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Dogs have a global distribution and all dogs produce allergens. Allergic sensitization to dogs is considered to be a risk factor for asthma and rhinitis, and has increased significantly over recent decades for both children and adults. Dog allergen particles are tiny so they easily become airborne, disperse effectively, and can enter small bronchioles to reach lower airways. Dog hair and dander extracts contain many antigens, any of which can bind to IgE antibodies and trigger respiratory symptoms in sensitized individuals. Many of these compounds also cross-react with other mammalian allergens, which poses extended diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Evaluating dog sensitization can be challenging, but the introduction of molecular-based diagnostics has been an important step forwards in the accurate diagnosis of dog allergy.
No specific preparation required but clinical history format is mandatory.