Aim: We investigated if skin sensitization by cat/dog dander was associated with disease severity and quality of life in children with eczema.
Methods: Demographics, skin prick test (SPT) results, disease severity (Nottingham eczema severity score NESS), Children Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI), skin hydration (SH), transepidermal water loss (TEWL) of a cohort of AE patients were reviewed.
Results: 325 AE patients followed at a pediatric dermatology clinic were evaluated. Personal history of asthma was lowest (20%) in the dog-dander-positive-group but highest (61%) in both-cat-and-dog-dander-positive group (p=0.007). Binomial logistic regression ascertained that cat-dander sensitization was associated with increasing age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.056; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 1.006 to 1.109; p=0.029), dust-mite sensitization (aOR, 4.625; 95% CI, 1.444 to 14.815; p=0.010), food-allergen sensitization (aOR, 2.330; 95% CI, 1.259 to 4.310; p=0.007) and keeping-cat-ever (aOR, 7.325; 95% CI, 1.193 to 44.971; p=0.032); whereas dog-dander sensitization was associated with dust-mite sensitization (aOR, 9.091; 95% CI, 1.148 to 71.980; p=0.037), food-allergen sensitization (aOR, 3.568; 95% CI, 1.341 to 9.492; p=0.011) and keeping-dog-ever (aOR, 6.809; 95% CI, 2.179 to 21.281; p=0.001). However, neither cat nor dog sensitization were associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis, parental or sibling atopic status, disease severity or quality of life.
Conclusion: This study summarizes evidence for parental/patient guidance. There is no direct correlation between AE severity or quality of life with skin sensitization to cats or dogs. However, furry pets are a good source of house-dust mite and it had been shown in the study that AE patients are likely to be sensitive to them. Sensitized patients especially those with concomitant asthma and severe symptoms may consider non-furry alternatives if they plan to have a pet. Highly sensitized individuals, especially those with asthma co-morbidity, may have to remove their pet for a trial period to determine if symptoms improve.