allergen Extract Provocation: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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