Desperate to keep my Dog

Have not had a very good year ill for 6 weeks in pollen season then was ""normal"" for 3 months and now have not been well for 2 months with shortness of breath with no wheeze as my asthma seems to have changed to in the last 3 years when I am ill. I have had my heart checked etc and thank God that is fine. I have had dogs for years but could only have the longer soft hair type as the short pointed hair type would immediately induce a wheezy asthma attack. I have had an allergy test which finds that I am moderately allergic to dogs and have to go back to the asthma clinic where they said if it was positive I would have to get rid of my dog. She is a big part of my life and my companion and I would be absolutely devastated as there are only the 2 of us. I know there are a lot worse things to have to contend with but I want to try everything possible in order to keep her. I have read that desensitisation is no longer used on asthmatics. The more I worry won't help either. I would be grateful for any advice.

12 Replies

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  • hi carla

    I also have a dog, a boxer called harvey, and he is my life!! Like you it is just him and me. I am however also allergic and it has been suggested many times before that i should re-home him.

    I think the benefits of having a dog outweigh the allergies though. It has been scientifically proved that pets are good for people who are unwell. Sometimes it is tempting to just lay in bed feeling ill but with a dog you have to get up and you have to go out. I also find I tend to look after myself better becasue I worry about what will happen to him when im unwell.

    There are things i do to help the allergy's. I was h his bed once a week, I dont allow him in the bedroom, he is bathed fortnightly (much to his horror!!!) I have a hoover with a turbo bruch that picks up the hairs and an anti allergy thingy in it. ALll these things together help heaps.

    I hope you are able to find a way of you and your pooch staying together

    Ribena

  • Carla,

    I have a dog, I'm not allergic to her but there was a time before I had allergy tests and my asthma was bad that I didn't know. I also know that I get sensitive to many things including her if I've been triggered by something I'm allergic to or have a chest infection.

    I bought some anti allergy bedding from argos for the bedroom, which helps and I wash her bedding once a month.

    I have laminate flooring all through the house and I hoover and mop once a week. I don't let her on furniture or beds.

    I also groom her every day, I go through once with a zoom groom, again with a brush and then with a comb. It takes a bit of time at first but once you get on top of it it takes about 15 minutes for a long haired dog. Luckily I have a lab and it only takes about 5 minutes.

    I also wash her toys regularly and she mostly has rubber toys so that all the dust and dander doesn't get caught up in the soft toys.

    My dog is a guide dog so luckily a lot of these rules like grooming and not having dogs on the furniture I did already. I just had to think about other ways to keep the hair down.

    I find that giving Sandie a bath it helps if she is groomed before hand otherwise she malts a lot afterwards.

    I think Ribena's idea of not letting the dog sleep in the bedroom is also a good idea.

    Dogs are fantastic, it has been so reassuring in attacks when she's sat there beside me to look after me as I live on my own. I have company all the time and she makes me laugh and gives me hugs. I hope you can find a way to keep your dog.

    Beth

  • Carla i was in a simialr situation last year and begrudgingly rehomed my 2 beloved Jack Russells. I after 9 months found i was no better and have ended buying 2 more jack russells as i cant bare life without dogs. When you are ill and home all the time they are you family friend and comfort. The asthma clinic cannot make you get rid of the dogs, they cannot refuse to treat you either. If they start getting awkward just mention they treat people who smoke with asthma etc.

  • I have lots of muttering from docs re my cat, and feel like you. Like Bowmei says, they can't MAKE you get rid of a pet. It really is up to you, how much the illness is affecting you vs love of dog. I would have to be a lot sicker to even think of getting rid of cat! I would also have to be absolutely convinced that I would get better if I did, and I am not at all convinced I would - if you are an allergicy type person you might well be or develop allergies to other things (like dust, which I know i test positive for). The way I reason it, not much point getting rid of one thing if there are lots of other things that will set you off anyway.

    all i can say is after a grumpy 18 months my asthma seems to be settling down of its own accord, and I still have cat, so don't be pushed into doing anything you're not happy about.

  • It's worth having a chat with your vet about any specialist shampoos that might help. My mum had problems with one dog, which turned out to be due to micro-organisms (quite normal & harmless to the dog & most people) which she'd picked up from living in kennels before she came to them. The vet was able to provide a shampoo which killed them. I realise this may not be your problem but worth asking what else is available.

    I hope you sort something out, I know I could never give my dog up, I couldn't even give my old rabbit up when I started reacting to her.

  • Thanks for your kind replies which I have noted. I have bought allergen shampoo and Petalcleanse to rub down her coat, hoovered and hoovered and bought an air purifier courtesy of my credit card which managed to conk out on Christmas Eve after having it only for a few weeks so I have to wait to Jan 3 to contact them so in total I shall be without it for several weeks. I had improved but feel very short of breath for the past few days without wheezing. I have even tried a homeopath but it all seems a bit hit and miss and I don't think it has been worth the effort and the expense as it could take ages to get the ""medication"" correct and I can't continue with the expense with no guaranteee that it will work. As stated before I have had dogs previously but just had about 2 attacks per year which were the really wheezy attacks. Now it just seems to be a shortness of breath - the GP says he thinks my asthma is under control and this is something else which could be dog allergy as my test came back moderately allergic. The hospital will want me to get rid of her when I see them in 6 weeks and if she is the cause I will have to as I can't keep on like this but as one reply stated she got rid of her dogs and felt no better. Please, any last ditch advice?

  • Thanks for your kind replies which I have noted. I have bought allergen shampoo and Petalcleanse to rub down her coat, hoovered and hoovered and bought an air purifier courtesy of my credit card which managed to conk out on Christmas Eve after having it only for a few weeks so I have to wait to Jan 3 to contact them so in total I shall be without it for several weeks. I had improved but feel very short of breath for the past few days without wheezing. I have even tried a homeopath but it all seems a bit hit and miss and I don't think it has been worth the effort and the expense as it could take ages to get the ""medication"" correct and I can't continue with the expense with no guaranteee that it will work. As stated before I have had dogs previously but just had about 2 attacks per year which were the really wheezy attacks. Now it just seems to be a shortness of breath - the GP says he thinks my asthma is under control and this is something else which could be dog allergy as my test came back moderately allergic. The hospital will want me to get rid of her when I see them in 6 weeks and if she is the cause I will have to as I can't keep on like this but as one reply stated she got rid of her dogs and felt no better. Please, any last ditch advice?

  • You could always try quoting the British Thoracic Society / Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (in short, better known as the BTS/SIGN) guideline on the management of asthma, which after a review of the evidence suggests that for most people with pets, getting rid did not make any difference to their asthma control, even if they were allergic to generic cat/dog.

    I believe their theory was something along the lines of the fact that you may become tolerant to your ""own"" dogs' dander.

    The BTS website is at brit-thoracic.org.uk if you want to have a look at the full guideline to take with you.

    Hope this helps.

    Cathy

  • I really hope that it doesn't come to the point of getting rid of her, but as a last-ditch thing, if you do feel you have no choice, how about having her fostered for a few weeks? At least that way you would be able to see if her absence did make a difference, without having made that final commitment.

    My parents are signed up as potential doggy foster parents through a breed club (Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers) & I'm sure other breeds & charities must have similar things. Feel free to PM if you want more details or help looking for possibilities.

  • Thanks

    Thanks to everyone for their kindness with their advice and support which I appreciate very much. A relative has taken my dog for a few weeks to see if I improve but according to the asthma nurse it can take 11 months for the allergens to be removed from the home. I am having my carpets specially cleaned, the curtains washed and the place rubbed down as much as possible with the help of friends so hopefully this will help and I should see an improvement before not too long if it is her . How I miss her!

  • Dear Carla,

    I had exactly the same thing with Horses and dogs, I absolutely refused to get rid of them, although I did change the way I did things. Now through circumstances, I don't have a dog or Horses, and you know what.. my asthma got no better.

    Animals are life enhancing, and I think if you keep them clean, and not in your bedroom, the benefits far out weigh the negatives.

    You may also be able to track down desensitisation therapy, I think that One of the London Hospitals offers it, but I guess that you will have to have it privately.

    I hope that you manage to get your dog home

    Cheers RI

  • Update

    Hi

    Went to chest clinic at hospital and they were very understanding about my need to keep my dog. I told them about measures I had put in place to reduce allergen levels in the home. My daughter had previously had dog for 4 wks but my condition did not improve. She has now been back home for 4 wks and the last week I have felt really well. I will be going to physiotherapy to help with my distorted breathing which is not bad at the moment and the hospital doctor said my theophylline levels were low so she doubled my dose from 400 to 800 mg per day, well, I was up the wall , racing pulse, insomnia etc. They have told me to revert to the 400mg and have another blood test to check. I just hope, touch wood, that my breathing stays as it is for a while at least, touch wood! I would like to thank everyone who replied to my post for their support help and advice - much appreciated.

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