See a Pet Allergy Specialist in St. Louis, MO
Dr. Sonia Cajigal is a board-certified allergist that specializes in pet allergies. She will review your pet allergy symptoms, review treatment options (including allergy shots for pet allergies) and get you the proper medications for pet allergies. Dr. Cajigal has helped countless patients live with their allergies and keep their pets! Schedule your visit today.
“This office was AMAZING! I am so very impressed. I have never had more of a thorough doctor. The office staff was great too. I brought a newborn in and they all treated the situation of me having my baby there great. She made sure to lay everything out on the table of what could be the cause of my symptoms. She was so helpful.”
– Rachel M, February 2022
About Pet Allergies
Pet Allergy Overview
It’s common for pet owners to be allergic to their pets. Pets can trigger allergic rhinitis, skin allergies, or asthma symptoms. Typically, the root cause of pet allergies is allergenic proteins in animal dander, skin flakes, saliva, and urine. Importantly, pollen, mold spores, and other outdoor allergens may also gather on animal fur, triggering allergic responses that appear as pet protein allergies.
It’s a common misconception that some dogs and cats are hypoallergenic. In reality, there are no hypoallergenic breeds of dogs or cats, however there are breeds that do not shed as much and therefore do not release as much dander, making them less aggravating to individuals with allergies.
in St. Louis, Missouri
Pet Allergy Symptoms
Pet allergy symptoms tend to present immediately upon exposure with the animal or shortly thereafter. It’s also common for symptoms to persist even after the animal is gone because fur and dander tend to gather on surfaces in the home. Pet allergy symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy watery eyes
- Asthma symptoms
Pet Allergies Test
If you suspect pet allergies, getting a pet allergies test is the first step. Pet allergy testing starts with a detailed medical history, but skin testing is considered the primary diagnostic technique for pet allergies. Skin testing may be administered via skin prick, intradermal skin test, or patch testing. Blood testing may also be prescribed if skin testing is contraindicated or inconclusive.
in St. Louis, Missouri
Pet Allergy Treatment
The most effective pet allergy treatment is simply to avoid exposure to pets. However, if you live with the pets that you’re allergic to, there are steps you can take to minimize allergy symptoms. Below, we provide more information on environmental changes, household cleaning habits, and medications that can help you live comfortably with your pets.
Allergy Proof Your Pets
- Keep animals outside if possible, but be mindful that pet dander will still make its way indoors on clothing or whenever the pet comes into the house.
- Bathe your pet frequently.
- Have someone who doesn’t have allergies brush the pet outside regularly.
- Establish pet free zones. Keep pets out of your bedroom and other highly occupied rooms.
- Have someone who doesn’t have allergies clean the pet’s kennel, litter box or cage regularly.
- Remove carpeting and rugs, which can trap pet dander and other allergens.
- Keep pets off of upholstered furniture. Consider replacing upholstered furniture to minimize pet dander accumulation.
- Use a double or micro-filter bag in the vacuum to reduce the amount of pet allergen present in carpeting that leaks back into the room air.
- Use HEPA air cleaners to help remove allergenic particles from the air.
- Do not hug and kiss pets if you’re allergic!
Medications for Pet Allergies
Medications for pet allergies can help relieve symptoms when they occur. Both prescription and over-the-counter medications may be part of the pet allergy treatment regimen, however, we recommend discussing any new over-the-counter medications with Dr. Cajigal, especially if you’ve been taking them for multiple weeks. Prescription medications may provide superior pet allergy relief.
- Antihistamines: help to relieve itching, sneezing, and runny nose caused by allergies.
- Corticosteroids: nasal sprays that reduce inflammation and help control allergic rhinitis symptoms.
- Decongestants: shrink swollen tissues in the nasal passage and make it easier to breathe through your nose. Decongestants are available by prescription as oral medication or over-the-counter as nasal spray.
- Leukotriene Modifiers: may be prescribed if corticosteroid nasal sprays or antihistamines are not good options for you.
- Nasal Irrigation: neti pots or squeeze bottles can be used to flush thickened mucus and irritants from your sinuses with a saltwater rinse.
Allergy Shots for Pet Allergies
Allergy shots for pet allergies may be an option for you. Allergy shots can provide long-term allergy relief and keep symptoms under control even when you’re directly exposed to an allergenic pet. Talk to Dr. Cajigal about allergy shots for pet allergies to see if its right for you.
Rid Your Home of Pet Dander
- Have someone who doesn’t have allergies clean the entire house, including thorough washing of ceilings and walls.
- Replace or move upholstered furniture. Even with thorough cleaning, it’s difficult to remove all pet allergens from upholstery, which is why they should be replaced or moved to where they won’t bother the allergy sufferers in your home.
- Replace carpets, especially in bedrooms and other highly occupied rooms.
- Replace all bedding, including mattresses, sheets, blankets, and pillows.
- Use HEPA air purifiers to remove allergenic particles from the air.
 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/
Pet Allergy Specialist
Dr. Sonia Cajigal
Schedule Your Visit
- Sue D, July 2020
– Stephanie, August 2020
- Ann H, December 2018
- Stephen W, June 2020
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We are currently accepting new adult and pediatric patients at St. Louis Family Allergy!
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