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Daisy's making Gracie sick

Schwinn
January 23rd, 2006, 08:32 AM
There was a thread a while ago about what would you do if your child was allergic to your pets, and I remember my thought was, "You deal with it". At least, that's what I figured.

Gracie has been sick for a couple of weeks now. I will sometimes look in on her at 5:30 when I leave for work, and the other day she sounded like a diesel engine, she was so snuffed up. Mrs Schwinn took her to the clinic, who said she was fine. Mrs Schwinn, who is rarely emotional, got very upset and said, "You're the third person to say that, but she isn't! Something is wrong with her!" Fortunately, there was a specialist there that day, who saw Gracie right away. He looked at her for a few minutes, then...
"Who has asthma in your family?"
"My husband has it"
"And allergies?"
"Him and his family"

Turns out, Gracie is allergic. I was hoping it was the cats (kidding...sort of). Mrs Schwinn scrubbed the house, and now Gracie's room is off limits. (Daisy sits outside staring at us through the baby gate...it's very sad). We're putting a screen door up this week on her room to keep the cats out (that'll be attractive!), but even with the top to bottom cleaning, on Friday, she's already slept more, and better, than she has in a month. So, it seems this will be enough. That, and one of Mrs. Schwinn's best friends is a nurse who said lots of kids grow out of it. So, it appears, everything will be fine.

But it got me to thinking...what if it wasn't? How could I ask this little baby, who depends on us for everything, who trust us to keep her well, to "deal with it"? But then, there's Daisy, the dog who would walk to the end of the earth for us, who wants nothing more than a butt scratch and the odd snowball thrown for her...what would I tell her?

It's an interesting quandry. I come home at the end of the day, and Daisy's on her mat by the front door (where she goes every day at 7, waiting for me to walk in at 7:30), and Gracie playing with Mrs. Schwinn on the living room floor, usually with her back to the door. I walk in, and Mrs. Schwinn lets out a "Daddy's home!" and Daisy is at the door with major butt-wiggling, and Gracie looks like an owl turning her head so far until she sees me, giving me the biggest smile when she does. There I am, staring at the World's Happiest Baby and the World's Happiest Dog. How would you choose?

Again, it isn't an issue, it appears that the little adjustments we've made have been enough. It's merely a philisophical question that got me thinking. Both about when do you go against your convictions, and the saying, "Until you've been in thier shoes..."

Bearsmom
January 23rd, 2006, 09:08 AM
Oh, Schwinn, that's a horrible, horrible decision to make! Did Gracie see a specialist who did allergy testing to determine if that's the case? (may have missed that, I'm not sure).

I cannot tell you what to do, I know if it were me and confirmed allergy to dogs, I'd have to rehome with a great deal of sadness.

mastifflover
January 23rd, 2006, 09:19 AM
Well I am glad that it is hopefully not going to be an issue. I have also heard that when kids live with animals they do build up an immunity to the dander. But I am sure I will not be popular with my opinion but I would not get rid of the dog just as you would never consider giving Gracie up. My child would have to live with it as long as it was not life threatening because I do believe she will grow out of it. Good luck

cpietra16
January 23rd, 2006, 09:45 AM
You might want to look into air purifiers too. I have one that I move room to room and it works well. Mine works on pet dander, pollen, dust, etc. It might help.

Bushfire2000
January 23rd, 2006, 09:59 AM
The screen door is a great idea I've heard of that being used before with great success. It must be a relief to know what Gracie's problems are and hopefully you've done all that will be necessary.

My son was allergic to milk when he was a baby (A friend carried him in a store for me once and I could track their progress by the baby burp-up on the floor, she was unaware that he was burping with every step) He has grown out of it and can now drink as much as he wants so babies do outgrow allergies.

susieqt
January 23rd, 2006, 10:28 AM
When my son was a baby (he's 12 now), he had ear infection after ear infection. I was constantly taking him to the doctor. His doctor, who was quite elderly and from the "old school", told me right away I had to get rid of my dogs and cats! He said that the dogs could live outside! I was devastated for days, not knowing what to do. Anyhow, to make a long story short, I didn't do anything and my son grew out of his "allergies", if thats what they were. What my mind up about the wait and see approach was that I knew many mothers of young children at the time who had NO animals at all and their children were sick alot also, with colds and ear infections. Kids do get sick alot when they are young.

I am a dog groomer and almost every week one of my clients get rid of their pet because the doctor said their child is allergic. I am not saying that some kids are not, every case is different, but I am really glad I didn't listen to my doctor when he said to get rid of mine.:)

Schwinn
January 23rd, 2006, 10:29 AM
As I said, it wasn't even really a thought. But after we got all the cleaning done, and made a few adjustments we got talking. What if...? It was just an interesting dilemma that, fortunately, we won't have to tackle, but we still wondered...at what point would you say enough? We couldn't imagine giving up Daisy, to anyone, but we couldn't imagine Gracie suffering. As I said, it was an interesting ethical dillema that I thought I had the answer to, until it hit closer to home.

Also, I think Gracie would miss Daisy too much as well.

The specialist that saw her didn't even approach getting rid of the pets. He made some suggestions (including the screen door), and then asked to see her for follow-up in a couple of weeks. Gracie already is doing better, and she slept longer on the weekend than she has in two months. So, in this case, alls well that ends well.

Bushfire2000
January 23rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
As I said, it wasn't even really a thought. But after we got all the cleaning done, and made a few adjustments we got talking. What if...? It was just an interesting dilemma that, fortunately, we won't have to tackle, but we still wondered...at what point would you say enough? We couldn't imagine giving up Daisy, to anyone, but we couldn't imagine Gracie suffering. As I said, it was an interesting ethical dillema that I thought I had the answer to, until it hit closer to home.

At what point would you say enough:

When the allergies made my childs life unbearable.
I hate to have a head cold or an ear infection and to have to deal with these on a daily basis would be enough

Prin
January 23rd, 2006, 02:30 PM
I don't know- I see it from the other side. My bf's parents got rid of everything for his asthma and allergies (carpets, stuffed animals, everything!) and I think that made him weaker. He takes his pump so much- he has adjusted to the dogs a lot, but in the beginning it was horrible. He couldn't play with them or anything. He couldn't sweep the floors without getting an attack. If the dogs scratched him, he'd be red and puffy for a few days. But if he can adjust now, being in his mid-twenties and being less maleable than a child would be, imagine what a baby can do.

While I agree the kid shouldn't be suffering, being in a bubble doesn't help either.

shannonRN
January 23rd, 2006, 02:50 PM
I believe in an element of what Prin says too.

On another note, I have an 9 year old nephew who has had horrible allergies and asthma since about 18 months old. Anaphylactic reactions to eggs, and among others, has developed essentially constant sinus infection-type symptoms to their cat over the years. He's just sick, all of the time, despite all of the usual measures.

My sister talked to me about taking their cat from them, as much as she didn't want to give it up. Of course I agreed to. I honestly can't fault someone for wanting to remove the source of their child's illness, when it is an unexpected thing. They had gotten the cat before they knew he had allergies and they put an end long ago to their long-standing plans to get a dog. He's now getting allergy shots, which he hates, but he was given the option of finding another home for the cat--and he declined. He'd rather be sick, get the allergy shots he hates, and have his cat.

The rest of their kids (older) came to the consensus that they'd rather get rid of Josh than the cat. :crazy:

Prin
January 23rd, 2006, 02:54 PM
He'd rather be sick, get the allergy shots he hates, and have his catAww.. That's so sweet. Somebody has great parents.:)

chico2
January 23rd, 2006, 04:33 PM
Also,like was suggested earlier,air-purifiers work great.I have two of the tall tower ones and after I cleaned them(once a month)was surprised at all the particles in what I thought was a clean house.Well worth the money!

divinecalamity
January 23rd, 2006, 05:21 PM
Allergies and asthma are a really tough thing to deal with, sometimes they improve...sometimes they don't. I have both and have since I was a child...reason my parents gave up our cat I had as a child and never was aloud to have a dog...until I was a teenager. Cats seem to be the major issue with asthma, they are more trouble some, every doctor I have tells me to get rid of my kitties:( , I have only had them for a few years but since their addition...my asthma and allergies have become much worse however, I am an adult and can make the informed choice to jeopordize my health, I will not be getting any more kitties after these ones and I may have to give these ones to my mother. My experience with dogs however is different, they don't bother like cats do and from research this seems to be a consensus. If the improvements you have made have helped your child that is great and hopefully that will work. I can't say what you should or shouldn't do cause if I was in your situation I would have a very hard time too...I would probably find the cats a new home...and try with the dog alone for a while, unfortunately if my child was really bothered by my dogs too...the dogs would have to find a new home. A child relies on you to do the best thing for them, and asthma can be a serious medical emergency. When a child is old enough to be responsible for their decision things may be different. I am not saying what you should do or anything, just things I would consider if I were a mother, also being a nurse, and a HUGE animal lover. Hope everything works out for the best for your family:pawprint: ...sorry this is so long...

Prin
January 23rd, 2006, 08:54 PM
I read that dogs aggravate asthma that is already present but doesn't cause it, but cats and molds can actually create an asthmatic where a person wasn't before.

Schwinn
January 24th, 2006, 10:23 AM
I put the screen door up last night. I went downstairs...

Mrs. Schwinn:"How does it look?"
Schwinn:"It's a screen door on a bedroom. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to answer that"

At any rate, we've already seen an improvement since some of the adjustments made on the weekend. I didn't want anyone to think that we were currently in danger of losing any of the pets, I only wanted to bring this up since it really caused me to pause and rethink what I thought when it was brought up a while ago in an earlier thread.

It's true, it's different with an infant than even with a toddler (I think. I have to be careful here, because I've already seen it's different when it's your child). At least with a toddler, they can somewhat tell you how they are feeling, how much it is affecting them. But with an infant, all you know is they are unhappy, and they don't know why. Suddenly you want to protect them from everything, and when you can't, it becomes really difficult. We've made adjustments, and we're confident that we'll be able to keep all babies, fur and otherwise. I don't think there was ever any danger, I just wanted to bring this up.

mastifflover
January 24th, 2006, 10:37 AM
Actually Schwinn it was a good thing to post. It shows there is always options to try before making the huge sacrifice of giving up a pet. I know you would do whatever it take to keep all your kids at home. Keep us posted on how it is going and good luck.

Writing4Fun
January 24th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Oh, Schwinn, I sooo know where you're coming from. My first had the same issue. Luckily, my doctor was also a reasonable person who saw that I loved my pets. He said, "Let's get rid of all the carpeting in the house first, then if that doesn't help, we'll talk about the pets." So poor hubby came home that night to find my sister and me ripping all the carpets out of the house (God bless the person who invented laminate flooring). :D Very luckily, my son did grow out of it. But I know exactly where you're coming from.

You might also want to go to Home Depot and get that furnace filter made specifically to trap dander. Does anyone know if that Febreeze Allergen Reducer is any good?

mummummum
January 24th, 2006, 07:01 PM
For anyone interested, Consumer Reports magazine tested air cleaners & purifiers in their October 2005 issue.

poodletalk
January 24th, 2006, 07:18 PM
I think doctors are very quick to blame pets when they don't know what else to blame. I was very sick couple of years ago, I kept going back to the doctor, my cough was getting worse I had a fever of 104 my head was about to burst. The doctor asked me, "when you go home, is their anyone there to take care of you?" I said, "my dogs will keep me company till until someone comes home from work." It was like a light bulb went off in her head, "You have dogs, that must be the problem, you must have developed allergies to them!" I was shocked that my doctor was blaming my dogs! I told the Dr. that I grew up with dogs all my life and I highly doubt I developed allergies to dogs over the winter season. (That's when my cold started) She insisted that my cough was due to allergies and I need to see an allergist, she made an for me with one of the doctors in the clinic telling him it was urgent! I went the following week, he tested me for many things, plus dogs and feathers. (I can't remeber if I got tested for cats, probably I did) I am very proud to say, I am NOT allergic to dogs nor feathers! My cold and dry cough went away when my office turned off the heat

chico2
January 25th, 2006, 07:57 AM
After using my aircleaner in my livingroom(carpeted)seeing the particles collected in the filter,the carpet will be taken out and although we have old woodfloors underneath,we are putting laminate floor over it.
IMHO,I believe wall-to-wall carpeing is the culprit in many allergy cases,especially if you have pets.

Melinda
January 25th, 2006, 09:04 AM
Just had to jump in, as a child , I had allergies to our dog and cats, eyedrops were a daily routine to me, my mom kept a fan running at night over my head which helped a great deal, (no air cleaners in those days), I did eventually outgrow it, now I just get the occasional sniffles, and as a daycare owner, go to the dollar store, buy some butterflies/dragonflies on wires from the craft section, decorate the screendoor inside and out, butterflies back to back so the wires stay tucked in, also, place them high enough so little fingers can't grab them. Flowers around the corners would also look cute for a little girls room.

Schwinn
January 25th, 2006, 09:45 AM
We do have an air filter on our new furnace, but I have to admit I don't know much about it. Until now, I was the only one who was really affected. We're going to look at it and see if there is a point to getting a better one. Also, the air purifier for her room is a good idea. And I like the idea of decorating it as well.

Last night, I got the "By the way, I kinda wanted the door hung on the other side. Oh, and with the trim facing in" *eye flutter*

*sigh*Guess what I'm doing this weekend?

The good news is, it seems to be working, anyway. She's been sleeping better, when she isn't teething. (Her third one is coming in. Once that's through, I figure she'll already be above the Keswick average)

Writing4Fun
January 25th, 2006, 10:12 AM
Once that's through, I figure she'll already be above the Keswick average
http://www.discodelic.netfirms.com/happy-rotfl4.gif

happycats
January 25th, 2006, 10:45 AM
You can get excellent air.hepa filter systems for your furnace, the good ones are quite costly, but worth it. Try calling a local heating/airconditioning dealer. (stay away from some of the bigger names, as they have a tendency to gouge their clients) .

doggy lover
January 25th, 2006, 11:55 AM
When my kids were younger they had asthma and allergies, more so my daughter. They have gradully outgrown them, but thankfully they were never allergic to pets. My daughter was mostly dustmites so yes we pulled everything out of her room from carpet, toys to curtains. She was better doing this we also got a vaccuum with a filter on it. But like I said they out grew most of it, my daughter still needs an inhailer when she gets colds and is overly physically active sometimes but she is fine other than that. Lets just hope things will pass.

chico2
January 25th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Schwinn,we too have a new furnace with an aircleaner and a very expensive filter(don't know what kind),but I got one portable aircleaner at Christmas and just bought another one,it does not need new filters,I just vaccum the filter once a month.
Since I unfortunately smoke,but only in one room,the aircleaner just sucks it right in..:D safer for my cats and also the room does not stink.

Daisy_Mae
January 27th, 2006, 10:31 AM
I have always had allergies since I was a baby. I had been to the hospital numerous times and hooked to a respirator with meds. I always had a dog growing up but no cats so when I would go to homes with cats my allergies would flare up so we never had a cat. Yet when I was in grade school I went to a babysitter that had 2 cats and a dog, my parents didn't seem to worried, they just told me not to touch the cats and wash my hands if I did. I grew up that way, living with allergies and managing it the best I could. I loved animals and refused to take shots. When we moved to the country we had several stray cats and they would come inside, I would pet them and get sick and I would get over it. When I went to college I lived with my aunt and her cat and dog and I lived through that too.

The problem started to get worse after college when I moved out on my own and had NO pets. When I would go to any house with cats or dogs I would get severely sick, ended up in the hospital a couple times. I had my allergies re-tested and found out I was now allergic to dogs, not just cats. I lived 3 years without pets and last year my husband brought home a stray cat. Now we have 6 cats and 1 dog. I have developed a certain amount of immunity to them but I have also taken measures to control it. We have no carpets in the house and the house has to cleaned every weekend. I am also allergic to dust mites and mold so we decided on buying a brand new house last year to avoid a lot of issues. I too wonder when I have kids what I would do if they were allergic. With having allergies of my own most of my life I would lean towards kids needing to be around pets and building an immunity to them.

I am going to bank on the fact that I will probably take the measures you taken and if need be I will get a bigger home and only allow the pets in certain rooms. I guess we'll see when the time comes!

CyberKitten
January 27th, 2006, 03:54 PM
One of my sisters was like Gracie- (tho I do not know all of Grace's diagnosis so I can't say that with certainty, only in a VERY general way and as an anectodal example which I almpst never do, lol) asthma and rather severe allergies but my folks were like you , no way were the animals going anywhere. So improvements and adjustments were made. As a small child, she even had to take allergy meds for awhile. She was unhappy at not sleeping with a cat or two and snuck one in her room more than once.

Now, she is 40 something and has been allergy free most of her adult life - ever since she turned about 16-17. She has three cats (once had 5).

But every situation is unique and I am glad your doctor did not recommend rehoming the dog!! That is often not a solution and only adds pain to everyone's feelings! I hope it all works out - purifiers, no carpets, clean clean and clean are the best answers.

btw, love the nnovative screen door idea!