During air quality inspections we often find evidence of cats, dogs, mice, birds, and other animals who have been frequently present in a home even though the human occupants didn’t know it – either because the animal was the pet of a prior owner (chinchilla hair in photo below left) or a nocturnal visitor to the food bins (mouse hair in photo below right).
When we find evidence of the past presence of animals in a building, additional cleaning might be needed to reduce their remaining allergenic particles.
Animal dander in homes is a common source of respiratory irritants associated with asthma and allergies. Animal dander, hair, and other organic debris in homes can also result in a significant increase in the level of dust mites, mite fecals, and other allergenic insect parts and fragments. These two lab photos of human skin cells, animal skin cells (dander), and other debris are typical of a home where pets have been resident. The left photo includes a feather barbule fragment and insect fecals. The right photo shows skin cells and animal dander.