Springtime Allergies: About 42 Million Suffer from Pet Allergies Alone

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Springtime Allergies: About 42 Million Suffer from Pet Allergies Alone

Cat Allergic Dr. Tami Groberg at Home with Her Cats

Orlando, FL (Vocus) May 29, 2009

When feline-exclusive veterinarian Tami Groberg, DVM, says she’s “allergic to work”, she means it. For this Orlando veterinarian, working with cats is more than a career, it’s a labor of love that requires some physical sacrifices. Oddly enough, cat doctor Tami Groberg is allergic to 100% of her patients, a painful reality she discovered well into her veterinary career.

“I used to get so sick in the beginning of my career, I couldn’t even talk,” recalls Dr. Groberg. “After years and years of increasingly bad symptoms and terrible sicknesses, I finally got the news that, ironically, I’m a veterinarian who’s allergic to cats!” She’s also slightly allergic to dogs, but working with cats is where her heart is. “I’ve wanted to work with cats my entire life, so, I’ll do what I have to do to make that happen,” she explains. She survives on hyposensitization injection treatments, a remedy she’ll likely rely on for the rest of her life as a veterinarian who shares her homes with cats Nacho, Joy, Jewel, and Fiona. Dr. Groberg is a full-time veterinarian at Bay Hill Cat Hospital in Orlando.

While it may be incredibly uncommon for a feline-exclusive veterinarian to be allergic to cats, Dr. Groberg is actually one of about 42 million Americans suffering from pet allergies. Of those 42 million people with pet allergies, 83-percent would never get rid of their pet, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. These recent studies show allergic animal lovers often chose to “cope” with pet allergies, a lot like Dr. Groberg does every day in her career as a cat veterinarian and pet owner.

What part of pets are we allergic to?

Pet hair generally gets the blame for causing the allergic reactions. However, this is rarely the case according to Dr. Groberg. “People who are allergic to pets are mainly reacting to proteins made by the skin of the animal. The protein is even detected on the shaved skin,” explains Dr. Groberg. “So, shaving or cutting fur from a pet isn’t really going to help. Depending on the animal, some of the protein is also found in fur, saliva and other excretions.”

The protein dries on the animal’s skin and becomes airborne when they scratch, shake, or move about. Because the protein is very sticky, it can get stuck on the animal’s fur and the owners clothing, walls, furniture or carpeting.

Despite many attempting to cope with allergies, there is still a pocket of the population that feels there are no other options, but to remove their pets from their homes for good.

Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats), according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Approximately 10% of those are surrendered because their owners claimed they were allergic.

Dr. Groberg wants allergic pet owners to know that in many cases, coping strategies can be very successful and allow people to keep pets in the family.

How to Cope

Clearly, the decision to keep an animal in the home where there is a pet-allergic person requires a huge commitment. Fortunately, millions of pet-allergic animal lovers live healthy, productive lives by learning how to implement allergy-reducing practices.

Following are some allergy reducing tips from Dr. Groberg:

At Home

Create an allergy-free haven in the bedroom, where you spend most of your life, (that means keeping pets out of the room).
Minimize wall-to-wall carpeting, a primary reservoir for pet dander.
Vacuum frequently
Clean hard surfaces with a damp cloth to remove sticky dander
Replace filters in the HVAC system monthly with high quality filters—allergen filters if possible.

Your Pet

Bathe pet to reduce dander. Shaving pet’s fur will not make much difference to allergy sufferers.
Wash pet’s bedding and clean favorite napping spots regularly
Use a lint roller to pick up hair and dander. This can reduce the amount of offending proteins

“Allergic pet owners should talk to an allergist about medical options for themselves. Antihistamines can aid with nose and eye-related symptoms,” says Dr. Groberg. “An allergist can also recommend products such as prescription and over the counter nasal sprays. When in doubt, pet owners experiencing sicknesses and/or allergic reactions should see a physician, just like sick pets should see their regular vets.”

About Tami Groberg, DVM:

Dr. Groberg is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in 2001, where she received the J.E. Salisbury Foundation Scholarship. Since 2006, Dr. Groberg has been an Associate Veterinarian at feline-exclusive Bay Hill Cat Hospital, in Orlando. Before joining the staff of Bay Hill Cat Hospital, Dr. Groberg treated feline patients in other areas of Florida, as well as in Maine and Virginia. She is an active member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Media and Visual Opportunities: To schedule an interview, video or photo opportunity with Dr. Groberg, contact Julie Robbins at 813-412-3354 or [email protected]

About Bay Hill Cat Hospital

Bay Hill Cat Hospital has been providing feline-exclusive healthcare in Orlando, since 1995. Our hospital is designed specifically to meet the special needs of our feline patients. Bay Hill’s caring and professional staff is enthusiastic about providing the best possible care for our feline patients. Bay Hill Cat Hospital is located in the Dr. Phillips area in southwest Orlando. For more information, visit http://www.bayhillcathospital.com.



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