How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Pet Allergy
Your doctor will diagnose a pet allergy based on your symptoms, physical examination, medical history and test results. Your doctor can use either a blood test or skin test to aid in the diagnosis. Allergy testing will show if there is allergic sensitization to the animal.
Some people find it hard to believe that they could be allergic to their pets. The doctor may tell you to stay out of the home where the pet lives to see if your symptoms go away. It does not help to remove the dog or cat, because the allergen will remain. Pet allergens still in the home can cause symptoms months after the animal is gone.
What Is Flea Allergy And How Is It Treated
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats.
In spite of common belief, a normal cat experiences only minor skin irritation in response to fleabites. On the other hand, a cat with flea allergies has a severe reaction to even a single fleabite. This reaction is an allergic response to proteins or antigens present in the flea’s saliva. When a flea bites a cat to consume a blood meal, some of its saliva is injected into the skin. Just one fleabite may cause such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. There will often be open sores or scabs on the skin, resulting in a secondary bacterial skin infection . The area most commonly involved is over the rump or base of the tail. In addition, the cat may have numerous small scabs around the head and neck. These scabs are often referred to as miliary dermatitis, a term that was coined because the scabs look like millet seeds .
“This reaction is an allergic response to proteins or antigens present in the flea’s saliva.”
Picking The Right Breed
To have the greatest success it’s important to choose the right breed of cat to own. Several breeds of cat have far fewer allergy inducing dander and skin than other breeds. Cats that are safer for owners include Cornish Rexes, LaPerm, Oriental Shorthairs, and Devon Rex. These breeds are safer to own than other breeds when you are allergic to dander, because their fur has fewer layers. This means that there is less dander and less fur to fly around, so people with dander allergies are able to tolerate them much better.
The Sphinx cat, which is nearly hairless is one of the most popular breeds for people with dander allergies, while the Siberian is less likely to cause allergies for people allergic to the glycoprotein found in the saliva and skin, because their saliva has very low levels of Fel D1. There are nohypoallergenic cats cats that have been bred to show distinctive hypoallergenic traits, such as a lack of the allergy causing protein or different fur. Be wary of breeders or pet shops who make this claim.
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You Experience Shortness Of Breath
Another annoying symptom of cat allergies is feeling like you just can’t catch your breath. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says, “Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens.”
What Are The Symptoms Of A Pet Allergy
Cat and dog allergens can land on the membranes that line the eyes and nose. Reactions include swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes. A pet scratch or lick can cause the skin area to become red. It is common to get itchy eyes after petting an animal then touching your eyes.
If allergen levels are low or sensitivity is minor, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the pet.
Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens. Sometimes highly sensitive people also get an intense rash on the face, neck and upper chest.
Contact with a cat can trigger a severe asthma episode in up to three in ten people with asthma. Cat allergies also can lead to chronic asthma.
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Busting The Biggest Myths About Cat Allergies
Are Cat allergies caused by cat hair?
Many people think that cat hair is the cause of their sneezing, but its actually whats on the hair thats the problem. Cats saliva contains a protein called Fel d 1, which sticks to their fur and skin when they clean themselves with their tongues. Its this protein that most cat allergy sufferers have a reaction to, and unfortunately its easily spread around your home when your cat naturally sheds their fur and dead skin cells.
Can you be allergic to some cats and not others?
Different cats produce varying levels of Fel d 1, so allergy sufferers may find that they are allergic to some cats and not others. In addition, everyones sensitivity level to this allergen is different. If you think youre allergic to cats but want one, try meeting some cats first, with the other members of your household too, to see if any of you have a reaction. Keep in mind that many people with an allergy to cats are also allergic to other things, such as pollen. Therefore, it might be a good idea to meet your potential new feline friend in the summer when your pollen symptoms are more pronounced, so you can best gauge how your allergies will be affected.
Which are the best cats for people with allergies?
Can Cat allergies go away with exposure?
Keeping A Cat Despite An Allergy: Aspects To Bear In Mind
The most effective way to overcome a cat allergy is to avoid the allergen in the first place, which means that the beloved pet has to go. However, for those whose heart breaks at the thought, taking the following measures at home can help but they must be adhered to consistently:
- keep the cat outside as much as possible
- dont let the cat into the bedroom
- wash hands after touching the cat
- clean clothes with a clothes roller
- use washable covers for upholstered furniture
- -emove rugs and dust collectors
- vacuum regularly. The best devices are those equipped with a level 11 HEPA filter and allergen-proof casing
- mop floors daily
Allergy sufferers will also require medication in the form of antihistamines, to be prescribed by a doctor. Asthma sufferers should have sprays to hand.
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What Are Allergies In Cats
Allergies are an abnormal immune response to a harmless stimulus. When your cats body contacts an allergen through their skin or after breathing it in, a chain reaction starts thats out of proportion to the danger your cat is ina hypersensitivity reaction.
Immune system sentinel cells release cell signals that cause itching, swelling, and redness.
Cats are not usually born with allergies- they develop as your cat ages. Cats are usually diagnosed between six months and three years, but as diagnosis is often difficult, cats have been diagnosed as old as 14 years!
Causes Of Cat Allergy
All allergies, of whatever kind, have one origin: a weak immune system. Therefore, cat allergy affects those who have immune systems that are more sensitive to substances released by felines, such as saliva, urine and dandruff.
Although many believe that cat fur is the main cause of cat allergy, this is not quite the case. It is the dandruff or dead skin of these animals that causes it. These act 5 times more than dust, as they stay longer in the air. That way, they are more likely to be inhaled.
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How Are Cat Allergies Diagnosed
Treatment for cat allergies depends on your cats unique situation. The vet will review your cats medical history and complete a physical exam.
Cat allergy testing is done with either a blood test or skin test. For a blood test, the vet will take a sample of the cats blood and send it to a lab for evaluation. For a skin test, small injections are given to the cat just under the skin. If your cat is allergic to a particular substance, a hive will often appear on their body.
Neither test is necessarily better than the other. At times veterinarians will complete both tests to gain a better understanding of your cat’s allergies. After the vet determines whats causing the allergic reaction, they can then prescribe the right solution.
How Can Vets Test For Cat Allergies
If your vet suspects your cat has an allergy to cat food they will probably recommend an exclusion diet trial. This is where you will temporarily feed your cat a bland, hypoallergenic diet, where the proteins in any ingredients are so small they cant cause an allergic reaction.
The exclusion diet will last a fixed period of time, depending on your cats symptoms. If, for example, theyre experiencing cat skin problems, they may be given a restricted diet for 4 to 12 weeks, sometimes longer. Gastrointestinal problems usually show signs of improvement in a shorter time frame.
While your cats on the exclusion diet they mustnt eat anything else and that means no titbits or treats from anyone in the family, no matter how tempting it may be! Outdoor cats are best kept indoors during the trial, as eating the odd mouse isnt going to help matters.
It takes patience and perseverance to stick to the diet and, the occasional slip up might happen. If it does, be honest with your vet, as they need to know all the facts, including any refusals to eat the bland diet.
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Tips For Helping An Allergic Person In A Home With A Cat
When a person is severely allergic to cats, it might be necessary to remove cats from the home to avoid severe asthmatic reactions or miserable chronic allergy symptoms. However, some allergic people can live comfortably with cats if certain precautions are taken. Here are some things that might help:
Remember, some people who are allergic to cats really can’t live with them, so check with your doctor and proceed with caution, but these tips might help you keep both your cat and your allergic loved one happy.
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Should I Keep My Cat If I’m Allergic To It
There is not a single correct answer to this question. But before you decide whether to keep your cat, you must make sure that it is your cat causing the allergic reaction. You don’t want to go through the stress and upset of rehoming a much loved pet if your allergic reaction is caused by dust mites.
You have to decide whether the severity of your allergic reaction means you need to re-home your cat.
In some cases, the symptom-easing tips included above are enough to make living with a cat sustainable, but other people find that their allergic reaction makes living with a cat unbearable.
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History Of The Sphynx Cat
While the ancient Aztecs bred hairless cats hundreds of years ago, the sphynx cat we know today is actually a Canadian breed originating in Toronto in 1966 from a random genetic mutation leading to hairlessness. Some breeders took a liking to the hairless cat and decided to breed individuals that produced consistently hairless offspring.
Originally called the Canadian hairless, the breed made its way to America and experts bred cats with this new-found hairless gene to create hairless sphynx cats. The sphynx cat continues to be a popular pet choice in North America and is gaining popularity in western Europe.
The sphynx breed was recognized by The International Cat Association in 2005, the Cat Fanciers Association in 2002, and several independent cat clubs in Europe, though standards for the breed all differ slightly.
Some purebred feline registries will not recognize the sphynx cat based on the idea that the breeds hairlessness is a genetic abnormality that could be harmful to individual cats health and longevity.
Tips For Helping House Guests With Dog Or Cat Allergies
If you know someone who has pet allergies, you know pet dander, saliva, or urine can be major irritants. From sniffly noses to watery eyes to persistent sneezing, entering a pet-friendly home when your body isnt so pet-friendly can be unpleasant.
When you and your furry friends are expecting guests in your home, there are some things you can do to make their visit better. Laura Ispas, MD, and the team at Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute in Leesburg, Virginia, offers these five tips for helping house guests with dog or cat allergies.
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Choosing A Hypoallergenic Cat For Your Family
Looking into cat breeds with minimal shedding and low grooming needs those that we consider hypoallergenic is a great place to start if you or someone in your family has allergies.
At the end of the day, however, all cats are different and its difficult to say for sure if a certain breed or a certain cat will or wont cause a reaction. Therefore, as youre trying to determine which cat is right for you, it can be helpful to talk to breeders, veterinarians, or other experts for more information and insight into your specific situation.
And, whichever feline you welcome into your family, learn how Pumpkin can help keep your cat healthy.
How Is Atopy Treated
Treatment depends largely on the length of the cat’s allergy season. It involves one of two approaches:
- The first approach involves the use of corticosteroids , as well as improving the health of the hair and skin coat using spot-ons, sprays and/or shampoos. Steroids will dramatically block the allergic reaction in most cases and bring about rapid improvement in the cat’s clinical signs. Steroids may be given orally or by injection, depending on the cat’s condition. If steroids are appropriate for your cat, you will be instructed in their proper use.
- Treatment with antihistamines and essential fatty acids is variable. Some cats respond well to a particular antihistamine , while others are ineffective. It is important to understand that it can take up to 7-10 days before antihistamines become effective, therefore they are often infective in sudden flare-ups. Likewise, essential fatty acids are similarly ineffective during sudden episodes because they require several weeks to take effect. Cats predisposed to atopic dermatitis should be tried on fatty acid supplements to see if they help lessen future flare-ups and clinical signs.
Any cat suspected of having atopic dermatitis should also be considered for a hypoallergenic food trial. Many cats with atopic dermatitis are also allergic to an ingredient in their food, making diagnosis and treatment more challenging. As previously mentioned, this food trial should last 8 to 12 weeks in most cases.
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What Can I Do With My Cat To Manage Allergy Symptoms
Aside from keeping your house clean and free of allergens, there are several things to be mindful of as you interact with your cat. These include:
- avoid being licked by your cat this will spread allergens to you and could make symptoms worse
- gently clean your cat with a damp cloth
- always groom your cat outside
- after giving them a stroke, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly
- feed your cat PURINA Pro Plan LiveClear to help reduce allergens in your home – more details below!
How To Manage Cat Allergy
The first thing they will tell you if you have a cat and are allergic to cats is to get rid of it. However, we, who know that your pets are part of the family, and that your love for them cannot even be described, will give you some advice not to make you make such an extreme gesture.
Everything will depend on the severity of the allergy you suffer from. However, if you follow these recommendations, things can improve.
- Dont let your cat enter your bedroom. Your room is one of the places where you spend the most time. Do not let your pet enter it to prevent it from contaminating the room with substances that can cause you allergies.
- Try not to come into contact with surfaces where dandruff can settle. For example, rugs or carpets. These fabrics attract these residues very easily, making your allergy worse if you inhale them.
- Use a mask. When dusting, use a mask to protect yourself from cat dandruff. You can also wear it when playing with your furry friend.
- Wash and brush your cat. Obviously, a person who is not allergic will have to do it for you. Brushing the animal twice a day will remove the dead skin and the problem will be resolved.
- If you have a boy, castrate him. As we told you before, neutered cats release fewer secretions so, to prevent the allergy from getting worse, its best to neuter him.
- Consult a veterinarian. There are treatments or medicines that can be given to your cat to help reduce dandruff and thus improve your health.
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Am I Allergic To Cat Hair
To help you understand how these new treatments would work, let me quickly break down cat allergies.
If you are amongst the 1 in 5 people worldwide who suffer a range of allergic symptoms when youre near a cator even near someone who has a catyour allergies are actually NOT caused by the animals fur.
This is why a short-haired cat likely invokes the same allergic response as a long-haired Persian cat.
The culprit behind your sneezing and wheezing and puffy eyes is a protein in a cats saliva and sebaceous glands . That glycoprotein is called Fel d1.
When cats groom themselves, some hairs break loose and become airborne. The offending protein in the salivathat Fel d1 allergenis carried on the hairs, so they become distribution vehicles for the potent allergen thats causing your inflammatory response.