Dog Dander—Harmless?

Isadore Pitesky, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(2):256. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630140096022.
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To the Editor.—  Your otherwise excellent editorial in the August issue of the Archives (136:865-866, 1976) was marred by one point. Whereas chihuahuas are of no value in the treatment of asthma, their dander is not "worthless but harmless" substances. In a person whose asthma is caused by dog dander, the presence of a chihuahua could precipitate a serious bout of asthma.The myth about this dog stems from the popular belief held by lay people, as well as by many physicians, that it is the dog hair that is the allergenic material. After all, the small bottles of test materials and most instruction sheets state that the person was tested for dog hair. Few people know what dander is. Hence, a dog that is hairless is "safe."It pains me to feel that all of the earmarks of pseudoscientific zealot applies to so many practicing allergists!


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