What are common allergies in cats
It’s not fully understood why some people become oversensitive to allergens, although you’re more likely to develop an allergy if there’s a history of allergies in your family.
If this is the case, you’re said to be «atopic», or to own «atopy». People who are atopic have a genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions.
Their increased immune response to allergens results in increased production of IgE antibodies.
Environmental factors may also frolic a part. Studies own shown certain things may increase the chance of a kid developing allergies, such as growing up in a home where people smoke and being exposed to dust mites at a young age.
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe Easy—You Can Still Hold Your Animal Companion!
Although numerous people own discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals.
The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situations—and their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose; sneezing; coughing; scratchy or sore throat; itchy skin, and most serious of every, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander (scales of ancient skin that are constantly shed by an animal), saliva, urine and sebaceous cells.
Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.
Once the diagnosis of a pet allergy is made, a physician will often recommend eliminating the companion animal from the surroundings.
Heartbreaking? Yes. Absolutely necessary? Not always. Hold in mind that most people are allergic to several things besides pets, such as dust mites, molds and pollens, every of which can be found in the home. Allergic symptoms result from the entire cumulative allergen load. That means that if you eliminate some of the other allergens, you may not own to get rid of your pet. (Conversely, should you decide to remove your pet from your home, this may not immediately solve your problems.) You must also be prepared to invest the time and effort needed to decontaminate your home environment, limit future exposure to allergens and discover a physician who will work with you.
Read on for helpful tips:
Improving the Immediate Environment
- Dust regularly. Wiping below the walls will also cut below on allergens.
- Limit fabrics. Allergens collect in rugs, drapes and upholstery, so do your best to limit or eliminate them from your home. If you select to hold some fabrics, steam-clean them regularly. Cotton-covered furniture is the smartest choice, and washable blinds or shades make excellent window treatments.
You can also cover your furniture with sheets or blankets which you can remove and wash regularly.
- Create an allergen-free room. A bedroom is often the best and most practical choice. By preventing your pet from entering this room, you can ensure at least eight hours of liberty from allergens every night. It’s a excellent thought to use hypoallergenic bedding and pillow materials.
- Use anti-allergen room sprays. These sprays deactivate allergens, rendering them harmless.
Enquire your allergist for a product recommendation.
- Install an air purifier fitted with a HEPA filter. Our modern, energy-efficient homes lock in air that is loaded with allergens, so it’s brilliant to let in some unused air daily.
- Vacuum frequently using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter or a disposable electrostatic bag.
Other kinds of bags will permit allergens to blow back out of the vacuum.
- Clean the litter box frequently. Use low-dust, perfume-free filler. Clumping litter is a excellent choice.
- Invest in washable pet bedding and cages that can be cleaned often and easily.
Decontaminating Your Pet
- Note any symptoms of dermatitis exhibited by your companion animal. Dermatitis often leads to accelerated skin and fur shedding, which will up your allergen exposure.
- Bathe your pet at least once a week. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo that won’t dry out his skin.
Bathing works to wash off the allergens that accumulate in an animal’s fur.
- Wipe your pet with a product formulated to prevent dander from building up and flaking off into the environment. Enquire your veterinarian to propose one that is safe to use on animals who groom themselves.
- Brush or comb your pet frequently. It’s best to do this outdoors, if possible. (The ASPCA does not recommend keeping cats outdoors, so make certain your feline is leashed if you take him outside.)
Taking Care of Yourself
- Designate a “pet outfit” from among your most easily washed clothes.
Wear it when playing or cuddling with your companion, and you’ll leave other clothing uncontaminated.
- If possible, own someone other than yourself do the housecleaning, litter box work and pet washing, wiping and brushing. If you must clean the home or change the litter, be certain to wear a dust mask.
- Wash your hands after handling your companion animal and before touching your face. The areas around your nose and eyes are particularly sensitive to allergens.
- Find a physician, preferably an allergy specialist, who will make certain that your pet is the cause of your allergies and will assist alleviate your symptoms.
Medications and immunotherapy (desensitizing shots) can often permit you and your companion animal to remain together happily ever after.
Like people, our feline friends can develop allergies. This happens when their immune systems become sensitive to substances present in their surroundings.
Known as allergens, these irritating substances may not annoy you or other animals in your home, but as your cat’s body tries to get rid of the offending substances, he might show every kinds of symptoms.
Because there is such a wide variety of allergens, cat allergies are generally divided into 3 main categories: flea allergy, environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis), and food allergy. Flea allergy and environmental allergies – the ones that cause “hay fever” symptoms in humans – are the most common.
However, cats often own multiple allergies, so a thorough examination by your veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist is recommended.
Allergic kitties are often extremely itchy and own skin problems associated with allergic dermatitis. They also might exhibit some of these symptoms:
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
- Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing – especially if the cat has asthma
- Ear infections
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Paw chewing or swollen, sensitive paws
There are a variety of allergens that cause these symptoms:
- Perfumes and colognes
- Prescription drugs
- Pollen, grass, plants, mold, mildew, and other organic substances
- Household cleaning products
- Fleas or flea-control products
- Some cat litters
Gastrointestinal symptoms generally accompany a food allergy, so it is significant to avoid feeding your cat food to which he or she has a known allergy.
Also, allergies tend to be more common among outdoor cats because they are exposed to a wider range of potential allergens, especially from plants and organic matter.
If something appears to be making your kitty miserable, the best thing to do is pay your veterinarian a visit. He or she will initially do a finish history and physical exam for your cat to determine the source of the allergies.
If your vet suspects your cat has allergies, he might desire to act out blood tests or experiment with your kitty’s diet to narrow below the cause. Or, if your vet thinks your cat has a skin allergy, your cat might be referred to a veterinary dermatologist.
Treatment & Prevention
The best way to treat your cat’s allergies is to remove the allergens from his or her environment.
For instance, if your cat’s allergies are caused by fleas, using veterinarian-recommended flea and tick preventatives can eliminate the cause. If the problem is cat litter, substituting your normal litter for a dust-free alternative could do the trick. In fact, this might assist correct a bigger problem if your cat’s been missing his or her litter box.
When it comes to pollen, fungus, mold, or dust, bathing your cat a couple of times per week can assist alleviate itching.
Your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate shampoo to assist you avoid drying out your cat’s skin.
A diagnosis of food allergies may require you to provide your cat with a prescription diet or even home-cooked meals free of the offending allergens. Your veterinarian will provide recommendations as to the best course of action.
It is possible that your cat will need dietary supplements to ensure he gets every the vital nutrients he needs.
Medication is sometimes prescribed for cats in case certain allergens cannot be removed from the environment. Medications include:
- Cortisone, steroids or allergy injections for airborne pollens
- Antihistamines as a preventative
- Flea prevention products
How do allergies affect asthma?
If your cat is allergic to environmental pollutants, it may worsen your cat’s asthma. In this case, your vet may prescribe medications that open your cat’s airway for the short-term; endless term solutions include corticosteroids.
And here’s a excellent reminder: cigarette smoke is bad for your cat, especially if your cat has asthma.
If you own any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a specific food or substance.
Allergies are extremely common.
They’re thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives.
They’re particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a kid gets older, although many are lifelong.
Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control.
Severe reactions can occasionally happen, but these are uncommon.
Getting assist for allergies
See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.
If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
Find out more about allergy testing
How to manage an allergy
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you own a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients) – these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- antihistamines – these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can assist reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with extremely severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
Allergic rhinitis is triggered by breathing in tiny particles of allergens. The most common airborne allergens that cause rhinitis are dust mites, pollen and spores, and animal skin, urine and saliva.
Many people are allergic to animals, such as cats and dogs.
The allergic reaction is not caused by animal fur, but flakes of dead animal skin and their urine and saliva.
Dogs and cats are the most common animals to cause allergies, although some people are affected by horses, cattle, rabbits and rodents, such as guinea pigs and hamsters.
But being around dogs from an early age can assist protect against allergies, and there’s some evidence to propose that this might also be the case with cats.
House dust mites
House dust mites are tiny insects that feed on the dead flakes of human skin.
They can be found in mattresses, carpets, soft furniture, pillows and beds.
Rhinitis is not caused by the dust mites themselves, but by a chemical found in their excrement.
Dust mites are present every year circular, although their numbers tend to peak during the winter.
Pollen and spores
Tiny particles of pollen produced by trees and grasses can sometimes cause allergic rhinitis.
Most trees pollinate from early to mid-spring, whereas grasses pollinate at the finish of spring and beginning of summer.
Rhinitis can also be caused by spores produced by mould and fungi.
Some people are affected by allergens found in their work environment, such as wood dust, flour dust or latex.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- a runny or blocked nose
- a red, itchy rash
- red, itchy, watery eyes
- wheezing and coughing
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.
This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
The more common allergens include:
- animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
- mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
- dust mites
- grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
- food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
- insect bites and stings
- latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
- household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
Studies own shown that food allergies overall are the third most common type of feline allergy, outranked in frequency only by allergies to flea bites and inhaled substances.
Although itchy, irritating skin problems are the most common signs of this allergy, an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of affected cats also exhibit gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
The itching that typically signals the presence of a food allergy is caused by the eruption of little, pale, fluid-filled lumps on a cat’s skin, which form in response to the presence of an allergen, a substance to which the animal’s system is abnormally sensitive.
“The itching eruptions primarily affect the head and neck area,” says Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, a lecturer in clinical sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“They’re not always in that area, but often enough to serve as a clue that the source is a food allergy.”
In themselves, the aggravating lesions do not pose a significant health hazard. But the incessant scratching that they immediate may cause secondary skin wounds and a resulting vulnerability to severe bacterial infection. In addition, gastrointestinal problems stemming from a food allergy may own far-reaching systemic implications, including food avoidance that can result in health-compromising weight loss.
The most visible signs of a food allergy—the persistent scratching, the emergence of skin lesions, loss of hair, and a general deterioration of the coat—do not develop overnight. Instead, they tend to become evident and intensify over extended periods of time—months or even longer—as the animal’s immune system gradually mounts a defense against certain protein and carbohydrate molecules that are present in most standard cat foods. “We don’t know why this allergy develops,” says Dr. McDaniel. “A cat of any age can be affected, and it can happen in a cat that has been on the same diet for years.”
When the signs appear, a cat should get immediate veterinary care.
If a food allergy is indeed suspected, the specific allergen should be identified and removed from the animal’s diet.
After other potential causes of the skin eruptions, such as flea bites, are ruled out and a food allergy is identified as the probable cause of the clinical signs, the next challenge is to identify what precisely in the cat’s diet is responsible for the problem. This process will most effectively be carried out at home by the owner’s introduction of what is termed a “novel” diet, which is based on the fact that most feline food allergies are traceable to the protein or carbohydrate content of an affected animal’s normal fare.
The most commonly used protein sources in cat food include beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Since protein is a fundamental component of living cells and is necessary for the proper functioning of an organism, the novel diet must contain protein—but it must be derived from a source to which an affected cat has not been previously exposed, such as venison or kangaroo meat. Since the same holds true for carbohydrates, the vegetables that are frequently used in cat foods—wheat, barley, and corn, for instance—would be excluded from the novel diet and replaced by, for example, potato.
If a cat consumes nothing but the novel diet and water for a period of at least eight to 10 weeks, it is likely that the allergic signs will gradually vanish.
In that case, the owner can assume that the allergen was a component of the previous diet. And to identify the specific offending allergen, the owner subsequently reintroduces components of the cat’s original diet one by one and watches carefully for the reemergence of allergic symptoms. If the symptoms recur, they will probably do so within a week or two, in which case the owner will own confirmed at least one source of the allergy.
Through repeated systematic testing—and a lot of patience—it is possible for the owner to pinpoint every dietary ingredients to which a cat is allergic. Therapy, it follows, requires the permanent exclusion of these ingredients from the cat’s diet.
Oversensitive immune system
If you own allergic rhinitis, your natural defence against infection and illness (your immune system) will react to an allergen as if it were harmful.
If your immune system is oversensitive, it’ll react to allergens by producing antibodies to fight them off.
Antibodies are special proteins in the blood that are generally produced to fight viruses and infections.
Allergic reactions do not happen the first time you come into contact with an allergen.
The immune system has to recognise and «memorise» it before producing antibodies to fight it. This process is known as sensitisation.
After you develop sensitivity to an allergen, it’ll be detected by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) whenever it comes into contact with the inside of your nose and throat.
These antibodies cause cells to release a number of chemicals, including histamine, which can cause the inside layer of your nose (the mucous membrane) to become inflamed and produce too much mucus.
This is what causes the typical symptoms of sneezing and a blocked or runny nose.