Cat Skin Allergies | Treatment Options - PetWave
An additional cat skin problem is that cats can also be allergic to fleas and flea bites. There are a whole range of symptoms that can manifest on the skin in this type of situation. The cat can bite or pull at their skin and fur. Skin lesions that look like small, red, inflamed, raised plaques, hair loss (alopecia) or oozing raised plaque like lesions that are moist (acute moist dermatitis or hot spot). This condition can sometimes be seasonal, depending on your geographic location, with more issue in the summer and spring seasons. Regular combing with a flea comb can help reduce the flea burden if it exists. I have seen cats have an entire whole body allergic reaction to just one flea bite. There are cats out there that are that sensitive to fleas and flea saliva. Obviously, keeping your cat indoors will almost eliminate this problem. One of the cat skin treatments for flea allergy dermatitis is the use of the monthly topical flea products. It is important to choose a product that both kills and repels fleas. Also, avoid any product that contains permethrin in cats.
The diagnosis of cat skin problems and cat skin treatments can be very challenging for your veterinarian. Generally, a variety of tests are performed before cat skin treatment can be determined. One of the most common cat skin problems is allergies. Cats can have inhalant allergies (atopy) and can be allergic to house dust, dust mites, trees, weeds, molds and pollens. This can manifest as sneezing, coughing, scratching, runny eyes or runny nose, for example. The best cat skin treatment for this type of cat skin problem is to avoid as much as possible the offensive allergens. Natural remedies for cats can be very simple. For example, if your cat goes outdoors it would be beneficial to wipe them down with a warm slightly damp wash cloth after returning into the house. This will help reduce the number of allergen particles that have adhered to the fur. It is also important to keep heating and air conditioning vents clean to keep the mold concentration low in the house. I recommend yearly professional cleaning of heat and air conditioning ducts if you have a pet that has inhalant (atopy) allergies.
Diagnosis is based primarily on medical history and clinical signs. If fleas or flea dirt are observed or if the cat is not on a flea preventive, the diagnosis is often presumed to be flea allergy. If another cause is suspected or if the condition does not respond to symptomatic flea treatment, skin scrapings, biopsies, serum IgE allergy tests, a hypoallergenic food trial or a referral to a veterinary dermatologist may be recommended. The treatment for feline allergies caused by fleas is obviously to use cat flea medicine. If your cat's skin is extremely traumatized, an additional cat medicine to decrease the itchiness and inflammation may be used temporarily. In this video from the Cat Health Guide on cat skin allergies, Dr. Patrick McHale, DVM describes the steps a veterinarian will take when diagnosing and treating a cat skin allergy problem (see for more information). With skin allergies in cats, the first step is to check for a flea problem. A veterinarian will look for signs such as black specks or "flea dirt." If this is the case then steps will be taken to kill the fleas and provide a preventative. If the cat is already on flea treatment, then the vet will look at feline skin allergy due to inhaled allergens or a food allergy. Any food component or ingredient can be the cause of an allergic skin reaction in a cat or kitten including something as common as fish. First a veterinarian will experiment with an elimination diet which seeks to identify the ingredient causing the problem. If it cannot be identified, then a hypoallergenic diet can be considered.Here’s something you probably didn’t know: There are more than 2,000 species of fleas. But the flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the one most often responsible for the misery of cats and dogs. And for some pets, fleas are not only an annoyance, they are also a source of an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). A pet that is allergic to flea saliva might scratch and chew at flea bites, and eventually suffer skin inflammation, hair loss, and sores. In addition to attending whatever sores or infections have resulted from the bites, treatment involves removing fleas from the pet and the pet’s environment — and keeping them off the pet and out of the pet’s living and play spaces.