Cat Allergy Management And Treatment
Avoidance is the best way to manage a cat allergy. If you have a cat and are allergic to cats, consider removing the cat from the home.
If you have a cat but dont want to find it a new home, or if your family wants a cat even though someone in the household is allergic, here are some strategies that may help keep symptoms at bay:
- Keep the cat out of your bedroom and restrict it to only a few rooms. Be advised that keeping the cat in only one room will not limit the allergens to that room.
- Dont pet, hug or kiss the cat if you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
- High-efficiency particulate air cleaners run continuously in a bedroom or living room can reduce allergen levels over time.
- Regular use of a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum can reduce allergen levels.
- Giving your cat a bath at least once a week can reduce airborne cat allergen.
Treatments for cat allergy vary, depending on the symptoms.
Your allergist can help determine what treatment would be best to treat your cat allergy. Nasal symptoms often are treated with steroid nasal sprays, oral antihistamines or other oral medications. Eye symptoms are often treated with antihistamine eyedrops. Respiratory or asthma symptoms can be treated with inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators to either prevent or relieve respiratory symptoms.
Allergy shots are an effective treatment of allergies by building tolerance over time through gradually injecting increasing doses of an allergen.
How Do Pet Allergens Affect Health
Some people are allergic to pets or have asthma that is triggered by pet allergens. For these individuals, breathing animal allergens can make respiratory symptoms worse and lead to a decline in the ability of the lungs to function. The concentrations of an allergen required to cause a reaction vary greatly by individual. 1
People with allergies may experience upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms including congestion, sneezing, runny nose, chest tightness and wheezing. Other symptoms are itching, watery eyes, and eczema or rashes. 1
Get Rid Of Rugs And Carpets
Even with regular vacuuming, rugs and carpets can harbor cat dander and contribute to allergy attacks. Rolling up rugs can be an immediate solution, and replacing carpets with options like hardwood, laminate or tile will cut down on the amount of dander in your home more permanently. If youre attached to soft flooring, try sticking to area rugs and having them cleaned on a regular basis. That way cat dander wont have an opportunity to build up too much in the carpet fibers.
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Allergy Skin Prick Test
This test is performed in your doctors office so they can observe any reactions.
Using a clean needle, your doctor will prick your skins surface , and deposit a tiny amount of the allergen. Youll likely be tested for several allergens at the same time. Youll also be skin pricked with a control solution that has no allergens. Your doctor may number each prick to identify the allergen.
In about 15 to 20 minutes, the skin prick site may become red or swollen. This reaction confirms an allergy to that substance. A positive cat allergy will usually cause a red, itchy bump to the cat allergen. These unpleasant effects generally go away 30 minutes after the test.
Can A Dog Be Allergic To Cats
Reviewed for accuracy on May 6, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM
You already know that people can be allergic to cats. Exposure to cat dander creates a host of discomforting symptoms for humans, from sneezing and itchiness to wheezing and coughing. But can your dog be allergic to cats as well?
Yes, dogs can actually be allergic to cats, and they can even suffer from many of the same symptoms as allergic humans do. But there are steps you can take to help manage your dogs allergies so that your pets can happily coexist.
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Visit Friends With Cats
Choose to visit a friend with an outgoing cat to allow you to get up close and personal with a feline but on a limited basis. Ask your friend to choose a time when the cat is fed, comfortable, and relaxed. Ask your friend permission to use an allergy relief spray or wipes on the cat if necessary while youre visiting.
Use your allergy medication half an hour before the arranged time. When you arrive, let the cat set the pace. You may be greeted by being sniffed at your feet and legs at first. You can dangle your hand to see if the cat rubs up against it, which can indicate petting is acceptable. If your allergies are still under control, you might allow the cat to jump onto your lap. Make your visit about 15 minutes at the most to keep both you and the cat comfortable.
In another week or two, visit again with the same cat, and stay longer, up to half an hour. Begin to branch out and visit other friends with cats.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Allergic To Litter
If you have a cat, you need a litter tray to ensure that your cats excrement and urine are dealt with hygienically. While litter trays can be unsightly and smelly, they can also cause litter allergies in cats. An allergic reaction can be serious, leaving your cat feeling sick and uncomfortable.
If youre using a dusty or fragranced cat litter, this will be whats behind your cats litter allergy. An allergy can lead to sores, rashes, and acne, while other cats may experience eye and respiratory issues. Litter dust occurs when poured into a tray or when a cat digs through its litter to hide its poop and pee.
Figuring out the cause of your cats litter allergy is the most important step. Experimenting with different litter types is one of the most effective ways to find out which brand, or ingredient, is causing an allergic response.
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Owning A Cat When You Have Allergies
Before deciding you cannot have a cat, check with your doctor first and pinpoint exactly what causes your allergy.
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If you or someone you live with is allergic to cats, you may think that you can never own one however, this is far from the truth. The benefits of having a pet usually outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies for many people. You’d be surprised to know how many people, with non-life-threatening allergies, live with pets despite having allergies to them! There are several ways to manage your cat allergies and if you, like many other people, prefer not to be tied down to a regimen of drugs and sprays, it is still possible to own your very own furry companion.
Any and all cats and dogs may cause reactions for people who are allergic to animals. Cats tend to cause more reactions than dogs for allergic people, although some people are more sensitive to dogs than cats. Contrary to popular belief, there are no “non-allergenic” breeds of dogs or cats even hairless breeds may cause symptoms.
What Are The Signs Of Allergies In Cats
There are a number of signs of allergies in cats. In addition to extreme itchiness and skin problems, your cat may show the following symptoms:
- Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Paw chewing or swollen, sensitive paws
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats, and a cat with a flea allergy will experience intense itching, even from just one bite. The intense itching and chewing often lead to hair loss and open sores or scabs, which results in a secondary bacterial infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.
Inhalant allergy or atopy is sometimes referred to as seasonal allergies. Humans allergic to inhalants experience respiratory problems. In cats, the primary sign of atopy is severe, generalized itching.
Food allergies have become the second most common allergy in cats, and they typically develop in response to the protein in a food. Signs of a food allergy include itching, digestive issues, and respiratory distress.
In the rare case of a contact allergy, a cats skin will be irritated and itchy at the points where the skin has had contact with the allergen. The itch is localized as opposed to the generalized itching with an inhalant allergy.
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What Is Pet Dander
Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.
Additional allergy triggers or allergens come from sources other than the animal’s skin. Proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people. The most common allergies are caused by the Fel d I protein from cats and the Can f I and Can f II proteins from dogs. Dried saliva containing allergens may flake off from an animal’s fur and become airborne, where it is inhaled by the allergic person. Dust from dried feces can be suspended in the same way. 1
What Is An Allergy
Your immune systemâs job is to protect you from bacteria and viruses. If you have allergies, though, part of your immune system works too hard. It may attack harmless substances — like cat dander or pollen — in your nose, lungs, eyes, and under your skin.
When your body meets an allergen, it makes chemicals called IgE antibodies. They cause the release of chemicals like histamine, which cause swelling and inflammation. This creates familiar symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing as your body tries to remove the allergen.
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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.
What If Fidos Flaky
When it comes to being allergenic, a dog’s individual features matter more than its breed. For example, canines with dandruff give off more allergens. Breeds more likely to have hereditary dandruff problems include cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, basset hounds, West Highland white terriers, dachshunds, Labrador and golden retrievers , and German shepherds.
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How Do Antihistamines Work For Cat Allergies
In people with a cat allergy, when the body detects the Fel d 1 protein it produces histamine. This is normally only released when the body detects something harmful, such as an infection, but if you are allergic to cats then the usually harmless Fel d 1 protein can be mistaken for a threat.
To try to protect your body from the allergen, the histamine causes your blood vessels to expand and your skin to swell, which results in the typical allergy symptoms of itchy eyes, a running or blocked nose and sneezing.
Antihistamines are a type of medication that block the receptors in your cells that histamine binds to, preventing your symptoms before they occur or reducing their severity.
To find out more about antihistamines, visit the NHS website.
Consider Medications For You
Talk to your doctor or allergist about medications to help relieve your allergy symptoms. Make sure to confirm with your doctor the nature of your allergy if you react to saliva more than dander, for example, this knowledge can help you mitigate the problem! If youve only recently developed symptoms, it may be worth making an appointment just to confirm youre reacting to your cat and not to something else entirely. Having or developing allergies can be challenging and uncomfortable, especially when its your cat causing the reaction. Trying these tactics will help you figure out how to care for you, your cat and your home so you can have many happy years together.
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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.
How Do Vets Test For Cat Food Allergies
To determine whether your cat has a food allergy, your vet will usually try a few different tests. The most common way to find out whats causing the problem for your cat is to start with an exclusion dietary trial. This is where you start feeding your kitty a pretty bland hypoallergenic diet. These foods are specially made with proteins so small that they very rarely cause any kind of reaction.
Gradually, you can begin to introduce new bits of food and ingredients into the diet and keep an eye on how your kitty responds. Usually, the exclusion diet will last for a fixed period of time, which your vet will suggest based on the symptoms your cat is displaying. If your cat has skin issues, for instance, they might continue using the restricted diet for about 12 weeks. Gastro problems usually clear up a bit faster.
The key to success with the exclusion diet treatment is making sure that your kitty doesnt eat anything other than the food suggested by the vet. This includes treats and tidbits from your table no matter how much you want to keep your cat happy. Respond to your vet with insights into how your kitty has been while eating the newly recommended food.
Remember, like with most health-related tests for your kitty, its important to be as honest as possible about the results with your vet. This includes letting your vet know if your cat refuses to eat the food you give them or tries to pull other food out of the trash.
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Which Animals Pose The Biggest Problems
Cats are kept as pets in 27 percent of homes in the United States and dogs are found in 32 percent. However, roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs. Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear. 1
Animals with fur may be more likely to carry allergens from other sources, like dust, but the fur itself is generally not a trigger. For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat. 1
How Cat Allergies Are Diagnosed
There are two ways to test for any allergy, including to cats: skin testing and blood tests. There are two types of skin allergy tests. A skin prick test and an intradermal skin test. Both tests give fast results and tend to cost less than blood tests.
Certain medications can interfere with skin testing, so talk to your doctor about which test is best for you. Skin testing is usually done by an allergist due to the possibility of severe reactions during testing.
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Cat Allergy Tips For Parents
Growing up in London, England, we had a cat, as well as other animals including rabbits, chicken and one tortoise. Since then, we have carried on the tradition with two to three cats at any given time. You can imagine my surprise when my daughter moved away from home only to find out that she is highly allergic to cats!