What can i do about cat allergies
If you own a cat and are mildly allergic to it, then several steps may assist reduce your exposure to Fel d 1 and the severity of the allergy:
- Try to avoid having the cat in rooms where there is carpet (which can trap hair and dander)
- Laminate or tiled floors with washable rugs are much more cleanable than wall-to-wall carpets.
- Keep the cat off your bed and out of your bedroom
- Try to avoid using soft furnishings (cushions etc) where your cat is allowed, other than those that can be readily washed, and make certain they are washed frequently
- Using air purifiers
- Vacuum clean the home frequently and thoroughly with a cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter and make certain the home is well ventilated
- Use a cat flap and permit your cat to spend time outdoors, do not confine it to the house
- Making certain you wash your hands well after handling the cat
With severe cat allergies, the only solution may be to avoid having a cat in the home at every.
For most people though, a combination of diverse strategies to attempt to reduce the quantity of antigen in the environment will assist to successfully control the clinical signs of cat allergy to an acceptable level.
Only your doctor is capable to diagnose whether you are allergic to cats, and in severe cases, drugs are available which can assist ease the severity of the reactions. Antihistamines are generally the mainstay of treatment for sneezing and itching while an inhaler and even steroids are sometimes required for more severe reactions. Always seek advice from your doctor before using any medications.
Development of ‘hypoallergenic cats’
In 2006, a company in the USA called Allerca Inc introduced what was claimed to be cats that were ‘hypoallergenic’ – in other words, a cat that did not produce the protein(s) provoking an allergic response in people.
According to the company, they identified cats that produced a variant of Fel d 1 that was sufficiently diverse not to provoke an allergic response. No accepted scientific data was produced to support this claim, and by 2010 the company had apparently stopped selling these cats. The validity of their claims are still debated, but producing a truly hypoallergenic cat is likely to be extremely hard as although Fel d 1 and Fel d 4 are the major protein causing an allergy, numerous others can also be involved. Another area of concern would be the size of the gene pool used during the selective breeding programme to develop these cats – using what might be a extremely little gene pool may permit other significant problems to arise in these cats.
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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.
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:
- 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.
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners run continuously in a bedroom or living room can reduce allergen levels over time.
- Regular use of a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum can reduce allergen levels.
- 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.
What triggers the allergic response to cats?
The main trigger for the allergic reaction to cats are proteins which are secreted in saliva (Fel d 4) and in the sebaceous glands (Fel d 1) in the skin of every cats.
These proteins can be found on the jacket of the cat because the cat grooms itself, and so deposits saliva (containing Fel d 4) on the hair, and because the secretions from the sebaceous glands (containing Fel d 1) will also surround the hair. However, the allergy is not to cat hairs themselves.
Fel d 4 is also shed in urine and faeces. Entire male cats produce the highest quantity of these proteins.
Do every cats provoke an allergic response
In an allergic individual, the signs of a reaction can happen if the allergen is inhaled or a person strokes a cat, cleans its litter tray or even sits where the cat has been sitting. Diverse individuals own diverse levels of allergies – some cannot tolerate being in a room where cats own been, whereas in others the reaction may be much milder.
All breeds of cat produce allergens, but some may produce more than others – it can be a case of trial and error to ascertain which cats you react to (or which you react worst to).
Although the reason is not clear, numerous people seem to react more to longhaired cats – perhaps because more allergen builds up on their fur or accumulates because of more hair around the home. Likewise, even cats with little hair such as Rexes or Sphynx cats still cause reactions as the allergy is not to the cat’s hair itself. As noted above, entire male cats may produce more of the proteins that cause the allergy and are therefore probably a greater risk to an allergic individual, female cats are likely to produce the lowest amounts.