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Questions for Dr. Shawn - Allergies to Cats and Pets

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Dear Dr. Shawn:
"I’m very allergic to my girlfriend’s cat. One of her coworkers told her about some type of tranquilizer that can help with this. Supposedly the drug won’t actually make the cat drowsy but will help me be around the cat without sneezing. My girlfriend’s veterinarian has never heard of this. Do you know anything about it? How effective is this therapy?"

Answer:
"You’re probably talking about acepromazine. This is a popular tranquilizer many veterinarians use in their practices. It serves as a mild sedative and works best as an adjunct to anesthesia and to keep pets quiet postoperatively. Unfortunately it is also (incorrectly) used to treat various phobias such as storm phobias. It does NOT relieve anxiety in the pet by actually increases anxiety by making the pet immobile; better treatments exist for various phobias in pets.

Several years ago someone came up with the idea of trying it in a homeopathic form to treat people who have allergies to their pets. The acepromazine is prepared in such a way as to extremely dilute it. This very diluted form is placed on a pet’s food one or more times daily. If it works, the allergic person stops having symptoms when in the pet’s presence. Does it really work? I can say a definite YES after having used it for many years. Does it always work? Unfortunately not. In my experience I would say that most (80%) cases in which I’ve prescribed it have been successfully resolved. In many of these cases the pet, usually a cat, was going to be given away because the owner’s allergies were so bad. When it works, it literally can save a pet’s life.

No one really knows why it works. However, since most allergies to pets occur from allergens in the pet’s saliva (and to some extent the pet’s skin cells and hair cells,) the homeopathic preparation must remove, reduce, or bind the allergens that cause the discomfort in the allergic owners. I would certainly suggest trying it on your girlfriends’ cat. I have never seen side effects (and would not really ever expect any due to the dilute homeopathic nature of the product,) and there is no aversive taste to the product. Good luck."


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Dear Dr. Shawn:
”Your book, The Allergy Solution for Dogs, has been a great help. My cocker spaniel used to have bad allergies, but after following the advice in your book I’m happy to report that she is great most of the year and rarely needs medicine anymore. We’ve also totally stopped her allergy shots! Do you have any advice for people who may be allergic to their pets?”

Answer:
”I’m glad my book was able to help! Most of my allergic patients do as well as your dog and rarely need long term use of drugs like steroids, antihistamines, or antibiotics. Here are some tips (courtesy of the Humane Society of the US) that can help people who suffer from allergies to their pets.

  • Create an allergy-free area in the home, preferably bedrooms, where pets have no access.
  • Wash hands after touching any animal and before touching your eyes or face.
  • Vacuum daily to remove shedding hair. Wear a simple dust mask when you vacuum, and use a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficient particulate air) filter.
  • Use furnace filters that trap pet dander. Change filters regularly to maximize efficiency.
  • Use impermeable covers for mattress and pillows because allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can penetrate and accumulate in them.
  • Replace heavy curtains and drapes with fabrics you can easily wash regularly.
  • Replace carpeting, furniture and drapes and clean walls to help reduce the dander level more quickly.

Discuss treatments for your pet that may reduce your allergic reaction with your veterinarian. The BEST thing that has worked in my practice is using a homeopathic version of the tranquilizer acepromazine on the pet’s food.”

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