Cat Allergy Causes and Remedies
Your cat’s body has a remarkable immune system of antibodies. These protein substances produced by cells called lymphocytes destroy antigens that invade the body, such as viruses and bacteria. This system can become super sensitive to such foreign particles as flea saliva. Pollen, house dust, and wool, however, and this super sensitivity can produce chemicals that cause an allergy, a severe inflammatory reaction.
Allergic inhalant dermatitis has not been as well documented in cats as it has in dogs. It is caused by a super sensitivity to certain particles in the air such as pollen from trees, ragweed, grass, and other plants, house dust, feathers, and wool. The allergy follows a predictable history:
1. It is inherited, so if the parents had it, the offspring probably will, too.
2. It is seasonal the signs appear at about the same time every year.
3. The signs begin between six months and three years of age.
4. The signs include severe biting and scratching, paw licking, sneezing, face rubbing, and generalized redness.
Cat Allergy Home Remedies
Home treatment is directed toward providing symptomatic relief and avoiding foreign particles, or allergens. If the offending allergen is thought to be house dust, vacuuming daily and using Dust-seal in the environment may help. If wool or feathers are thought to be the culprits, eliminating as many things composed of wool or feathers as possible is recommended.
Bathing your cat with a mild shampoo (such as baby shampoo) will soothe any skin inflammation and remove any allergens on the hair coat. Calamine lotion or Domeboro solution can be applied to irritated skin. Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) and antibiotic ointments are also helpful. If the signs persist, see your veterinarian. Other skin diseases that may cause similar signs are flea bite dermatitis and contact dermatitis.
Cat Allergy Treatment
Your veterinarian will take time to get a good history. He or she may be able to identify the allergen in your pet’s environment. If allergic inhalant dermatitis is the problem, two avenues of treatment are possible steroids or hypo sensitization. Most veterinarians, at this time, use a low dose of steroids to relieve the itching. Steroids should not be given for long-term treatment because they have some very serious side effects.
The other type of treatment involves testing for the allergy. It can be a long and frustrating treatment because the cats seem to keep developing allergies to new and different foreign particles. Allergy testing and hypo-sensitization are not used much in cat medicine at this time.
Food allergies presenting scabs on the head and, possibly, diarrhea may improve if for three weeks you put your cat on a daily diet of boiled chicken, brown rice, and a half-tea-spoon of clam juice for taurine. If it works, talk to your doctor about a long-term diet.
See more: Cat Aggression