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Asthma caused by dog allergy

(23 Posts)
Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 21:17:26

I am not sure whether to post this here or in the Doghouse really. I am at the end of my tether and so fed up. We bought a much loved and much wanted puppy last November. I have grown up with dogs and cats and always been a bit sneezy/wheezy but nothing too bad. For some reason he caused a really bad reaction to my chest and has given me asthma. I was put on a ventolin inhaler. I then ended up in hospital after a bad asthma attack and had oral steroids and was put on a preventer inhaler. My doctor has tried to slowly get me off the preventer inhaler a few times since as it is steroids but I get bad asthma again and end up going on back on it. I have tried everything. Salt lamps, salt caves, air purifiers, acupuncture , homeopathy etc etc. I went to see an allergy consultant who told me to get rid of the dog. I am sure that you are all thinking this as well but we all love him so much and it's not his fault and the children would be absolutely devastated. I am so scared of the thought of being on steroids for the next fifteen years but equally can't face re homing him. Has anyone had any experience of dog allergies and asthma ?

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 21:44:59

You have my sympathies - my boys would love a dog, but I dread it making my (mild) asthma worse.

I'm surprised your GP has tried to reduce the preventer - the dose of steroids is very low, and very little gets into your body. Far better that than the consequences of a hospitalising asthma attack. Many of us asthmatics are on it for keeps and no-one worries too much. I'd talk to them to find a good long term plan that assumes you keep the dog

Re-homing the poor dog would be best for your health, but I really understand that it's a desperate solution.

Have you tried being ultra-clean? No dog upstairs, ditch carpets and other dust collectors, allergy grade vacuum etc etc

I hope you find a solution

Sidge Tue 19-Jul-11 21:51:06

Well regular inhaled steroids aren't as bad as uncontrolled asthma and occasional doses of oral steroids.

If you are determined to keep your pet then you need a good degree of control with your inhaled steroid to minimise asthma attacks. Asthma is an inflammatory disease so you need to reduce exposure to the inflammatory agent ie your dog. If you are really serious about keeping the dog then think about swapping carpets for laminate/wooden floors, washing and brushing the dog regularly (probably best to get someone else to do it!) and taking a regular antihistamine.

Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 22:01:40

Hi AutumnWitch. Thanks for your reply. We honestly have tried everything. He is not allowed upstairs. We have wooden floor downstairs. He is not allowed on the settees. We have had him clipped. We have got a hepa filter on our vacuum. Air steriliser in the lounge.
I think that my doctor tried to reduce the preventer as he thought that maybe I would build up a natural immunity to the dog and wouldn't need to stay on it which doesn't seem to have happened although I don't really understand how the inhaler works and if it stops my body building up an immunity to him by doing the job for me (if that makes sense !!!).
I also told him that I really didn't want to stay on the steroid inhaler but again I honestly don't know much about them and you have made me feel better by saying that they are not too bad to be on long term.
Thanks again for your help.

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 22:12:11

Charlie - sounds like you've done all you can yourself.

What may happen is that your immune system will eventually build up a tolerance to your do and stop producing the over-reaction that is the allergy. It's different to becoming immune.
As for the inhalers...
An allergic reaction produces buckets of chemicals that cause inflammation in the lining of your lungs as one effect. What steroids do is to suppress that inflammation, which would eventually cause serious damage if left untreated for a long time. Taking steroids through an inhaler targets them where they are needed, so you need a much smaller dose than if you take tablets. This means there are far fewer side effects. The most common one is a husky voice, but you can avoid that by rinsing/gargling after you use the inhaler.
The idea is to get your preventer dose just right, so you almost never need ventolin.

just read that back - a bit heavy on the science - not intended to be patronising or confusing (scientist who really ought to be getting to bed....)
I'll just carry on making eyes at greyhounds...

Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 22:13:05

Thanks Sidge. Can I just ask what a 'low dose' inhaled steroid is. I was originally on Flixotide 250 twice a day and now have had it reduced to 125 twice a day. Is this a low dose ? Sorry to sound so ignorant but asthma is completely new to me and I have got everything I know so far from googling !

Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 22:15:23

Thanks Autumn. Not patronising or confusing at all. Really helpful.

Sidge Tue 19-Jul-11 22:22:06

For an adult female, Flixotide 125 2 puffs twice a day is a fair/standard dose, I wouldn't call it a low dose. 250 2 puffs twice daily would be the maximum we would give.

Do you use a spacer? How many times a day do you use your blue (salbutamol or terbutaline) inhaler?

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 22:25:23

You're not on the lowest dose for flixotide, which is 50ug. I have that combined with salmeterol (as seretide) to give a long lasting reliever as well.
If I get an evil, stubborn chest infection and I really can't breathe, then it's 5 days of prednisolone tablets sad

It can take a while to get asthma meds right.

Does your surgery run an asthma clinic? You get an appointment with a specialist nurse and plenty of time to sort things out, including training on how to use the inhalers properly, measure your peak flow and how to spot when it drops and you need extra help.

Glad we can help

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 22:26:30

Sidge - are you that specialist nurse/GP ? smile

Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 22:31:35

Actually I have just realised that I did have 125 but it was a puffer inhaler (sorry not very technical !) and I found the disc inhaler easier and that is 100 so I am on 100 twice a day. Is there a lower dose ? I asked the doctor for a lower one but he said that 50 was the only other dose and that was for children.
I have got a spacer that the hospital gave me for Ventolin but because the flixotide is a disc inhaler I don't use it for that.
Well when I am on the flixotide I don't use my ventolin at all but each time that I have tried to reduce it to one puff a day and then come off of it I start to use the ventolin again regularly and go back onto the Flixotide. I tried to come off the Flixotide again last week and am using ventolin in the morning when I wake up and then somethimes in the afternoon always in the evening and always in the night so I started on the Flixotide again yesterday. Sorry...what a long boring explanation !

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 22:40:02

No, that made perfect sense - been there, done it, conceded that I NEED to use the seretide. As I said, the aim is to not be using the ventolin and having the asthma controlled. Ventolin is for emergencies.

I suspect my dosage is different because of the combination I have.

Sidge Tue 19-Jul-11 22:40:46

Autumn yes that would be me smile I'm a practice nurse, and have a respiratory specialism, I run our asthma clinic.

Charlie OK if you have an Accuhaler then 100 mcg twice daily is the 'lowest' dose we would routinely give. (Your GP is right, 50 mcg are given to the under 16's usually.) The idea is that you have someone on the lowest dose of ICS needed to control their symptoms well, without having to use regular salbutamol. If you using the Flixotide daily means you have no wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath then it means you need it. If stopping the ICS means you develop symptoms, or are needing fairly regular salbutamol then you need to restart the ICS, as you are doing. So you're doing all the right things smile

Don't forget to get your flu jab this winter, and always have your blue inhaler to hand even if you rarely need it.

Sidge Tue 19-Jul-11 22:42:46

Sorry ICS = Inhaled CorticoSteroids, ie flixotide, seretide, clenil, beclometasone, Qvar etc.

Charliebean Tue 19-Jul-11 22:44:34

Thank you both so much. It hasn't solved my doggy problem but at least I understand about the dreaded asthma inhaler now !!!

Sidge Tue 19-Jul-11 22:46:00

Hope you stay well. Can't really help you with your doggy problem - with my nursey hat on I'd say rehome him but I know it's not that easy!

AutumnWitch Tue 19-Jul-11 22:57:17

I second what Sidge says.

Night folks smile

smudgethepuppydog Wed 20-Jul-11 21:43:15

DD is an allergic asthmatic (as well as an exercise induced and an infection induced one) so although I have no medical training I do have 20+ years experience with her asthma.

Do you use a nasal wash and do you take antihistamines? DD's allergies have been better since using a nasal rinse.

DD was on ridiculous doses of Flixotide as a child (2000mg a day at one point) but as she's grown older new and better meds have come onto the market, she's now on Fostair but it is worth asking the GP about different regimes. Symbicort also suited her well but she couldn't use it via a spacer so has had to go back onto Fostair.

Labradorlover Thu 21-Jul-11 00:14:42

Never had to use it myself, but over in the Dog House, Petel Clense is regulary recommended to wash dogs with to get the allergens out of their coats.

Charliebean Thu 21-Jul-11 15:06:30

I have never heard of a nasal wash. Do you just get them in a chemist or are they prescribed ? I did take anti-histamines but it was difficult to tell if they were doing anything as I was on the Flixotide. They didn't seem to help much when I took them before but maybe I should try a different type. The Flixotide does seem to control it at 100 twice a day. Are Fostair and Symbicort less harmful than Flixotide ? Not that I know that Flixotide is harmful I just wondered if they might be better long term if your DD is on them now.
I have got the petal cleanse thank you. I was just looking at an allergy probe thing that you stick up your nose and it is supposed to be brilliant for hay fever so maybe that may help. Goodness me this dog is costing us a fortune !!!

smudgethepuppydog Thu 21-Jul-11 19:24:29

Fostair has smaller particles so DD finds it easier to get it right down into her lungs.

Her allergy consultant put her on to a netipot and wash and it does seem to help her a lot.

Charliebean Thu 21-Jul-11 19:47:45

Thanks Smudge. Have just ordered a nasal wash from Amazon !

Sidge Thu 21-Jul-11 20:46:01

Re Symbicort and Fostair Charliebean - they both contain an equivalent of flixotide eg a steroid, but have a long-acting version of the blue inhaler ie formoterol. They are essentially the same sort of medication made by different companies and in different devices - Fostair is an MDI (squirty inhaler) and Symbicort is a dry powder device (sucky inhaler).

The thing about asthma management is that most inhalers offer the same medication, just in different forms or different combinations or different devices. It's not really which one is better or worse, more whether a person is on the appropriate dose of the appropriate medication to control their symptoms, delivered via a device that they can use easily and effectively.

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