Allergy to mites in animals
Mites are small arthropods, smaller than 0.3mm in size, of the ticks and spiders family. Specifically, the mites which cause most allergies are the dust mites (Dermatophagus pteronlyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae) and the storage mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Lepidoglyphus destructor and Acarus siro).
Dust mites owe their name to their favourite source of food being skin scales (dermato-skin, phagos-eat, "skin eaters"). Their normal living conditions are temperatures of 20ºC and a relative humidity higher than 70%. They are found in pillows, mattresses and carpets in houses. The concentration of mites in houses increases when the seasons change (spring, autumn) with rains and gentle temperatures, and usually decrease during the summer (dry, hot climate) and winter months (cold and dry climate). The allergens in the mites which most often cause allergies are both the mite's body and its faeces.
Storage mites are very common in dry stored foods (dry feed, cereals, pulses, seeds, fruits) and especially in foods high in fat and proteins. Inside houses they are mostly found in the kitchen and the bathroom, as the environmental humidity is good for them.