After a winter of cold temperatures and short days, most people welcome the first signs of spring. Unfortunately, spring can signal the start of a miserable time for humans and pets who suffer as pollen counts rise and allergy symptoms kick into high gear. Unlike humans, who suffer respiratory symptoms from irritants in the air, birman cat for sale develop skin problems that cause severe itching. In this article, we’ll cover these airborne allergies as well as food allergies and flea allergies that affect our lovable felines.
Airborne Allergies in Cats
Indoor and outdoor environmental factors begin affecting susceptible cats when they are between one and three years of age. Common allergens that affect cats include
As a result of these irritants, cats will chew, lick and scratch, causing damage to their skin. This can cause skin lesions in the form of small bumps or crusty, scabby areas that bleed and ooze. Allergic cats will often groom excessively and pull out tufts of hair, leaving bald patches on their skin.
Airborne Allergy Testing in Cats
When it comes to airborne allergies in cats, there can be many causes. Your veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist can perform allergy tests to rule out other conditions or allergies such as a flea allergy, contact dermatitis, ringworm or a food allergy. Specific allergy testing is done either by taking a blood test or performing intradermal skin testing. The blood tests are reasonably reliable for detecting airborne allergies, but skin testing is considered more accurate. Skin tests are done by shaving a patch of hair on your cat’s side and then injecting small amounts of allergens under the skin and seeing if it elicits an allergic reaction.
Food Allergies in Cats
Like humans, cats can also have allergic reactions to foods such as soy, dairy products, wheat, or meats. To determine if your cat is allergic to a substance, he must be exposed to the food at least twice. If a reaction happens after only one exposure, it could be an isolated incident.
Diagnosing Food Allergies
A visit to your veterinarian can help address your cat’s potential food allergies. A first step might be testing to rule out a food allergy. If a food allergy does exist, the most accurate way to diagnose what your cat is allergic to is by conducting a food trial. This entails feeding your feline a diet that doesn’t contain a protein he’s been previously exposed to for six to eight weeks. This is achieved through a hydrolyzed-protein diet (protein in small enough quantity so that your cat’s immune system can’t recognize it) or a prescription diet that your vet recommends.
Once your feline is free of symptoms, your veterinarian will re-introduce foods back into your cat’s diet to identify which food is causing the allergy. Your cat may require a permanent switch to a prescription food, a home-made food, or simply needs to avoid certain brands and types of food.
Even if it turns out that your cat doesn’t have a food allergy, proper nutrition is important for your cat’s skin. High protein foods with essential fatty acids and antioxidants are particularly helpful for keeping your cat’s skin healthy. Unique protein sources such as venison or duck and those that include fish oil, which naturally contains high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are especially helpful. Vitamin E is also an excellent antioxidant that boosts your cat’s immune system.