Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Study shows no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog

The allergy-friendly dog may be little more than wishful thinking, a new study of Labradoodles and other allegedly hypoallergenic breeds suggests.

In fact, scientists found that "hypoallergenic" canines had more of the allergy-causing protein Can f 1 in their fur than did dogs without the label. And the air in their owners' homes contained no less of it.

"The term 'hypoallergenic' is a misnomer that is not evidence based," they conclude in their report, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Doris Vredegoor at Utrecht University in The Netherlands and her colleagues recruited nearly 200 dogs of four supposedly hypoallergenic breeds. They compared those with a group of 160 standard dogs.

Based on hair and coat samples, the researchers found higher levels of the Can f 1 allergen in the hypoallergenic group, with Poodles and Labradoodles leading the pack.

While floor dust from the homes of Labradoodle owners contained the lowest level of allergen, it's possible that allergic pet owners are more diligent with the vacuum cleaner, the Dutch team speculates. And the researchers found no differences in allergen levels in the air.

They didn't measure allergies in the pet owners, but they say the allergen levels they found in homes with "hypoallergenic" dogs were high enough to trigger allergic reactions and asthma.

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