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Allergic Reactions in Cats

Allergy is common in kittens and cats. A feline allergic reaction is caused by seasonal allergies, fleas and parasites, food or chemicals. An allergic reaction happens when a kitten or cat comes in contact with a substance that causes the immune system to react as if it is dangerous. Feline allergic reactions are different from the sneezing and watery eyes seen in humans. In cats, allergic reactions primarily affect the skin, but can also affect the respiratory and digestive systems.

Flea hypersensitivity occurs when cats are not protected with a preventative or when product use is not a habit. A Flea feeds by injecting an antigen into the cat. Symptoms of flea dermatitis are in areas that cannot be reached, such as the apex of the tail or on the neck. Treatment starts with the use of a product that removes fleas followed by the use of a preventative to stop any new problems.

Respiratory allergies are also often diagnosed. Respiratory allergens are plants, trees, grass and weeds. Signs of nhalant dermatitis are alopecia, red skin and pruritus. Skin changes include ulcers, chin deramtitis and bigger lesions called granulomas. Itching can introduce secondary issues such as bacterial infection. Steroids such as prednisone are used to treat any inflammation. Fish oil can help the healing process.

Last, food allergy is triggered when a cat has an abnormal reaction to a supplement, additive or ingredient. There are 40 potential allergens in commercial cat food. A dietary allergy is not the same as a dietary intolerance. Food allergy is an unnatural immune system response, while dietary intolerance happens when the body cannot easily digest certain ingredients. Both cause indications such as hair loss and skin lesions. Common food allergens are eggs, chicken, protein, beef, wheat, oats, fish, corn and soy. Indications of a dietary allergy are itchy skin, and skin lesions on the head and neck. Skin injury is the direct result of self-trauma in a problem area. Signs of stomach distress are diarrhea or vomiting.

Treatment for allergy starts with the identification and removal of the cause. To reach a specific diagnosis, lab testing or other diagnostic methods are used. For food allergy a hypoallergenic diet helps to pinpoint the problem ingredient. For respiratory allergies, moving a kitten or cat inside or using a vacuum with a HEPA filter may help. Allergy shots are also available or minimize the seriousness of any reaction.

Cathy Doggins is the author of the widely read and highly regarded Cat Health Guide as well as many articles on allergies in cats. When not preparing articles abou tkitties, Cathy spends her time caring for three cats, two dogs and pet lizard. She is a frequent speaker on cat care and frequently volunteers at many feline shelters.

Posted under Modern Cat Furniture

This post was written by TKB_Editor on May 9, 2014

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