Is It Actually The Cat Or Something Else
Your babys adverse allergic reaction to the cat will vary case by case. It is specific to the individual cat.
For most people, including babies, when they are allergic to something the most common symptom is a runny nose and sneezing. But if your baby is allergic to a cat, you may also notice a wheezing sound. This is the same sound babies make when they are having difficulty sleeping.
If your baby displays symptoms of nasal congestion, he/she is likely allergic to your cat. This can create a very dangerous situation if your babys breathing is impacted. Please seek immediate medical attention if this is occurring.
In more mild cases, a baby whos allergic to a cat may not have life-threatening reactions. Instead, he/she may display some of the more common symptoms that you will find with babies that have cat allergies.
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Testing For Cat Food Allergies
If your cat is still itchy after treating their infection and using a monthly flea preventive, the next step is to test for a food allergy. Unlike people, there is no blood test for food allergies in cats. To figure out if your cat has an allergy to food, your veterinarian will prescribe either a novel protein diet or a hypoallergenic diet.
A novel protein diet is one with a protein source that your cat has never had before. Venison, rabbit, and duck are common novel protein sources.
A hypoallergenic diet is a food in which the protein source is broken down into small molecular pieces so that the body can no longer recognize it as a protein. Think of a puzzle that has an image of a pirate ship. When you take the puzzle apart, you can no longer see the pirate ship.
To diagnose a food allergy, your cat will need to be on the prescribed diet for a minimum of two months without eating anything but that diet. If the diet trial is effective, the next step is to add a new protein source to the food for one to two weeks.
If there is no reaction, we can assume that protein is not causing the allergy if there is a reaction, we know that your cat is allergic to that protein and it must be avoided. Occasionally, some cats must stay on the prescription diet for life to manage their food allergy.
Allergies To Cats: Symptoms Treatment And Causes
Although our feline friends are so fondly regarded that theyre found in an amazing one third of all households, cats are also the leading driver of pet allergies in the US.
Contrary to popular belief, cat dander and saliva rather than fur are behind most allergies to cats.
Avoiding cats altogether is the best way to minimize symptoms, but even then, there are no guarantees. With more than eighty-five million cats in US homes and nearly as many strays, just being out in public may expose you to enough cat dander so its important to be aware of what you can do about it.
The good news is, if you like spending time around cats, or simply want to get on with your day to day without experiencing symptoms, preventative measures and treatment can help reduce or relieve symptoms.
This might allow you to enjoy Fluffys company again going forward or at least not worry about it.
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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.
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.”
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How Do I Treat My Cats Allergies
The best way to treat allergies in cats is to remove the offending allergens from your cats environment.
- The best way to remove fleas from your environment is to prevent them from entering it in the first place. Use a veterinarian-recommended flea/tick preventative such as Revolution or Bravecto Topical Solution for cats. Badger Veterinary Hospital carries Revolution and Bravecto Topical Solution in our clinics additional flea/tick preventatives are available through our online pharmacy.
- Switch to a dust-free, unscented cat litter if the chemicals in scented litter are an issue.
- To reduce the impact of pollens, mold, or dust, bathing your cat one to two times a week helps remove environmental allergens from the skin and relieve itching. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo that will help prevent drying out your cats skin.
- Also helpful for dust allergies is regular cleaning. Clean your cats bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice a week.
- If your cat is diagnosed with a food allergy, your veterinarian will recommend a prescription diet.
Unfortunately, not all allergens can be removed from your cats environment. When this is the case, your veterinarian may recommend medication, such as cortisone or steroids.
Are you concerned about your cats itching? Do you think your cat may have allergies? Call today to schedule an appointment with your Badger Veterinary Hospital veterinarian!
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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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Keep Your Cat Out Of Your Bedroom
You might be accustomed to snuggling with your kitty in bed, but sleeping with your cat when youre allergic will definitely cause problems. Keeping your cat out of your bedroom wont eliminate allergens from the room, but it will cut down on them drastically and should allow you to breathe comfortably.
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 you’re 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.
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Treatment For Allergies In Cats
Treatment of allergies in cats varies depending on the types of allergens your cat is sensitive to.
Treating allergies in cats usually involves a combination of approaches. Allergen avoidance involves reducing your cats exposure to any offending allergens- try keeping your cat indoors with the windows closed on high-pollen days, ensure the house is clear of mildew, and use hypoallergenic bedding. Using cat litters that are dust-free can also help.
A change in diet can help cats, even if they arent allergic to their food. Feeding a diet with lots of fatty acids may help to prevent allergens from working their way under the skin and causing problems.
For all allergic cats, flea treatment is essential. Even if your cats allergy isnt to fleas, the extra itch caused by a flea infestation can set them off with a flare-up. Talk to your vet about prescription flea treatment.
Lastly, drugs that prevent immune over-reaction may be necessary. These can include corticosteroids, antihistamines, and cyclosporine, among other things. These can be given by injection or with tablets at home.
Symptoms Of Allergies In Cats
Allergic cats most often exhibit symptoms of skin irritation, showing scabbing, itchiness, and over-grooming.
Cats with allergies often have a skin reaction called miliary dermatitis. This causes hundreds of little rash-like, scabby lesions on your cats skin, especially along the back and neck.
They are also itchy- you may see them itching with their paws or grooming more often. Overgrooming their itchy skin can also lead to patches of hair loss. Some cats will be more prone to ear infections.
Cats that are allergic to airborne allergens such as pollen might also show allergy symptoms such as runny eyes, itchy eyes, sneezing, or even coughing and fast breathing.
Lastly, cats with allergies to their diet may have some gastrointestinal symptoms as well, such as loose stools, excessive gas, and occasional vomiting.
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Checklist: Prepare These Answers Before You Visit Your Vet For The Pollen Allergy
Your vet will give your cat a thorough examination to rule out common colds and food allergies.
After excluding the possibility of food allergies, the vet will conduct a blood test to check for antibodies, just like in a human allergy test. As a result, the expert should be able to not only tell you if your cat has a pollen allergy but also what specific types of pollen your cat is allergic to.
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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Reduce The Inflammation And Soothe The Itch
All cats that suffer from allergic skin disease are very itchy. At the first visit, your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to alleviate the itch and inflammation in the skin.
For all skin diseases, bathing your cat can help to reduce inflammation and soothe their skin. Since most cats dont like baths, you may want to try a product like a mousse or a dry shampoo for cats that can clean your cat while avoiding water. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the right product for your cat.
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.
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Reducing Exposure To Cats
While medical treatment can help control cat allergies, the best approach is simple: avoid cats and their dander. Here are some tips.
- Don’t touch, hug, or kiss cats. It should be obvious, but some people think a little cat contact is OK. It isn’t.
- Beware of visitors who own cats. Even if your house guests leave their cats at home, they can bring the dander with them on their clothing and luggage. This indirect exposure can cause serious cat allergy symptoms in some people.
- Plan. If you have to stay in a house with cats, ask that the cat be kept out of the room in which you will sleep for a few weeks before you arrive. Also, start taking allergy medication a few weeks beforehand. Once an allergic reaction gets started, it can be tough to control. But taking medicine can prevent it from happening in the first place.
But what if you already own a cat? Here’s the most sensible advice: if you or a family member has cat allergies, you shouldn’t have a cat in the home.
Of course, such harsh advice may not be easy to follow. What if your kids have already fallen in love with a kitten? What if you intended to never, ever part with your cat? If the cat has to stay, there are other things you can try.
While these techniques might help, they may not be enough. As hard as it might be, if keeping your cat is putting your health — or a family member’s health — at risk, you have to consider giving it up.
Keep Your Home Allergen
Keeping your home as allergen-free as possible is perhaps the best way to prevent cat allergies.
To prevent dust from triggering your cats allergy symptoms, clean your pets bedding and vacuum the rugs, curtains, and any other materials that gather dust once a week. Also try to vacuum and wipe surfaces on a regular basis, especially the windowsills.
To keep irritants out of your home, remove your shoes before entering. If you dont wish to walk barefoot around your house, change into slippers or other footwear that is meant to be worn indoors only. Also, make sure to wash your cats paws after it returns from a stroll outside or just generally before making it enter the house.
Change the filters in your air conditioning and heating units on schedule, and consider purchasing an air purifier to keep pollen and dust at bay.
Do not forget to change your cats cat litter daily and switch to a cat litter brand that does not produce too much dust, causing allergies.
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What Causes Cat Skin Allergies
An allergy at its root is caused by the immune system reacting inappropriately to things that are not viruses or bacteria. When your cat has an allergy, their immune system thinks that a benign protein is a virus or parasite trying to attack it, which causes inflammation.
There are three triggers for skin allergies in cats:
Many cats that go to the veterinarian for skin problems may have mites or ringworm fungus as a cause for their disease, so your veterinarian may recommend testing to rule these out.
Many cats also have bacterial infections on their skin from constantly damaging the skin, which will slow healing. Your veterinarian may recommend testing for infection and if so, will treat your cat with antibiotics.
Maintaining An Optimal Environment
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