Am I allergic to my pets?
DOG DAZE - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2012 - 12:00am

I have suffered from psoriasis since 1990. I had asthma as a child, which I thought I had outgrown in my early adult years. But when I reached my mid-forties, the asthma came back, to stay, it seems.

I have been told often enough by well meaning asthma and psoriasis doctors that my life could be better minus the pets.

I remember reasoning out with one doctor that I am sure that I had dogs that were non-shedding, therefore hypoallergenic. “There is no such thing as a dog that does not cause allergy,” is what my doc said.

I continue to live with five dogs and six cats. I also have learned to live with the asthma and the psoriasis.

Wikipedia defines psoriasis as “an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system mistakes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is not contagious. However, psoriasis has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, and treating high blood lipid levels may lead to improvement. There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, is seen as red and white hues of scaly patches appearing on the top first layer of the epidermis (skin). Some patients, though, have no dermatological signs or symptoms. The name psoriasis is from Ancient Greek, meaning roughly “itching condition.”

The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component and local psoriatic changes can be triggered by an injury to the skin known as the Koebner phenomenon. Various environmental factors have been suggested as aggravating to psoriasis, including stress as well as other environmental factors, but few have shown statistical significance.”

Since I have lived with my psoriasis for over 20 years, I have learned to deal with the often-embarrassing outbreaks that red scaly skin can cause. Matter of fact, I have learned to coverup when I dress so as not to call attention to the psoriais plaques. I know what it’s like to be looked at as it I had the plague or something more deadly and contagious.

And then there are my dogs and cats.

I have not read anywhere that dogs and cats cause psoriasis episodes. I do know that stress is a good trigger for psoriasis and my dogs never cause me stress. Matter of fact, my pets keep me sane and stress-free.

Pets make us have a long and more fulfilled life, I have been told. And, any pet lover will tell you that a pet can only bring joy to one’s life.

My doggies sleep with me. Yes, we share a bed.

I am undergoing a psoriasis episode at present, and the last time I had an outbreak was over a year ago.

Where is all this going?

I can cope with the psoriasis. There are means that can help keep it at bay and given time, the episode ends and my skin gets back to normal, more or less. (Sigh)

Asthma — I can live with that, too. There is the ever-handy inhaler I exercise regularly, which is my other antidote against asthma.

Who knows what really causes psoriasis or asthma? After all the years of seeing doctors, they can only guess as to what the causes may be.

My older and well-meaning siblings have advised me often enough that it might be better for me to get rid of my dogs and cats so that I can finally be asthma and psoriasis free.

No way.

I do know that in spite of all I have been told about my pets and my allergies, I can live with the psoriasis and the asthma — but I can’t live without my pets.

‘Nuff said.

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