What are some symptoms of cat allergies
So what if your pet is allergic to you?
"It always makes owners helpful of unhappy if their reaction is to human dander," Cain says, but happily the two of you don’t own to part. (See "Why Do We Get Allergies?")
"If we own a patient that reacts to human dander, generally they react to other allergens as well," she says.
That means your vet can treat the pet’s allergy, either with allergy shots or oral drops that contain little amounts of the problem allergens.
This retrains your pet’s system to ignore the allergen.
Of course, the cat might always be faking an allergy in hopes you’ll get rid of the dog.
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Avoidance is the best way to manage a dog allergy. If you own a dog and are allergic to dogs, consider removing the dog from the home.
If you own a dog but don’t desire to discover it a new home, or if your family wants a dog even though someone in the household is allergic, here are some strategies that may assist hold symptoms at bay:
- Regular use of a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum can reduce allergen levels.
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners run continuously in a bedroom or living room can reduce allergen levels over time.
- Keep the dog out of your bedroom and restrict it to only a few rooms.
Be advised that keeping the dog in only one room will not limit the allergens to that room.
- Don’t pet, hug or kiss the dog; if you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
- Giving your dog a bath at least once a week can reduce airborne dog allergen.
Treatments for dog allergy vary, depending on the symptoms.
Your allergist can assist determine what treatment would be best to treat your dog allergy.
Nasal symptoms are often 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 (immunotherapy) are an effective treatment of allergies by building tolerance over time through gradually injecting increasing doses of an allergen.
Is there an allergy-free dog?
While poodles, Portuguese water dogs and a number of other breeds (including several types of terriers) own a reputation for being hypoallergenic, a truly allergy-free breed does not exist.
A 2011 study compared dust samples from homes with dog breeds reported to be hypoallergenic and those of homes with other dogs. The levels of dog allergen in homes with “hypoallergenic” dogs did not differ from the levels in homes with other breeds.
This sheet was reviewed for accuracy 4/23/2018.
Sick as a Dog
For dogs, the most common clinical signs are skin inflammation and itching, Farnsworth says.
Other symptoms may include sneezing and runny noses. (Take National Geographic’s dog quiz.)
Cats’ allergy symptoms can manifest as miliary dermatitis, which shows up as little scabs or missing hair, typically around the head and neck area, though it can happen elsewhere, she says.
It’s always significant to observe how endless symptoms happen in your pet—for instance, year-round symptoms may indicate a food allergy or reaction to something else in their environment that’s not seasonal.
Luckily, pets can be tested for a variety of environmental allergens—both seasonal and non-seasonal, saysChristine Cain,of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
"We routinely test dogs for reactions to cat dander," she says.
"This includes a little quantity of allergen placed under the skin to test for reactions, just love in human allergy testing," Cain says.
Generally, veterinarians will glance for common allergens "like dust mites and human dander, or things we encounter in the environment love feathers, sheep wool, or pollens," says Washington State University’s Farnsworth.
Those are the usual suspects, but as with us, Farnsworth says, pets can be allergic to anything, and it can be hard to figure out the culprit with general testing.
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.
This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.
Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.
Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021
Studies own shown that food allergies overall are the third most common type of feline allergy, outranked in frequency only by allergies to flea bites and inhaled substances. Although itchy, irritating skin problems are the most common signs of this allergy, an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of affected cats also exhibit gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
The itching that typically signals the presence of a food allergy is caused by the eruption of little, pale, fluid-filled lumps on a cat’s skin, which form in response to the presence of an allergen, a substance to which the animal’s system is abnormally sensitive.
“The itching eruptions primarily affect the head and neck area,” says Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, a lecturer in clinical sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“They’re not always in that area, but often enough to serve as a clue that the source is a food allergy.”
In themselves, the aggravating lesions do not pose a significant health hazard. But the incessant scratching that they immediate may cause secondary skin wounds and a resulting vulnerability to severe bacterial infection. In addition, gastrointestinal problems stemming from a food allergy may own far-reaching systemic implications, including food avoidance that can result in health-compromising weight loss.
The most visible signs of a food allergy—the persistent scratching, the emergence of skin lesions, loss of hair, and a general deterioration of the coat—do not develop overnight.
Instead, they tend to become evident and intensify over extended periods of time—months or even longer—as the animal’s immune system gradually mounts a defense against certain protein and carbohydrate molecules that are present in most standard cat foods. “We don’t know why this allergy develops,” says Dr. McDaniel. “A cat of any age can be affected, and it can happen in a cat that has been on the same diet for years.”
When the signs appear, a cat should get immediate veterinary care. If a food allergy is indeed suspected, the specific allergen should be identified and removed from the animal’s diet.
After other potential causes of the skin eruptions, such as flea bites, are ruled out and a food allergy is identified as the probable cause of the clinical signs, the next challenge is to identify what precisely in the cat’s diet is responsible for the problem.
This process will most effectively be carried out at home by the owner’s introduction of what is termed a “novel” diet, which is based on the fact that most feline food allergies are traceable to the protein or carbohydrate content of an affected animal’s normal fare.
The most commonly used protein sources in cat food include beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Since protein is a fundamental component of living cells and is necessary for the proper functioning of an organism, the novel diet must contain protein—but it must be derived from a source to which an affected cat has not been previously exposed, such as venison or kangaroo meat.
Since the same holds true for carbohydrates, the vegetables that are frequently used in cat foods—wheat, barley, and corn, for instance—would be excluded from the novel diet and replaced by, for example, potato.
If a cat consumes nothing but the novel diet and water for a period of at least eight to 10 weeks, it is likely that the allergic signs will gradually vanish. In that case, the owner can assume that the allergen was a component of the previous diet. And to identify the specific offending allergen, the owner subsequently reintroduces components of the cat’s original diet one by one and watches carefully for the reemergence of allergic symptoms.
If the symptoms recur, they will probably do so within a week or two, in which case the owner will own confirmed at least one source of the allergy.
Through repeated systematic testing—and a lot of patience—it is possible for the owner to pinpoint every dietary ingredients to which a cat is allergic. Therapy, it follows, requires the permanent exclusion of these ingredients from the cat’s diet.
Spring has sprung,and with it the return of warmer weather, longer days, and one decidedly unwelcome guest: allergies.
It’s also the perfect season to turn the tables and glance at allergies from our pets’ point of view.
So for Weird Animal Question of the Week, we’re responding to National Geographic’s own Emily Tye, who asks: "Can cats be allergic to dogs, or vice versa?"
We also wonder—can they be allergic to us?
"The answer to every of these is yes," saysRaelynn Farnsworth, of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. (See "Coughing Cats May Be Allergic to People, Vets Say.")
"It’s rare, but dogs can be allergic to cat dander and people dander and vice versa. For everything."
Dander is made up of tiny cells shed from hair, fur, or feathers—and though you mostly hear it in relation to pets, humans produce it, too.
Other common pet allergies include flea saliva and certain foods.
Main allergy symptoms
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
- a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
- itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
- wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
- dry, red and cracked skin
The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.
For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.
See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.
Read more about diagnosing allergies.