Does pet dander aggravates bronchiectasis?

Hi again every one. Happy and healthier 2013 to you all.

Five weeks ago, due to financial problems, I had to move into a house (as a lodger) where the owner has four cats and 2 dogs. I have never had a problem with pet dander before my bronchiectasis diagnosis (May 2012), but I haven't had the disease long enough to become familiar with what may aggravate it. My symptoms seem to ease or worsen at random. They have been worse for the past couple of weeks....

Any advice, suggestions would, as always, be greatly appreciated.



20 Replies

  • Allergies can appear without warning swimmer :( I had a little Yorkie for 12 years up to a year ago and never suffered any ill effects having him near, but over the past year I find that if I am in a house where there are any dogs, cats or birds my breathing becomes laboured quite quickly.

    This has disappointed me no end, as I was hoping to have another dog, but it seems that's not possible now :(

  • Hi Elian, don't despair, I've always been allergic to pet hair, but very quickly desensitize with my own pets, which is probably why your little Yorkie never bothered you. Hopefully, someone else will give you some better advice and you'll be able to get another little pal. Libby x

  • Thanks elian for your help. These animals are not mine and, coming from a farming heritage, I would say that animals need to know their place and be kept confined to a specific area... However, my lovely landlady has other ideas and as it is her house, I have to comply with these.

    Kind regards


  • Hi Swimmer, I've had allergies all my life and have been allergic to pet hair, but I always desensitize with my own pets. Four dogs and two cats is an awful lot to get used to though, I would have thought, I don't have bronchietasis, I have emphysema. My thought would be that yes, it is affecting you, but I am certainly no expert and you should speak to your doctor or call the BLF helpline 03000 030 555. Libby

  • Hi Libby

    Have phoned the bfl helpline as you suggested and the lady I spoke to there said I shouldn't be too worried about dander as having bronchiectasis doesn't imply problems with pet fur. She did say, however, that I should be much more vigilant with hygiene - especially around cat litter/feces as I would be more susceptible to infection.

    Thanks for your advice.

  • Hullo, swimmer! I read your comment with interest. I love cats and dogs (the latter) at a distance. I know cats give off dander. For this reason, I take loratidine - one daily. I am ok. I love my cat to bits but my husband does a lot of sneezing and coughing especially in the evenings. He is the healthy one in this house so I presume he is allergic to the cat. Bye frfom Annie80

  • Hi annie80 you can buy cat wipes - a bit like wet wipes which can help with reducing the dander cats give off which helps some people with allergies as dander is reduced - also if you search on the net under allergies and cats you can find other helpful suggestions which may help? Hope this helps BBxx

  • Thanks Annie for your response. I am not an animal lover. I respect them (I am a vegetarian) but I don't like living with them unless they are very well behaved and confined to a specific area. I already take an antihistamine for sleep problems (along with other meds) so would rather not take more.

    Other blf members have suggested that I will get desensitized to them after a while....

    Best wishes


  • Hi swimmer,l

    Pet dander can aggravate respiratory illnesses in some people. Check with the helpline for further advice.

    NHS Choices link for further information :

  • Just a couple of questions you may want to ask yourself....

    Have you been at home more past couple of weeks?

    Do you notice symptoms easing when away from home?

    Hope your find 2013 will be a happy healthy one for you too.

  • Hi Zoee

    Thanks for your input. I haven't been home more than usual, and my symptoms are difficult to judge as I had a course of doxycycline over Xmas and my coughing improved as a result.

    Other blf members have suggested waiting a while to see if I get desensitized to the animals. Not sure what that means or how long it will take...

    Best wishes


  • I have had dogs all my life (nearly 70 years), as a child, teenager right up to the present day and I don't have any trouble with sneezing etc. When our family comes to visit, because they are not in contact with animals, they start sneezing and have to take allergy tablets.

    We purchased an air-purifier and you would not believe the amount of dust it collects. Perhaps if you had the carpet and your furniture cleaned (you can hire a machine for this) and then get an air-purifier you may feel much better.

    The only other solution are allergy tablets, but I think people with breathing difficulties take enough tablets as it is.

  • Hi sweetthing

    Your suggestions have reminded me that I do have an air ionizer somewhere in the loft. Would that do as an air purifier do you think?

    Yes, you are right - I take enough pills as it is so would be reluctant to take any more as they always come with side effects.

    Kind regards


  • I would also give your self chance, you have had major upheaval and moved into a new house to someone elses dust you are not desensitize to yet. It is also very cold. You are trying to adjust to a new way of life. You are going through a major learning curve with your illness.

    Let things settle then see how things are before rushing to conclusions

  • Thanks so much jackie for your very wise comments. I will wait and try and adjust to the whole situation - coming to terms with the diagnosis and its implications seems somewhat overwhelming - even without all the four-legged house mates! The most frustrating and saddening thing is how much my life is restricted by the disease...

    Thanks again for understanding.


  • Ok lets go back a bit how restricted are you? I like going out and taking photos, and doing some walking, so I cannot do what I did, so I adjust walk slower find many reasons to stop find a seat , there are plenty around. I know people that have oxygen tanks and they still go on holiday abroad. Its negative thinking , thinking you are restricted, change things around and learn to adjust.

    As the doctor said to me when he asked how I did at walking, my answer was some days I struggle but not as fast as others, His answer was that does not matter as long as we were still walking.

    Give yourself time , and don't expect too much at once.


  • Hi Jackie

    Well, I cough a great deal. I get through about 20 pieces of menthol gum a day to ease the cough. I get breathless, feel weaker and much more tired. I have other serious and chronic health problems which means I am in a great deal of pain which is exacerbated by the coughing; in fact, if I am not careful with the coughing, my bones are weak enough to break. I pull muscles quite often as they are atrophied in places. There are other significant health problems (which are quite personal) but add to the overall picture of disability. I have been unable to work since 1998. I have a sister and a daughter who both live 150 miles away. No other family.

    So, I don't feel I am being negative, just overwhelmed by all these issues and the length of time I have had to endure them...

  • Oh swimmer I am sorry I did not mean to upset you or be overbearing. I do know about the coughing, its awful and can be very embarrassing. I will not stay at people s houses because of it, not nice hearing some cough till they are sick .

    I can understand you being overwhelmed. Hopefully being on here will help ease the overwhelming and allow somewhere, where you can feel someone to talk to.

    keep warm and safe in this awful weather



  • Lung disease takes a lot of getting used to Swimmer, if you ever completely do, and you've had the major upheaval of a move too. You are probably at a very low ebb and I think most us here know what that's like. I do hope things improve for you, keep coming to this forum, there is always someone to help and that makes you feel not so alone. Best wishes, Libby x

  • Thanks Libby for understanding and for being there - it means a great deal to me.

    swimmer x

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