Purina has been experimenting on a cat food that will reduce human allergies to cats. Is Purina going down a concerning path or could this be beneficial pet food research?
A People magazine story states “In an effort to eliminate these roadblocks that stand in the way of human-cat companionship, Purina scientists have been researching how to manage cat allergens. The major allergen that effects those who suffer from cat allergies is Fel d1, which is found in the saliva of cats. This troublesome allergen is then spread to the cat’s fur and dander — where it is more likely to come in contact with allergy sufferers — through grooming. Purina scientists have recently demonstrated “a proactive way to significantly reduce the active levels of the major cat allergen, Fel d1, at its source in cats’ saliva.”
In other words, Purina has developed a way to potentially control the human allergy to cats through controlling the allergen in the cat via the cat food.
Veterinarian Dr. Michael W. Fox provides this perspective on the Purina research:
Research from Purina reported in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease suggests it is possible to safely neutralize the Fel d1 allergen in cat saliva by integrating an antibody to the substance into the feline diet. The company says the finding could enable control of allergies among humans who have contact with cats. “Taking advantage of natural allergen-antibody interactions, Purina researchers discovered how to safely neutralize Fel d1 in hair and dander by incorporating an egg product containing anti-Fel d1 antibodies into a cat’s diet. Ultimately this will reduce active Fel d1 levels in the environment. This approach maintains normal allergen production by the cat, without affecting the cat’s overall physiology,” Purina shared in a statement. (People – 6/17) “These allergens have created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats,” immunologist Dr. Ebenezer Satyaraj, Director of Molecular Nutrition at Purina and lead investigator on the research, said in a statement. “Our discovery has the potential to transform how people manage cat allergens.”
I would say to all cat “dander” allergy-sufferers to first wipe their cats down morning and at bedtime with a moist sponge; vacuum all areas where the cat has been every 3-7 days and change your air filter regularly. Some exposure to these feline allergens can actually lead to desensitization. Also, there are some cats whose dried saliva presumably does not contain this allergen because they do not affect people who are extremely allergic to cats. Purina’s research is ground-breaking but sometimes the ground is best not broken. Some cats are allergic to eggs/”egg product.” I hope this new biologic product will cause no harm and save many cats from having to be abandoned.
The full Purina study can be read here.
What are your thoughts? Is this weird science or needed science?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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