Introduction and Study of Cat Allergies

Allergies in our cats are just as important as in our canine friends; they can just be harder to detect. Dogs with allergies usually show pet health symptoms such as intense itching, hair loss and sores. The symptoms of allergies in cats can be similar to dogs except for the most major symptom of intense itching. Cats do have the hair loss and the sores on the skin but lack the scratching.

Most causes for pet allergies are common: 80 percent of dogs are allergic to airborne particles, 15 percent fleas, and five percent to food. Cats are a lot different. The biggest pet health offender on the kitty side is fleas, probably as much as 80 percent of cats are allergic to fleabites. This is a major concern for cats that can be very hard to detect. Cats are meticulous groomers and can erase the signs of fleas with their tongues and their constant licking. Flea allergies lead to a syndrome known as feline military dermatitis. This process begins with fleabites, which leads to scratching, but this can be very subtle. Due to the allergies the immune system can go haywire and ignore other problems. So, after the scratching begins the skin’s surface is broken and normal bacteria called staphylococcus hop into the open wounds. Pinpoint sores develop along common scratching points of the neck and tail head. This skin infection just makes the overall allergy complex worse and causes even more problems as the infection spreads and leads to hair loss and new sores.

Feline military dermatitis and allergies can be a very common problem in pet health, particularly your cat’s health, but can look similar to other infections. Skin parasites can cause very similar sores and usually have more intense itching. Doing a skin scrape and examining it under a microscope is the only way to identify the parasites such as sarcoptic mange. Ringworm is a fungus that reflects the same symptoms as allergies in cats and like sarcoptic mange it can also infect humans. Ringworm causes sores around the ears, head, and feet. There is also a simple test for this fungus. Cats can also have baldness and occasional sores due to their constant licking behavior. It is up to your vet to determine what is ailing your pet health. Finally, there are also other bacterial infections that can look similar to feline military dermatitis. Once the diagnosis is made for allergies the next issue becomes is how to treat the problem and keep it from arising again. If the problem is severe enough we have to use steroids to control the allergy and antibiotics to stop the infection.

Sometimes steroids can get the body back in balance and allow the infection to go away on its own. But far more important is flea control within your household, backyard and on your pet. There are many good products out there; some that are topical medications that kills fleas, intestinal parasites, heartworms, and mites so it is a great all parasite-killer. Watch out for some over-the-counter medications that contain pyrethrins because in common dosages they can cause a seizure disorder, cripple pet health or even cause the timely death in cats. Remember treating allergies can be frustrating and costly, but keeping the fleas off our pets is the only way to prevent the allergy from returning again.


3 comments so far

  1. Anettheve on

    🙂 Watched attentively by big sisters Maud and Leah the newest member of the Norwegian royal family has been captured in homely shots used by proud parents Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn to introduce her to the world.

  2. Pat Croff on

    My female cat has licked about 4 spots on her chest and now they are raw looking. We have another cat that has had no problems and they are both indoor cats. We took her to the Vet and he gave her a cortizone shot that took care of the problem for two months but ended up costing me $85.00. And now it is back. For four years we have treated the flea problem with Advantage but now my husband is afraid she is allergic to the medication. We cannot keep getting her cortizone shots. Please someone help me with information. Pat

  3. Carla Alvear on

    My cat has been diagnosed with Feline Milary Dermatitis and I am having a really hard time managing it. The problem is that it’s been very difficult pinpointing what the actual cause is. We changed my cats diet to not include any fish. We have also been applying frontline on a monhtly basis. What happens is I will take her to the vet when I can see that my cat is just miserably uncomfortable … she will get the steroid shot, I will give her all her antibiotics and she will heal, but in a matter of maybe 1-3 months, she is back to square one (bumps throughout her body) and it gets progressively worse. She has just over the past 2 days started to throw up hair balls, which is another factor that usually plays into all this. I am going to bathe her, apply frontline and also try changting her diet out completely (just plain chicken and rice). I will see if we have any results, but I have a feeling that regardless of what i do, I will end up having to take her to the vet again for a steroid shot. I am writing because this cycle has grown expensive, but worst of all, i can’t stand seeing my cat uncomfortable in her own skin. Does anyone out there have any suggestions or a similar experience in which you can offer any HELP to this cat mom who is tired and stressed out!

    Thank you.
    Carla Alvear

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