New puppy.. asthma triggered from allergy or something else.. narrowing throat passageways no lung sounds?

We got a new puppy (golden doodle mini or should be at least) back mid dec.. i started off having issues with a random cough initially.. (and by the same token increased my metoprolol med by 25mg around the same time, most likely unrelated but still)..

I tried various combinations of air purifiers (hepa) and over time to this point in the last 10 days or so, things have gotten quite bad (and despite limiting her to the first floor of our 2 story house). Right now i'm running 3 units, one in the bedroom and 2 downstairs all running 24/7 on high.

Throughout the day i have a whistling / wheezing that can be heard only at the end of an exhale and often i feel compressed like i'm not getting enough air when this goes on.. I "think" it eases up in the day but by middle of the night its worse, the wheeze sound. Often if i do ventolin, it will ease up in 30 mins and ill even bring up some mucus or clear it with coughing.. but the wheeze never fully goes away with the inhalers and meds at this point.

Been to multiple drs, had an xray of my lung was clear (mid day xray).. had them listen to my lungs during this "wheeze".. nothing was heard and not even when placed on the neck.. he felt it could be from the dog and the narrowing of throat passageways but didnt have much else to say.

I've tried singulair (coincidentally) for the last 15 days to try to relieve, no success so far.. did flovent for 5 days no real change.. did a breathing test which did show reduced flow in the large and small bronchial tubes (or me just not breathing hard enough during the test?).

Now the attempt is at using Symbicort 2x a day.. even if this works i still wish i knew for sure if it was the dog allergy or the heart med increase or something else (singulair issue? though dr doesnt seem to think so)..

Has anyone ever had this upper register/throat wheeze occur over time due to exposure to an allergen?

I'm worried it could get even worse to the point of a 911 call, just searching for answers before rehoming which is looking soon unfortunately.

Thanks in advance for any insight..



Comments 11

  • Shea

    Hi MarkM75, I personally have had a very bad story involving trying to live eith oets I was allergic to, and it starts a lot like your story. My primary started me on Singulair. My allergy turned into bad asthma-like symptoms. I tried everything to reduce dander. Really long-story-short, a year later I was in the hospital thinking I was having an asthma attack, turns out it was a HEART ATTACK at age 28 from allergic eosinophils (blood cells that are produced in the body from inflammation caused by chronic allergen-exposure — in my case to dog and cat dander), and I was diagnosed then with a severe chronic allergic disease called churg-strauss syndrome where these eosinophils find ways to infiltrate ones organs and I had to be treated with really high dose prednisone and a low dose of a chemo-therapy medication and barely lived to tell the tale. Zoom forward and get real specialists– the pulmonologist says this disease is now being correlated with Singulair use although causation has not been proven. I was disabled by this disease– like social security approved disabled and I still deal with it today and am on 20mgs prednisone and super allergic to animal dander now. 

    And yes super allergic to "hypoallergenic" dogs like labradoodles too. 

    I kick myself for not breaking up with the father of my son sooner and moving out of that house with the animals– he wouldnt find homes for the animals and belittled my allergy. I also am angry my primary care doctor didnt refer me to an allergist or pulmonologist or immunologist sooner or told me about my extremely high eosinophil level– which is shown on a regular CBC lab test!

    So yeah– dander allergies can be a huge deal especially when you live with the animal. Dander studies have shown even secondhand exposure (like dander carried into a school classroom by cat owners) causes worsening prognosis and more need for medications. And direct exposure is do much worse and imposdible to keep isolated in one room in a house because it gets on everything constantly. Dog dander is more airborne, cat dander is stickier but both are difficult to manage and medications are only covering up symptims. In fact, I never would have moved in with a person who owned animals to begin with if the medications hadnt seemed to work so well by covering up symptoms for a year. But they were not stopping the allergy and internal inflammation built up over time. 

    I moved out, it was hard, I had just had a baby and couldnt work due to the health issues,  broke up with that person (my baby's father) who wouldnt rehome the pets even after I got so sick and after hearing from my doctor. My son was born with dander allergies, and I had to do a lot of talking with his allergust and he isnt to regularly visit in homes with dander either. My advice is to rehome, my parents actually rehomed their dog with another relative when I had to live there for a while after the initial health crisis. I have lizards as pets now in my new home that I am not allergic to and they are nice, easy to handle desert lizards. 

    So, yeah, that probably is a lot to take in but just wanted you to be informed of what happened to me in hopes that nothing like it will happen to you because you will have been forwarned that chronic exposure to allergens is no good!

  • K8sMom2002

    MarkM75, it sounds like you have really been trying to work through this! It can be hard to figure out which of two changes could be the issue.

    AAFA has a really great resource on — dander can be sticky and hard to remove from a home, and it can circulate throughout a house.

    Have you spoken to your cardiologist about your asthma and your metoprolol? I ask because of information on the :

    Patients with bronchospastic disease, should in general, not receive beta-blockers, including Lopressor. Because of its relative beta1 selectivity, however, Lopressor may be used in patients with bronchospastic disease who do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, other antihypertensive treatment. Because beta1 selectivity is not absolute use the lowest possible dose of Lopressor and consider administering Lopressor in smaller doses three times daily, instead of larger doses two times daily, to avoid the higher plasma levels associated with the longer dosing interval (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Bronchodilators, including beta2 agonists, should be readily available or administered concomitantly.

  • Lisa123

    Man I’m sorry you have to deal with this and for Shea what a tough road you had to take!

    we have a 1 year old and had to give up our dog- it affected her badly- hives, eczema and breathing if got to her mouth; other dogs have my son asthma attack’s sending him to the hospital; and me migraines and vomiting and horrible allergies.  I’m really sorry but it’s probbaly what you need to do.  

    You must protect your health.  Pet allergies are real and dangerous for some people.  

  • dory2005

    I developed a severe allergy to dander when we had a dog, and it broke my heart when the pulmo said we really shouldn't keep her. But once we were pet free, it helped my asthma quite a bit. Also, I was highly allergic to my parents' dog (she passed away last year), so I couldn't go over to their house at all for several years. Recently, I was able to go back to their house since they have had the carpet cleaned, and I did OK, but their dog died about a year ago, and they did a deep clean of the carpet, furniture, etc. 

    About the beta-blocker: I'm on a calcium channel blocker because my pulmo said it would be disastrous for me to be on a beta blocker. It can trigger a severe, life threatening asthma episode. My cardio didn't seem to understand at first how severe my asthma is, but after talking to my pulmo, he agreed and said it wouldn't be safe for me. I'd definitely talk to your pulmo about the beta-blocker. 

  • Shea

    I also had a bad reaction to beta-blocker with my asthma– sent me to the ER on one occasion, and trting lower doses nade my fatigue worse and asthma worse so… I only take Norvasc right now (calcium-channel blocker).

  • markm75
    Shea posted:

    I also had a bad reaction to beta-blocker with my asthma– sent me to the ER on one occasion, and trting lower doses nade my fatigue worse and asthma worse so… I only take Norvasc right now (calcium-channel blocker).

    Thanks for the input all and yes Shea i did in fact see your story elsewhere (very sorry you had to go through all that, that is really rough) and even asked my allergist about that risk with singulair.. he claimed it shouldnt be an issue that other cases (maybe not yours though) had the syndrome when taking singulair and didnt know it.. or i guess thats the dr way of blowing it off.. who knows.. but i'm being careful and probably wont continue taking it.. its been about 16 days and i dont think its helped at all.. they said give it up to 1 month.  

    Yeah my heart doctor just mentioned switching to a calcium channel blocker (forget which one).. since previously she increased it because i thought crohn's related desipramine caused rapid beats above 130.. i've opted to wait.. i dropped back to 50mg from 75mg.. so yes too many variables at once but i'm trying this to see if the beats pick up and maybe if the asthma decreases and after this test switch to the calcium one

    I've read a few articles about how even if you take meds and feel fine its not good to have the allergen in your system.. there was no known long term studies though on the few i read..

    take for instance right now.. i suddenly am feeling better..

    yesterday my wife used the steam vac cleaned whole house and mopped kitchen (where our puppy stays at night near or in her cage).. though earlier in day i started the Symbicort 80/4.5 inhaler and the dr gave me a 1 time dose of prednisone.. (strangely before leaving work after nearly 9 hours away i started the upper throat wheeze again but it mostly vanished once home).. at home i sat in the living room and felt ok for 2-3 hours, mostly wheeze free/no constrictions in breathing.. then sat in the kitchen later on and the feeling returned, short of breath and the upper register wheeze, to a degree.. did the new inhaler again and slept all night fine..

    Now the next day i woke up with congestion that i was able to free up (not so much on the upper register wheeze or short of breath though).. i decided to do the new inhaler (supposed to be 2x a day anyway) and also just now took allegra.. i'm feeling quite good.. too many variables here, not sure what helped

    I just feel like, feeling better aside, that this has gotten steadily worse over the days. i wondered if it could get any worse through constant exposure, i guess it could but my allergist said probably not. 

    It also still puzzles me how 3 purifiers arent making a difference, or if the original "pet" purifier i returned was actually doing the best (returned it to try a few cheaper models with the same stats basically).  Early on i was much better with all this.

    And, i've stayed at a relatives house in the past (year ago) with a labrador (not a golden doodle though) for a whole week.. had minor throat irritation but never a cough or upper airway wheeze.  And then the ex wife's dog part poodle, lived with it for years, never an issue (all prior to crohn's and biologics though).

    So if all these variables tame up and i find that just doing symbicort once or twice a day keeps me normal.. i guess ill have a dilemma to decide if its still "safe".. but then again by 3 months later our dogs coat might become more poodle like and maybe i could back off of all meds (not sure on the odds of this).. meantime a family member said they would take her if even for a few weeks to see how i am or keep her permanently.. i wish it was 3 months later though.

  • Shea

    I know it seems I am an unusual case because of my disease. Singulair's defense is that it could be tgese people had the disease prior to taking singulair– I had no asthma and only mild allergies to dogs and severe to cats (but neither as severe as now) before moving in with cats and a dog. This disease used to be rare and is now becoming more common and more are showing up with people who take singulair. It is likely related to something about that medication– possibly that more people are using it to live with known allergens in high concentrations– sonething I honestly couldnt have done with my cat allergy before starting it (my doctor recommended it FOR the reason if me asking about living with cats and dogs– After I got sick of course every doctor and specialist basically mocked me and the doctor who prescribed me Singulair, saying you shouldnt have taken it to live with pets you are allergic to. Now, you can dig up and fibd the main asthma and allergies organizations state that you shouldnt, but the mininformation all over says stuff because most people dont want to hear that they cant do something– but none of the alternatives are scientifucally shown to significantly reduce dander ti a point that it actually matters for an allergic or allergic/asthmatic individual in their symptoms or medications, inluding things like having air purifiers or bathing the dog every week– it will lower dander concentrations to a degree but not a degree that matters because the aninal us constantly producing it. More is obviously worse but less isnt enough less to matter.

    The only thing that made sense to me was allergy shots before living with a pet to retrain your immune system– because they start with such a small amount if dander that produces no reaction at all in the immune system and slowly builds it more and as it does this the immune system does not react. It works for a lot of people but needs to be done clinically and right, because going too much dander and the body reacting with things showing it is trying to remove dander like coughing sneezing watering itching and attacking tissues then trying to just take things that stop each symptom is not a good way and I cannot believe so many doctors and websites can even get away with this logic. 

    My brother is allergic to cats and lives with them. He knows what hapoened to me but had his cats first. He never had asthma before the cats, now he does, and he gets bronchitis more often and needs inhalers to breathe but he is too stubborn to rehone them. Whatever. It doesn't always get as bad as what hapoened to me, but still that is stupid to me BUT that is his choice and he doesnt have a kid yet maybe if he had a kid who needed him hed take better care of himself. My other brothers girlfriend loves her cat and he gets sick when he visits there but doesnt live eith her fulltime (yet). I just hate watching this happen to people its like PTSD for me or something– I feel a strong duty to warn because I never had one, but I get that stories end differently and people choose different ways.

  • markm75

    Update here, so unfortunately at least for now.. we've sent our dog to my brother in laws at least for a little while or maybe till she is 4-5 months old to see if her coat changes..

    But.. i've changed one variable at a time so far and already i'm improved which has me wondering.

    I opted to just clean the kitchen area, mopped it good and entire area, which is where she spends night time and sometimes peed/or pood in general there during the training phase so far..

    I've left the air units running.. i havent vacuum the carpets (which turned out the vac had a clog and probably for weeks on the roller unit).. im still taking the singulair.

    In the hours after she left and after cleaning the kitchen area thoroughly i felt fairly normal.. barely that "wheeze".. and up till bed time.

    I woke up middle of the night though, with the feeling of short of breath, so opted to do the inhaler, though i think this was more mental and not an issue.  In the AM no real coughing this time, barely any congestion.

    I know dander takes months to dissipate and given this change, it seems unlikely it was just taking her out of the house that has so far cured things.. i think it might have just been the kitchen area (pee/urine reaction) this whole time, maybe not i dont know.  In a few months we will likely try again, hopefully at that point fully trained.

  • K8sMom2002
    markm75 posted:

    But.. i've changed one variable at a time so far and already i'm improved which has me wondering.

    I opted to just clean the kitchen area, mopped it good and entire area, which is where she spends night time and sometimes peed/or pood in general there during the training phase so far..

    In the hours after she left and after cleaning the kitchen area thoroughly i felt fairly normal.. barely that "wheeze".. and up till bed time.

    So glad you're breathing better … hugs on re-homing your pet — it's a tough decision, but it sounds like it may have been the right one for right now.

    Since pet allergy is caused by a reaction to a protein found in skin, saliva, urine and feces as well as dander (the dead skin cells of an animal), it makes sense that a trouble spot for you was the kitchen, where the puppy was staying. 

    And I'm glad you're following up with your doc on the medication!

  • Shea

    I agree with Cynthia that it sounds like it was the right choice. Dog dander is more airbourne than cat dander, so it does nake sense that just the dog not being present would have a marked improvement, and as the dander clears from the home it will likely get even better. I know it is tough to rehome a pet. Breathing well and your long term health is so worth it.

  • Melissa G

    Mark, how are you doing since the puppy went to live with your brother-in-law? Are your symptoms better managed?