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Cat skin allergies

Cat Skin Allergies:

A lot of people are allergic to the dander in the fur of the cats.

Cat allergies are considered extremely common in people. However, cats too suffer from various kinds of allergies. These are allergies are caused due to repeated long term exposure to allergens.

These allergens trigger an immune response in the cat’s body.

When a cat’s immune system reacts this way to an antigen, this response is drastically different from the normal immune response to the bacteria and viruses that attack our body. The body is accustomed to sending out an immune response if a bacteria or a virus attacks it.

However, most allergens are seemingly harmless objects and the body simply over reacts to them. When the body expresses an allergic reaction to a foreign substance, the brain directs the body to produce a specific antibody known as immunoglobulin. This antibody attaches itself to specific allergens in an attempt to neutralize them, generating chemicals called histamines. As soon as the body triggers an allergic reaction, the process of sensitization begins and the allergic symptoms begin to appear due to the histamines that have been released into the blood.
Skin allergies in cats are divided into three broad categories. A cat skin allergy is usually categorized according to the kind of symptoms its produces.

  • Flea Allergy: This allergy is caused when the skin becomes extremely sensitive to the parasitic debris in the skin. The saliva of the parasites that enters the blood when the cat is bitten can cause such an allergic reaction.
  • Airborne and contact allergies: If the cat accidentally inhales pollen or any other airborne particles that its body may over react to, it is known as an airborne allergy. If the cat comes into contact with mold or fungus or any other allergen, it is known as contact dermatitis.
  • Food Allergies: Like humans, cats may also be allergic to certain foods and their chemical components.

Skin allergies in cats are usually characterized by symptoms related to the skin. The initial clinical signs include formations of bumps or lesions etc on the skin, excessive scratching, licking and chewing of the skin by the cat. There may be other symptoms like swelling, rashes, redness, hair loss, scaly akin and ulcers or chronic infections.

Most of the allergic reactions occur around the head and the upper portion of the cat’s body. However, in some cases, the allergic reactions may even extend to the rest of the body. The vet will usually perform a thorough physical examination of the cat to check for any problems in the skin.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

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