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Allergic to saliva? But not dander?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yesterday morning, our skittish cat Miggy (who we've had a month) decided he wanted early morning cuddles. I let him jump on my lap while I was at the computer for a few minutes. He turned around and around and licked my arm a couple times before settling down. My arm started itching really bad where he'd licked me and I could barely resist scratching it. When I looked at it, my arm was red and starting to get large rash bumps. I quickly went and washed it. I put on anti-itch stuff and the spot was gone by lunch.

He'd never really licked me before this. I'm obviously allergic to his saliva... But isn't pet dander dried saliva and isn't that what a lot of people are allergic to? I don't seem to be allergic to him just by petting him or being around him. And how can I be allergic to his saliva and not my two other cats (one of whom is his sister)?

Should I just try to discourage any licking in the future? And how do you think I could do this? Thanks for your advice!
post #2 of 4
Sometimes people do react to direct licking. I had a reaction to petting a sphynx (which is hairless). I had to go wash my hands after. I've never had a reaction to licking or petting.

It could also have been whatever they owner had washed her cat in too.
post #3 of 4
It could be the saliva. Or more likely because he licked himself just before and some of the dander was stmmulated. The dander is produced from the skin and is stimulated or sluffed off, when the cat licks (grooms) itself.
Even a hairless cat produces dander because it is not the fur that dander comes from.

Animal Allergies Facts and Myths

<<From National Allergy "One of the major causes of allergic reactions to dogs and cats is not the hair or fur, but what’s under it: dander or old skin scales (similar to, only much smaller than dandruff on the human scalp) which are constantly shed into the environment. These allergens are extremely tiny, like microns of dust or powder, that allergy sufferers seldom, if ever, know are circulating in the air, clinging to furniture, draperies and wall coverings. If a dog or cat has been in the family for a long time, its dander will have permeated the entire house.

Dander occurs naturally as the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin, renews itself. The epidermis of dogs and cats is quite thin; it is made up of many layers of cells which are constantly pushing upward to replace the cells above. As this process takes place about every 21 days, the outer cells die and flake off into the environment as dander. It has been found, incidentally, that the epidermal turnover is more rapid in breeds that are groomed frequently and especially in breeds that are prone to various forms of dry and oily seborrhea (Cocker and Springer Spaniels, West Highland White Terriers, Irish Setters to name a few). Instead of the normal 21 days cycle, the epidermal turnover of seborrheic dogs is 3 to 4 days.

In dogs, saliva and urine are also potential sources of allergens. They are deposited on the fur through licking and urination. When the hair dries, the microscopic particles flake off, become airborne and trigger the symptoms that characterize allergies to pets. Cats produce another major allergen, Fel d 1, in the sebaceous glands of the skin and in their saliva. Fel d 1 is deposited on the fur from sebaceous gland secretions and through saliva when cats lick themselves clean.">>
post #4 of 4
I believe it! Ben's saliva is different then Molly's & Lucky's. I am not allergic but Molly has asthma and Ben licking her face causes attacks. It's so cute to see him caring for her. When he is done I have to wash Molly's face with water. Lucky never had dandruff before until Ben started cleaning him.
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