How Is Flea Allergy Dermatitis Diagnosed
Clinical signs often give the first indication that your cat may suffer from FAD. Cats are such fastidious groomers that it is frequently impossible to find any evidence of fleas or flea dirt on the coat, especially if only one or two fleas are causing the problem. Intradermal allergy tests or specialized blood tests can confirm flea allergy in your cat.
What Are Allergies And How Do They Affect Cats
One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. An allergy occurs when the cat’s immune system overreacts or is hypersensitive to foreign substances called allergens. Allergens are simply foreign proteins that the body’s immune system tries to remove. Examples of allergens common in humans are pollens, dust, molds, and pet hair. Hypersensitivity in cats can manifest in one of three ways:
Diagnosing Allergies In Cats
It can be difficult to pinpoint what a cat is allergic to. Elimination diets and exclusion trials with different cleaning products, food dishes, beds, and medications may be necessary to discover what causes an allergic reaction if the trigger isn’t obvious. Some blood and skin tests are available for detecting certain allergens.
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Signs You May Be Allergic To Cats
Did you recently visit your cat lady friend and notice you felt a little itchy and sneezy afterward? Unfortunately, you may be allergic to the cute and cuddly pets. About 10 percent of people are thought to be allergic to our furry friends, and one in seven kids seem to have childhood allergies related to felines .
What causes an allergy to cats in the first place? Typically symptoms are caused by a reaction to the protein in cat dandruff, urine, and saliva. Most often allergies manifest as sneezing, itching, rash or hives, and a runny nose, but can also show as other symptoms like facial pressure, itchy roof of the mouth, frequent awakening, blue-colored skin under your eyes, and a cough. In severe cases, people can experience asthma and difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, the best way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid cats altogether. However, there are treatments and medications to help relieve the symptoms if necessary .
What Causes Food Allergies
A food allergy is a reaction by an individual animal to a particular substance in their food. This occurs when the bodiesâ response to normal food becomes âconfusedâ, causing abnormal reactions. Frequently the food has been part of the diet for a long time. We cannot stop this abnormal reaction so the only effective treatment is to avoid eating the food that causes the problem.
The most common causes of food allergy in the dog include beef, mutton, chicken, wheat, corn, soy, dairy foods and eggs. Occasionally chemicals such as preservatives, additives or food dyes are also the culprit.
The most common causes of food allergy in the cat include fish, beef and dairy products.
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Are You Allergic To Your Pet
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe EasyYou Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!
Although many people have 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 situationsand 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 all, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander , 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.
Improving the Immediate Environment
Taking Care of Yourself
Home Remedies For Cat Allergies In Humans
- Nasal irrigation. You can fill a neti pot or specially designed squeeze bottle with saline solution, and use this to flush mucus and irritants from your sinuses6.
- Clean your cat. If you are a cat owner, try bathing your cat yourself. If a friend or relative has a cat and you are regularly spending time around their home, politely suggest this as well. This may reduce their need to self-groom, and cut down the amount of saliva and Fel d 1 you are exposed to6.
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Are There Other Allergens I Could Be Sensitized To*
Some people with a cat allergy may also experience symptoms when exposed to dander, saliva, and urine from other mammalian animals, such as dogs, guinea pigs, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, and hamsters. In addition, ingestion of foods such as milk, eggs, beef, and pork may also elicit symptoms. This is called cross-reactivity and occurs when your bodys immune system identifies the proteins, or components, in different substances as being structurally similar or biologically related, thus triggering a response.1
Knowing the proteins, or components, within each allergen that are triggering your symptoms can help guide your management plan. With that in mind, and based on your symptom history, your healthcare provider may suggest something called a specific IgE component test, which can help reveal the risk profile you belong to. Results from this test can also help your healthcare provider decide if immunotherapy may reduce your symptoms.1Already have your specific IgE component test results?
Your component test results will include the name of the components . Your healthcare provider will likely review the results with you, but here youll find an at-a-glance breakdown you can use as a reference. Simply match the component names to the list below to see what they mean in terms of symptom management.1,8
rFel d 1
- Cat allergen immunotherapy may be an option.
- Indicates that symptoms may be caused specifically by cat.
rFel d 2, rFel d 4
rFel d 7
Is My Cat Sensitive To Foods
If your cat vomits frequently, has diarrhea, irritated skin, a poor coat condition or hair loss, then she may have a food allergy. The most common symptoms of a food allergy or food intolerance are digestive upset or skin irritation. If your cat has food allergies or food intolerance, you may notice some of the following signs:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Frequent scratching or hair loss
- Red, inflamed skin
- Poor growth in young dogs
- Coughing, wheezing and sneezing
IMPORTANT: Some symptoms of food allergies or food intolerance are similar to those of other serious conditions so consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Food Allergies In Cats
Genetic predisposition plays an important role in food allergies. Food allergies are also often related to atopy many cats react to both food ingredients and environmental allergens. See handout Inhalant Allergies in Cats for further information on atopy. Food allergies can develop in a cat any time after three months of age. Male and female cats are equally likely to develop food allergies.
What Foods Are Associated With Food Allergies
The foods typically associated with food allergies in cats include beef, fish, chicken, and dairy. A cat must have been exposed to a food ingredient before developing an allergy to it. An ingredient a cat has consumed for a long time can still cause an allergy at some point in the cats life. An animal cannot develop an allergy to a food that it has never been exposed to. Limited research has been performed in this area and there may be other allergens that have not yet been identified.
“An ingredient a cat has consumed for a long time can still cause an allergy at some point in the cats life.”
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Symptoms Of Atopic Dermatitis Can Include:
- Excessive scratching or licking: This is the most common symptom of atopic dermatitis in cats. A cat with atopic dermatitis with lick and/or scratch at their skin. Atopic dermatitis can be seasonal, so the itching and scratching may get worse at certain points of the year.
- Sores, scabs, and redness: Often times, the excessive scratching/licking will lead to sores, scabs, and redness on the cats skin.
- Inflammation: Inflammation is also a common side effect of excessive scratching or licking of the skin.
- Scaling or crust: A cat with scaling skin will have either small and/or large flakes of skin coming off of them. Since cats groom themselves, this can be hard to detect, so if you notice your cat is excessively scratching themselves, make sure you keep an eye out for scaling skin.
- Hair loss: The excessive scratching or licking can cause hair loss on both sides of a cats body and lead to even more irritation.
- Ear infections: Allergies can cause a cat ear infection because they weaken the immune system, which makes it easier for bacterial and fungal infections to happen.
- Rhinitis : Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages and develops as a result of atopic dermatitis in 15% of cats.
- Asthma: Atopic dermatitis can trigger asthma in your cat, which can include sneezing, coughing, and/or wheezing.
If I Want To Keep My Pet Can I Take Steps To Reduce My Pet Allergy
Animals become a part of your family. If your allergy is manageable, you may want to keep your pet. Here are some ways to manage pet allergens in your home:
Reduce your exposure to pet allergens.
- Keep your pet out of bedrooms or places people sleep. You spend about one-third to one-half of your time there. If you have a bedroom door, keep it closed.
- Keep pets off fabric furniture.
- Have someone without a pet allergy brush the pet outside to remove fur. Ask them to clean the litter box, bedding, or cage. If you do the grooming and cleaning, wear a face mask and gloves.
- Wipe your pet down with pet-friendly wipes or towels after it has been outside to remove pollen and urine.
- Change your clothes and shower after you spend time with an animal.
- Wash your hands and face after petting or touching the pet, its cage, or bedding.
Clean and reduce allergens in your home.
- Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning.
- Remove dust on hard surfaces often with a damp cloth. A damp or microfiber cloth will help keep the pet dander and fur from going back into the air.
- Wipe down walls, cabinets, and floorboards with a damp cloth.
- When possible, choose furniture and window coverings that are not made of fabric.
- Use slipcovers on fabric furniture or cover with blankets that can be washed weekly.
- Vacuum fabric furniture and carpets weekly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® vacuums meet AAFAs standards for vacuums.
Medical Review: June 2022 by John James, MD
Your Face Feels Swollen & Slightly Painful
Another sign of allergies that you might overlook is your face feeling kind of swollen, puffy, and sightly painful. This can happen when you’re very congested. Sometimes that congestion doesn’t come out as a sniffly nose instead it just causes head congestion that leaves you feeling swollen, foggy, and kind of odd.
Are There Hypoallergenic Pets
All dogs and cats can cause allergy symptoms. People with dog or cat allergies may tolerate some breeds more than others. People may think those breeds are hypoallergenic, but a truly non-allergic dog or cat does not exist.
You can be allergic to the animals skin cells, urine, and/or saliva. These have different proteins your immune system may react to. Research is looking into if there is a way to change the proteins so that they dont trigger symptoms.
When choosing a pet, consider fostering one first to see if you have an allergic reaction. Another option is to choose pets that do not have fur or feathers. Fish, snakes, or turtles are some good choices.
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What About Steroids Or Other Drugs
Corticosteroids can be used to block the allergic reaction and give immediate relief to a cat suffering from the intense itching of FAD. This is often a necessary part of treating flea allergy dermatitis, especially during the initial stages. Some cats respond best to long-acting injections and others to oral medication .
“Your veterinarian will discuss the pros and cons of the various treatments for FAD with you during the examination, and will recommend the safest and most effective treatment plan for your pet’s individual needs.”
While it is true that cats are more resistant to the negative side effects of steroids than humans and dogs, significant side effects of steroids can occur if not used properly . For this reason, the goal is to administer the smallest amount of steroid needed to keep the cat comfortable. For some patients, combining corticosteroids with antihistamines and/or omega-fatty acid supplements will provide the ideal form of relief. If your cat develops a secondary bacterial skin infection because of the scratching, antibiotics may also be necessary. Occasionally topical treatments with shampoos and sprays may be considered.
|Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM|
Sinus Discomfort And Sore Throat
A lot of pet allergies involve cold-like symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing. Cat allergies can cause post-nasal drip, which involves thick mucus sliding down your throat and creating a sore throat.
This symptom isnt constant, making people believe its caused by seasonal allergies or fighting off a cold. If you always feel like you have a sore throat and the start of a cold or sinus infection, it could be your cat.
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You Feel Exhausted All The Time
When you think of allergies, you probably think of sneezing, wheezing, and rashes. Those are very common symptoms, but they aren’t the only ones! Cat allergies can also cause fatigue, leaving you feeling exhausted all the time. In fact, Healthline reports that experts give this type of fatigue a specific name brain fog and its all to do with the inflammation.
People with allergies experience inflammation, ays from the Cleveland Clinic. That inflammation leads to a congested nose, disrupted sleep patterns and not getting good rest. Its an easy symptom to overlook, as fatigue can have a variety of causes, but if it’s combined with some of the below symptoms, it could be a sign of allergies.
Is Your Cat Allergic To Litter A Vet’s Guide To Signs And Treatment
While litter allergies are relatively uncommon, they can and do occur
Cats can develop allergies to a wide variety of food allergens and airborne allergens, but is it possible to have a cat allergic to litter?
While litter allergies are not very common in cats, they can occur. And, like other allergies in cats, litter allergies can be a frustrating problem to manage. If you suspect your feline may have a litter allergy and you’re considering switching type of cat litter, read on to learn more about how to diagnose and manage this unusual problem.
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Controlling Cat Allergies With Preventative Measures
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How To Get Rid Of Your Cat Allergies
There are options to help manage your cat allergy symptoms.
Avoiding cats is the most effective tactic when you want to figure out how to get rid of your cat allergies naturally. If avoiding cats altogether isnt an option, be sure to wash your hands after touching them. And don’t touch your eyes or nose when youre around cats.
When you live with a cat, invest in a high-efficiency particulate air filter to reduce airborne allergen levels. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can effectively remove allergens from your carpet.
Over-the-counter antihistamines can reduce your cat allergy symptoms short term and are a good option when youre visiting someone with a cat. Immunotherapy, on the other hand, offers long-lasting allergy relief. Through immunotherapy, your body is exposed to small amounts of an allergen. Over time, your immune system develops a tolerance to the allergen and doesnt respond when youre exposed.
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