Sensitizazion to common and uncommon pets or other furry animals: which may be common mechanisms?
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Exposure to animal allergens constitutes a relevant risk factor for the development of allergic sensitization. Moreover, an increasing number of people become owners of less common animals. In this article we summarize aspects related to sensitization to cat/dog which may be applied also to uncommon pets or other furry animals. The data discussed here suggest that several different factors may induce allergic sensitization to furry animals with or without previous contact. Allergic sensitization without animal exposure is a relevant risk for patients because they are not aware about the possibility that even severe respiratory symptoms may develop after an occasional animal contact. This aspect should be taken into account by susceptible individuals before acquiring pets or beginning a contact for working/leisure activity with a common as well as uncommon animal. As a consequence, skin prick test and/or evaluation of specific IgE antibodies (by classic ImmunoCAP or micro-array technique ImmunoCAP ISAC) also to less common ("new") mammalian allergens could be recommended in individuals already sensitized to common pets to identify the occurrence of allergic sensitization and consequently to avoid future exposures to uncommon animal allergens.