Allergy to furry animals: New insights, diagnostic approaches, and challenges.
The prevalence of allergy to furry animals has been increasing, and allergy to cats, dogs, or both is considered a major risk factor for the development of asthma and rhinitis. An important step forward in the diagnosis of allergy to furry animals has been made with the introduction of molecular-based allergy diagnostics. A workshop on furry animals was convened to provide an up-to-date assessment of our understanding of (1) the exposure and immune response to the major mammalian allergens, (2) the relationship of these responses (particularly those to specific proteins or components) to symptoms, and (3) the relevance of these specific antibody responses to current or future investigation of patients presenting with allergic diseases. In this review research results discussed at the workshop are presented, including the effect of concomitant exposures from other allergens or microorganisms, the significance of the community prevalence of furry animals, molecular-based allergy diagnostics, and a detailed discussion of cat and dog components.