How to Manage Cat Allergies

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Allergies are common in cats, and they are most often presented through skin problems. Find out how identifying a cat's allergy is the first step in getting rid of allergy symptoms with help from a veterinarian in this free video on managing cat allergies.

Part of the Video Series: Cat Health
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Video Transcript

Hi I am Dr. Carrie Burhenn, and I am a veterinarian at the Feline Medical Clinic in Vancouver, Washington. And I am here today to give you a little information about cat allergies. Allergies are very common in cats as it turns out. They are often sometimes confused with upper respiratory infections, which are from a different cause. Very rarely do cats actually sneeze when they have allergies just like us. More often allergies in cats present as skin problems, and again these are very common in cats. Managing the allergy can sometimes be quite tricky, especially if it is difficult to find the cause. But that is where we actually have to start. If we can find out what is causing the allergy many times we can control the signs by decreasing the actual cause of the allergy in the first place. This may require a couple of test by your veterinarian. Things as common as a skin scrapping or a stool sample will give an indication sometimes why cats may be allergic. Doing a check for fleas, common outside parasites, even mice or mites can cause allergies in cats or an allergic type reactions. Foods also can cause allergies in cats, and these are very common skin irritations, and can have rashes anywhere on the cats body. Again finding the actual cause can sometimes be almost as much work as managing the allergy itself. But it can be rewarding if you do find the cause, especially if it is a food that can be avoided or parasites that can be eliminated. There is a third cause of allergies in cats though, and this is actually molds or pollens that are inhaled from the air. And cats can be very reactive to those just like ourselves, but again unlike human beings who sneeze when we have allergies cats will tend to react through their skin. So what we have found is managing a cats allergies is going to be finding out what the cause is whether it is actually a parasite, a skin problem that is actually a contact allergy, a food, or a mold or a pollen that is causing an inhaled type allergy. Once those problems have been actually determined then you can treat more specifically. You can use anti-histamines to sometimes treat some of the signs. Steroids may be required, but usually prescribed by a certified dermatologist, because they do not cure the allergy they simply control it's signs. And again it is always better to actually stop the allergy rather than just simply covering up the signs. I hope this has help today, and what it should actually do is help you if you think your cat has an allergy to talk to your veterinarian about seeing if there is a definite cause that can be actually treated and eliminated.

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