Do cats have allergies? What are allergies?
I. What are allergies?
One of the medical conditions that have a greater impact on the health of cats is allergy. When a cat's immune system is stimulated by an allergen, it can lead to symptoms of allergy in cats. An allergen is simply a foreign protein that the cat's immune system is trying to remove.
When a cat is stimulated by an allergen, it may cause the cat to develop the following clinical symptoms.
1. The most common symptom manifested is itchy skin. The itching may be localized but may also be generalized, depending mainly on the allergen and the severity of the allergy.
2. Another manifestation may affect the cat's respiratory system, i.e., coughing, sneezing, and wheezing will occur in cats with allergies, and depending on the allergen, discharge from the corners of the eyes and nasal discharge may also occur.
3. The third manifestation will affect the cat's digestive system, i.e. the allergic cat will show digestive symptoms such as vomiting, flatulence, and diarrhea.
What should I do if my cat is allergic? Finding the allergen and treating it in time is the key
What are the common allergens in cats?
For humans, common allergens are pollen, dust, mold, and pet hair, while for cats, the most common types of allergies are flea allergy, food allergy, inhalation allergy, and contact allergy, each of which may show different clinical symptoms, as well as different diagnostic and treatment methods. Therefore, it is extremely important to find the allergen when diagnosing or treating cat allergies.
To make it easier for pooper scoopers to take the right measures to deal with cat allergies, this article will provide a comprehensive analysis of the three most common types of allergies (flea, food, inhalation) in cats, including the causes of allergies and the treatment modalities.
II. Flea allergy
Among the four types of allergies in cats, flea allergy is the most common type of allergy. Although many pooper scoopers generally believe that fleas only cause slight irritation to the cat's skin, on the other hand, when fleas suck the host's blood, at the same time their saliva also remains within the host's skin because the proteins and antigens present in flea saliva are the main cause of the appearance of allergic reactions in cats "culprits".
When cats are allergic to fleas, this means that they will have an allergic reaction to any kind of flea and a small number of fleas. When cats develop flea allergy, they will show symptoms such as severe itchy skin, inflammation or redness of the skin, local or generalized hair loss, open sores or crusts on the skin, and if severe, they may also develop a secondary bacterial skin infection, known as pyoderma.
The clinical symptoms of flea allergy in cats usually appear on the back, abdomen, or buttocks, in addition, when the cat is allergic to fleas, many small crusts may appear around the head and neck. This is why the term was coined.
Treatment of allergies caused by fleas
Since it is flea saliva that causes an allergic reaction in cats, the first treatment applied is insecticide. Corticosteroids (cortisone or steroids) can be used to stop the allergic reaction and provide immediate relief from the itchy skin caused by the allergy, especially in the initial stage of the allergy, when the use of corticosteroids is more effective.
If a secondary bacterial skin infection occurs due to flea allergy, it must be treated with antibiotics for 2-4 weeks, depending on the patient's response to the medication.
Prevention: For cat allergies caused by fleas, the best way to prevent them is to deworm the cat regularly, as long as there are no fleas present.
Food allergy in cats is caused by an immune response to certain foods or food additives. The proteins present in food are the most common components that cause food allergies in cats, such as animal proteins like beef, pork, and chicken and vegetable proteins in corn, wheat, and soybean meal, in addition to certain food additives and preservatives that can also cause allergies in cats.
Food allergies may cause any of the clinical signs discussed previously in cats, including itchy skin, digestive disturbances, and respiratory distress.
Treating Allergies Caused by Food
When the clinical signs of cat allergy are obvious, steroids may be used for treatment, but if the affected cat responds poorly to steroids, or when some cats show only pruritus and no other symptoms, it is recommended that the affected cat may be tested for food allergy.
The test is usually performed by feeding the cat hypoallergenic food, which removes common allergens; if the cat's symptoms are relieved or cured by feeding the hypoallergenic food for some time, it means that the cat is suffering from a food allergy.
For cats prone to food allergies, they may need to consume hypoallergenic food for the rest of their lives, as feeding hypoallergenic food specifically has been very successful in the treatment of food allergic skin disease in cats.
III. Inhalant allergy
Inhalant allergy usually refers to the allergic reaction of cats to environmental allergens, such as pollen, grass seeds, mold, and dust mites. Cats with inhalant allergies usually have several different allergens, and among these allergens, most are seasonal.
Typically, when cats inhale these allergens, they may develop respiratory symptoms. In addition, the most common clinical symptom of inhalant allergy in cats is that it causes atopic dermatitis, which is itching all over the body.
How to treat inhalant allergy in cats?
In terms of treatment, much depends on the length of the cat allergy season and the type of inhaled allergen. Common treatments include the following.
1銆両mprove coat and skin health with corticosteroids (prednisone) and medicated sprays or medicated bath products. In most cases, steroids can alleviate the allergic reaction and bring about rapid improvement in the cat's clinical symptoms; depending on the cat's condition, steroids can be administered orally or by injection.
2. Inhalant allergies in cats can also be treated with antihistamines and essential fatty acids. Some cats respond well to specific antihistamines (e.g. cetirizine hydrochloride), and it is important to note when treating with antihistamines that it may take 7-10 days for the histamines to take full effect.
Similarly, essential fatty acids (fish oil) are ineffective when dealing with acute allergies because essential fatty acids also take several weeks to take effect; for cats prone to atopic dermatitis try fatty acid supplements to help relieve clinical signs.
3. Another treatment for cats with atopic dermatitis is the use of immunosuppressive drugs (such as cyclosporine), which specifically target the immune cell damage involved in atopic dermatitis to relieve the hypersensitivity reaction the body is experiencing; immunosuppressive drugs take up to 30 days to take effect in the treatment of inhalant allergies, so they are not generally used in sudden Allergies.
4. The ultimate treatment for cats with chronic inhalant allergies is desensitization with specific antigen injections, but do not confuse this with corticosteroid injections; once the patient has identified a specific allergen through allergy blood testing (most commonly IgE testing) or intradermal testing at the time of treatment, the allergic cat will be given a small amount of antigen each week with the goal of "re-edit" the cat's body's immune system response to the allergen.
With treatment, the immune system becomes less reactive to the allergen over time, and for most cats with inhalant allergies, a significant reduction in the severity of itching is the main concern.
Importantly, feline atopic dermatitis is a lifelong disease and even if treated within a short period there is still a risk of recurrence if the allergen is encountered in the future, so there has been no "cure" for allergic skin disease, only medication to relieve clinical symptoms and improve the quality of life of the cat.
Contact allergy is the least common of the four types of allergies in cats; simply put, contact allergy is a localized skin reaction when a cat comes into contact with certain allergic substances, which usually include shampoo, flea collars, and certain types of bedding (such as wool). symptoms such as red spots.
For this type of allergy, the best solution is to remove the allergic substance or avoid exposing the cat to it, however, in many cases, it is challenging to accurately identify the allergic substance.
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