The cat suffers from allergies, just like humans. This can be linked to diet, seasonality, an unknown origin or even a chronic cat disease.
We then speak of environmental allergy or atopic dermatitis. What is it about ? What are the causes and symptoms of the disease? How is environmental allergy treated in cats?
Environmental allergy or atopic dermatitis in cats: definition
Environmental allergy, or atopic dermatitis, often called atopy, is a chronic non-contagious but hereditary disease which affects cats and dogs as well.
It is a recurring disease and a cause of frequent consultation with the veterinarian. Still poorly defined and poorly understood, in the most serious cases environmental allergy requires long-term treatment.
Although the causes of atopy cannot be identified with precision, several avenues are being studied …
Causes of atopic dermatitis in cats
It is not known exactly what causes the cat’s environmental allergy, but we proceed by inference to rule out other known allergies. Thus, we know that atopic dermatitis in cats is not linked:
- To a parasite
- To a mushroom
- To food
- To overreact to flea bites
- The dust of our homes
- House mites
- Cat and dog hair
- Rodent urine
- Allergens naturally released by pets
- Mold spores
On the other hand, we sometimes find markers of aero-allergens, that is to say that we can frequently find in the air around us. Environmental allergens can be numerous and some of the most common are:
Affected cats then develop hypersensitivity to environmental allergens. The most egregious cases alert owners who must consult the veterinarian.
This chronic disease manifests itself through several symptoms and sometimes goes unnoticed …
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis in cats
Like the majority of allergies, atopic dermatitis is impossible to prevent and there are many allergenic factors. Unlike food allergy, where removing food may be enough to cure the disease, environmental allergy is multifactorial, and simply cleaning your home is not enough to overcome it.
It triggers several symptoms in our friends cats, among which:
- Pruritus, which is an unpleasant itching sensation
- Excessive grooming, licking, or scratching
- Possible depilation of certain areas of the body (stomach, legs)
- The possible appearance of lesions (neck, neck)
- Abnormal redness (ears, lips, paws, genital area)
In addition, environmental allergy can be accompanied by conjunctivitis, rhinitis, or even asthma depending on the season, spring and autumn being conducive to the appearance of pollens.
But cats are secretive and secretive animals, which makes this chronic disease difficult for their owners to identify. It’s not easy to see that your cat licks itself more than usual even though it grooms itself regularly.
This is why only the most serious cases are detected, even though it is estimated that half of the feline population is subject to various allergies.
Diagnosis of environmental allergy in felines
Cat owners usually see the vet when symptoms are obvious. They noticed hair loss or abnormal redness on various parts of their mustached friend’s body.
To establish the diagnosis, the veterinarian carefully observes the condition of the animal’s coat. Then it proceeds by elimination. He first checks that the cat is not a carrier of parasites or fungi.
Then he rules out the possibility of a food allergy by dieting. The latter consists in feeding the cat only with certain foods, available in veterinary clinics or in household ration prepared by the masters.
If no known cause of allergy can explain the allergy from which your cat suffers, then the diagnosis of atopy or environmental allergy falls. It is then advisable to treat this chronic disease to improve the quality of life of your companion.
The goal of veterinary treatments is to spare your cat from painful itching and possible acts of self-harm.
How to treat the cat’s environmental allergy?
Depending on your pet’s symptoms, their degree of severity and any related complications, the veterinarian may choose to put your cat on treatment, or on the contrary decide that it is better for his health to leave things as they are. .
As in humans, some treatments can be overwhelming and lead to side effects, which depend on your cat’s tolerance to medications and their general health.
Usually, medical treatment can be given as a subcutaneous injection through an injection, or orally with tablets or capsules. Most often, treatments for environmental allergy are based on cortisone or antiallergics.
On the side of natural treatments, you can ensure that you have the cleanest possible environment. This involves a great cleaning of your interior and regular maintenance by having a house that is always clean. Also dust as often as possible.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids may also have beneficial effects on your cat. Not only will they calm the itching, but they will also help the skin and the coat to regain suppleness and shine. Salmon oil is particularly indicated at the rate of one teaspoon per day. And good news, our cats love it!
Finally, other natural treatments, based on probiotics or silicon for example, constitute an interesting alternative to medicinal treatments. But it is advisable to approach your veterinarian and never to self-medicate on your animal before having obtained his opinion.
The treatment of environmental allergy is done over the long term and gives good results. Only cases resulting in serious complications and suffering for your cat require extensive veterinary monitoring.