Don’t jump to conclusions – your pet may not be the cause of your allergies
Today Online

You sneeze, it suffers
05:55 AM Jun 17, 2009
by Dr Tan Chek Wee

FOR years, he was the centre of attraction, a cute little puppy in a family of two elderly parents and an unmarried son.

Then one day the son got married and soon, a child came along.

The child developed a frequent running nose and she was taken to a general practitioner nearby. The GP asked if there were pets in the flat. When the dog was mentioned, the doctor right away identified the dog as the cause.

Since then, the dog has been barricaded in a small corner of the kitchen. His fur is now matted and his nails are long. There are bits of faeces stuck to the fur. He jumps and barks in excitement whenever there are visitors, but no one picks him up, pats him on the head, bathes him or takes him for walks.

I have offered to adopt the dog but the child’s mother said her husband might not be willing to part with it.

I feel sad and helpless.

I can only appeal to my fellow doctor colleagues: Please refer a child with suspected allergies to a specialist to be tested for allergies. Do not make sweeping statements.

Even if the child is laboratory-tested and is allergic to a pet, it is not necessary to so drastically isolate a pet.

There are humane ways to allow allergic people to coexist with a pet. As a last resort, find the pet a good home.

The pet is not guilty.

Today Online
Online Only – The heartless father
Updated 05:04 PM Jun 18, 2009
Letter from Joanna Yeo

I refer to “You sneeze, it suffers” from Dr Tan Chek Wee (June 17) and can’t help but feel utterly disgusted with the way the family has been treating their pet dog.

Sad to say, this behaviour is not uncommon. Many families abandon their dogs when they have newborns/children in the house. They fail to realise that dogs also have feelings and do not deserve to be treated in this horrible way. The most often-quoted reason why they choose to give away their dogs is the myth that dogs can cause allergies in children.

This is not accurate. Studies have shown that children who grow up with dogs tend to have a stronger immune system and will not be prone to so many allergies. It is shameful that the GP in the story, a doctor who’s supposed to know better, doesn’t seem to have this most basic of knowledge.

I am disgusted most with the husband in the report who had the pet dog before he got married and became a father. I cannot comprehend how someone can be so heartless to abandon a loyal friend who had been there for him all these years just because he now has another “object of desire” – a child of his own. I hope that he will not get abandoned by his child when he is old and becomes an “unwanted object”.


Today Online


05:55 AM Jun 17, 2009by Dr Tan Chek Wee


我 曾经想要领养他,但是孩子的母亲说其丈夫不一定捨得。我感到难过和无助。我只能请求同事:请让专家检查怀疑染上过敏病症的儿童。不要随便下定论。即使证实 儿童的过敏症是宠物造成,也不须要马上把宠物隔离开来。有许多人道的途径使有过敏症者能和他们的宠物一起生活。最后,才为它们另找一个理想的家。


Today Online Only –


Updated 05:04 PM Jun 18, 2009
Letter from Joanna Yeo

读了有关Dr Tan Chek Wee 於六月十七日发表的“你打喷嚏,它将受罪”,对於那个家庭对待他们狗儿的方法,感到非常厌恶。不幸的,这种行为很平常。许多家庭当家里有了新生的婴儿,或家中有小孩就把他们的狗儿遗弃。