In certain seasons and climates, environmental allergens like pollen are plentiful. These allergens elicit a myriad of unpleasant reactions from people and pets alike. Although we can treat our allergies and learn to cope with them throughout our lives, many of the simple solutions to our allergic reactions are simply not available to our cats. Tissues, medication, and other materials that ease our discomfort must be produced specifically for felines and then applied by their owner.
Because cats rely on us to treat their allergies, itís important that we properly recognize signs of allergies and are able to identify their cause. Cats suffering from allergies will likely suffer from excessive sneezing, coughing, itchiness, snoring, inflamed paws, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although not all cats suffering from an allergic reaction will express all of these symptoms, a cat exhibiting a few of these symptoms warrants a visit to the veterinarian. Even if it is apparent that the culprit is an allergic reaction, it is still crucial to identify its cause before attempting to treat it.
The Common Culprit? Not Pollen!
Many people associate the spring with allergies, and this is no coincidence. The pollen count is higher during the springtime, which is often the cause of allergies in humans. Although pollen and other airborne allergens can be the culprit behind your catís symptoms- itís more likely than another seasonal change is the problem.
The population of fleas also increases in the spring, and these insects are more than likely the cause of your catís allergic reaction. An allergy to fleas is one of the most common allergies in cats. Fleas cause many symptoms of an allergic reaction on all cats- with bites that cause severe itching and irritation. For cats with a flea allergy, however, the reaction to a normal flea bite is far more severe.
Cats with flea allergies feel such great discomfort from a single flea bite that they can seriously injure themselves while scratching it. As a result of both the allergy itself and the reaction it elicits- open sores and scabs on the skin often occur. To prevent these reactions, itís important to keep your protected from fleas with a proper preventive, like Frontline Plus.
Pollen and Other Allergens
Cats can suffer allergic reactions at the hands of more than just pollen- dust, food, preventives or treatments, prescription drugs, smoke, plastic, rubber, and smoke can all cause discomfort in sensitive cats. Your veterinarian can look through your catís medical history and conduct a physical examination, or even an allergy test, to determine the cause of your petís discomfort. Your veterinarian may also suggest a special diet or additional tests to find the source of the problem.
An elimination diet can be particularly effective at identifying a food allergy. Cats with food allergies have distinct symptoms that reveal the nature of the allergen. Swelling and scratching will be focused nearly exclusively to their head and neck areas. Additionally, this is one of the few types of allergies that cause diarrhea and vomiting. Allergies can develop in a cat at any time, so if these symptoms are present, changing food formulas may help resolve (and identify the source of) the problem.
Cats that suffer from allergies to a material will show irritation on their skin at the site of contact, which can help identify the allergen. Airborne allergens can be more difficult to deal with, as they are not only more difficult to identify- but also more difficult to remove from your catís environment. Air filters can help remove these allergens and shampoos and medications can help control their effects.
Does your cat or dog suffer from allergies? How do you deal with them? Let us know with a comment below!