What are the effects of cat allergies
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
- tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
- swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
- wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
- itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- 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.
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.
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe Easy—You Can Still Hold Your Animal Companion!
Although numerous people own 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 situations—and 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 every, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander (scales of ancient skin that are constantly shed by an animal), 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.
Once the diagnosis of a pet allergy is made, a physician will often recommend eliminating the companion animal from the surroundings. Heartbreaking?
Yes. Absolutely necessary? Not always. Hold in mind that most people are allergic to several things besides pets, such as dust mites, molds and pollens, every of which can be found in the home.
Allergic symptoms result from the entire cumulative allergen load. That means that if you eliminate some of the other allergens, you may not own to get rid of your pet. (Conversely, should you decide to remove your pet from your home, this may not immediately solve your problems.) You must also be prepared to invest the time and effort needed to decontaminate your home environment, limit future exposure to allergens and discover a physician who will work with you. Read on for helpful tips:
Improving the Immediate Environment
- Create an allergen-free room. A bedroom is often the best and most practical choice. By preventing your pet from entering this room, you can ensure at least eight hours of liberty from allergens every night. It’s a excellent thought to use hypoallergenic bedding and pillow materials.
- Install an air purifier fitted with a HEPA filter. Our modern, energy-efficient homes lock in air that is loaded with allergens, so it’s brilliant to let in some unused air daily.
- Dust regularly. Wiping below the walls will also cut below on allergens.
- Clean the litter box frequently. Use low-dust, perfume-free filler.
Clumping litter is a excellent choice.
- Use anti-allergen room sprays. These sprays deactivate allergens, rendering them harmless. Enquire your allergist for a product recommendation.
- Vacuum frequently using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter or a disposable electrostatic bag. Other kinds of bags will permit allergens to blow back out of the vacuum.
- Limit fabrics. Allergens collect in rugs, drapes and upholstery, so do your best to limit or eliminate them from your home.
If you select to hold some fabrics, steam-clean them regularly. Cotton-covered furniture is the smartest choice, and washable blinds or shades make excellent window treatments. You can also cover your furniture with sheets or blankets which you can remove and wash regularly.
- Invest in washable pet bedding and cages that can be cleaned often and easily.
Decontaminating Your Pet
- Bathe your pet at least once a week. Your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo that won’t dry out his skin.
Bathing works to wash off the allergens that accumulate in an animal’s fur.
- Wipe your pet with a product formulated to prevent dander from building up and flaking off into the environment. Enquire your veterinarian to propose one that is safe to use on animals who groom themselves.
- Note any symptoms of dermatitis exhibited by your companion animal. Dermatitis often leads to accelerated skin and fur shedding, which will up your allergen exposure.
- Brush or comb your pet frequently. It’s best to do this outdoors, if possible. (The ASPCA does not recommend keeping cats outdoors, so make certain your feline is leashed if you take him outside.)
Taking Care of Yourself
- If possible, own someone other than yourself do the housecleaning, litter box work and pet washing, wiping and brushing.
If you must clean the home or change the litter, be certain to wear a dust mask.
- Wash your hands after handling your companion animal and before touching your face. The areas around your nose and eyes are particularly sensitive to allergens.
- Designate a “pet outfit” from among your most easily washed clothes. Wear it when playing or cuddling with your companion, and you’ll leave other clothing uncontaminated.
- Find a physician, preferably an allergy specialist, who will make certain that your pet is the cause of your allergies and will assist alleviate your symptoms. Medications and immunotherapy (desensitizing shots) can often permit you and your companion animal to remain together happily ever after.
Allergies to cats are fairly widespread in humans and they range from bothersome sniffles to warranting emergency medical care.
People who know they’re allergic to cats either avoid our domesticated feline overlords, or dose up on antihistamines. For numerous years, there has been an ongoing discussion on breeding or even genetically modifying cats into a hypoallergenic version of themselves. A team of researchers has now solved the problem in a diverse way. They’ve created a vaccine for cat allergens.
The vaccine is not for humans but for the cats. It targets proteins Fel d 1, which is the major of the five allergenic substances cats produce.
The substance is produced in the cat’s saliva and sebaceous glands, though we are not certain what’s its function is.
Around 10 percent of the Western population is allergic to this specific protein.
As reported in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers working for and with the company HypoPet own successfully tested that vaccine in 54 diverse cats over the course of four diverse studies. The team reports that the vaccine was effective in reducing Fel d 1 in the treated cats. More importantly, it was well tolerated by the cats and had no overt toxic effects on them.
“Both human subjects and animals could profit from this treatment because allergic cat owners would reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, such as asthma, and become more tolerant of their cats, which therefore could stay in the households and not need to be relinquished to animal shelters,” the researcher record in the paper.
The team combined a cucumber mosaic virus and the Fel d 1 molecule, which produces an immune response from the cats.
After the vaccine, the cats’ immune systems automatically destroyed the molecules, and the tested cats were less allergenic to humans compared to regular cats.
“We are extremely pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat™ vaccine is capable to produce high levels of antibodies in cats, and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,” Dr Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG, said in a statement.
Allergies to cats from cat owners, their families, partners, and friends is a leading cause of pet cat abandonment. In the US alone, 3.4 million cats are abandoned annually to animal shelters, with an estimated two-fifths of them euthanized.
Cats are also abandoned in the wild and in cities, which leads to a bigger impact on the ecosystem. Cats may be domesticated but they are still furry predators, incredible killing machines, and they can cause havoc to native fauna. A way of reducing cat abandonment means everyone’s a winner.