What to do with severe cat allergies

For homes with sensitive individuals, the best way to protect indoor air quality is to remove the animal from the home. However, pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because the allergens remain in home dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take weeks or even months to improve. 1

If the pet stays in the home, hold it out of the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or allergies. Do not permit the pet on furniture, especially upholstery, and hold the pet away from carpets.

Clean the home often and do not permit dust to accumulate.


Page Final Updated: July 1,

How Do You Control Pet Allergens?

For homes with sensitive individuals, the best way to protect indoor air quality is to remove the animal from the home. However, pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because the allergens remain in home dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take weeks or even months to improve. 1

If the pet stays in the home, hold it out of the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or allergies. Do not permit the pet on furniture, especially upholstery, and hold the pet away from carpets.

Clean the home often and do not permit dust to accumulate.


Page Final Updated: July 1,

Karen Commings

Does interacting with your feline companion bring tears of agony instead of tears of joy? In addition to itchy, watery eyes, do you exhibit other symptoms such as runny nose, rash, hives, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, asthma or other breathing problems?

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Like an estimated 2 percent of the U.S.

What to do with severe cat allergies

population, you suffer from an allergy to cats and, love about one-third of those people, youve chosen to hold your cat companion. But at what cost?

Contrary to favorite belief, cat hair itself is not allergenic. The cause of allergy to cats is a protein called Fel d 1 emanating from sebum found in the sebaceous glands of cats. The protein attaches itself to dried skin, called dander, that flakes off and floats through the air when cats wash themselves. Although you may never be capable to eliminate every your allergy symptoms, following these suggestions can assist make living with your cat a more enjoyable experience.

  • Designate your bedroom as a cat-free zone.

    Start your program of allergen reduction by washing bedding, drapes and pillows. Better yet, replace them. Use plastic covers that are designed to prevent allergens from penetrating on your mattress and pillows. Allergen-proof covers are available from medical supply outlets. Dont expect results overnight. Cat allergens are one-sixth the size of pollens, and it may take months to reduce them significantly.

  • Wipe the dander away.

    What to do with severe cat allergies

    Bathing a cat often is suggested as a way to reduce the dander, but experts disagree on its effectiveness. Bathing a cat was once believed to be helpful, tell Dr. Robert Zuckerman, an allergy and asthma specialist in Harrisburg, PA, but the cat would own to be washed almost daily. Instead, daily use of products such as Pals Quick Cleansing Wipes™ will remove saliva and dander from your cats hair and are less stressful for felines who prefer not to be rubbed in the tub.

  • Look at the whole picture. Because allergies rarely come individually wrapped, other culprits, such as dust mites and pollen, may be causing reactions, too.

    An individual rarely has a single allergy, says Zuckerman. A cat owner may be capable to tolerate contact with the cat in winter, but when spring arrives, every the allergies together may prove unbearable.

  • Get some unused air. Highly insulated homes trap allergens as well as heat, so open the windows to increase the ventilation in your home, and run window fans on exhaust. (But remember to always screen windows so kitty stays safely indoors.) Also, clean the air inside your home.

    Although nothing will remove every of the allergens present, running an air cleaner with a HEPA filter will help.

  • Spray allergens away. Anti-allergen sprays are a convenient way to deactivate allergens, including those produced by pets. Allersearch ADS, made from plant-based, non-toxic substances, can be sprayed throughout the home to take the sting out of household dust by rendering allergens harmless.
  • Restrict your cats access to designated areas inside your home. If you own a safe outdoor enclosure, permit your cat some time exterior where dander will waft away in the wind. Brush your cat in the fresh-air enclosure to prevent loose, allergen-carrying hair from dispersing through your home.
  • Clean the cat box.

    Cat allergen is found in urine and is left in the litter box when your cat makes a deposit. To assist prevent allergic reactions to the litter box, use a brand of litter that is less dusty and own someone in the household who is not allergenic clean the box.

  • Get tested. An allergy specialist can determine the exact source of your allergic reactions by a simple prick of the skin on your arm or back.
  • Take your medicine. Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops and aerosol inhalers will assist reduce the symptoms, although they do not eliminate the allergy.

    If you prefer to take a holistic approach, attempt Nettle tea, a bioflavinoid called quercetin or acupuncture. In recent studies antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E own demonstrated significant anti-allergen effects.

  • Eliminate allergen traps such as upholstered furniture and rugs.

    What to do with severe cat allergies

    Carpet can accumulate up to times the quantity of cat allergens as hardwood flooring, so replacing the wall-to-wall with wood will hold allergens from accumulating as much. If ripping up the carpet is not an option, own it steam cleaned as often as needed.

  • Vacuuming blows as numerous allergens through the air as it removes, so when you vacuum, use an allergen-proof vacuum cleaner bag or a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter.
  • Build up resistance. There is no cure for allergy to cats, but immunotherapy may assist increase your tolerance. Immunotherapy involves getting allergy shots once or twice weekly for up to six months, then monthly boosters for three to five years.

    Some individuals develop finish immunity, while others continue to need shots, and still others discover no relief at all.

Coping with an allergy to cats is nothing to sneeze at. Its a commitment. After every, shelters get cats for this reason every day. Hopefully, following these tips will make a world of difference.

Karen Commings is the author of Manx Cats (Barrons, ), The Shorthaired Cat and Shelter Cats (Howell Book Home, and , respectively).

Courtesy of
ASPCA
East 92nd St.
New York, NY
()

Coping with an allergy to cats is nothing to sneeze at. Its a commitment.

What to do with severe cat allergies

After every, shelters get cats for this reason every day. Hopefully, following these tips will make a world of difference.

Karen Commings is the author of Manx Cats (Barrons, ), The Shorthaired Cat and Shelter Cats (Howell Book Home, and , respectively).

Courtesy of
ASPCA
East 92nd St.
New York, NY
()


How Do Pet Allergens Affect Health?

Some people are allergic to pets or own asthma that is triggered by pet allergens. For these individuals, breathing animal allergens can make respiratory symptoms worse and lead to a decline in the ability of the lungs to function.

The concentrations of an allergen required to cause a reaction vary greatly by individual. 1

People with allergies may experience upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms including congestion, sneezing, runny nose, chest tightness and wheezing. Other symptoms are itching, watery eyes, and eczema or rashes. 1


Which Animals Pose the Biggest Problems?

Cats are kept as pets in 27 percent of homes in the United States and dogs are found in 32 percent. However, roughly twice as numerous people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs.

Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear. 1

Animals with fur may be more likely to carry allergens from other sources, love dust, but the fur itself is generally not a trigger. For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat. 1


Main allergy symptoms

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  1. sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
  2. a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  3. tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
  4. wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
  5. itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
  6. swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
  7. dry, red and cracked skin

The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.

What to do with severe cat allergies

For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.

See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something. They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.

Read more about diagnosing allergies.


Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November
Next review due: 22 November

  1. Cats live in a quarter of Western households.
  2. Allergies to them are common and can be dangerous.
  3. A new approach targets the primary trouble-causing allergen.

Many cat lovers struggle with cat allergies that range from sniffles and runny noses to more severe reaction reactions that can send a felinophile racing to the ER.

For some, anti-allergy medications suffice, though they’re not without side effects — others just suffer the symptoms in exchange for the privilege of having a cat in their families. (Certainly their cats consider it a privilege.) Some people simply stay away from cats.

This is may every soon change, though. This month, researchers in Zürich published preclinical data in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that offers a diverse type of solution: a vaccination.

Not for you. For the cat.

Neutralizing Fel d 1

A cat playing in a yard in Beijing, China. Photo credit: Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

According to the paper, cats live in about 25 percent of households in Western countries, and allergies to them afflict about 10 percent of nearby humans. The most common cat allergen is called «Fel d 1,» largely produced by a cat’s sebaceous glands and found in feline saliva, anal glands, sebaceous glands, skin, and fur.

Fel-CuMVTT, to be marketed as HypoCat™ vaccine by Swiss company HypoPet, was developed through a collaboration between researchers at the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, in Riga, and the veterinary school at the University of Zürich — along with scientists at the Functional Genomics Middle Zürich.

How the vaccine works

Image source: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

The vaccine brings together recombinant Fel d 1 with a virus-like particle (or «VLP») derived from the cucumber mosaic virus.

«We are extremely pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat™ vaccine is capable to produce high levels of antibodies in cats and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,» says Dr. Gary Jennings, HypoPet CEO.

Cats treated with the vaccine were found to be less likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans exposed to them. The vaccine is also reported to own been «well tolerated without any overt toxicity» for the feline test subjects.

The published data is culled from four separate studies that involved 54 cats.

A double benefit

Image source: Mettus / Shutterstock

The benefits of an effective cat-allergy treatment are two-fold. First off, these allergies are not only annoying — and sometimes much more than that — but a cat allergy in kids living with felines is understood to be a strong factor in the development of childhood asthma. A simple three-dose course of vaccine — as istered in the testing — could alleviate cat-owners’ suffering and the risk to young ones.

Households with allergy sufferers, especially children, often discover themselves forced to evict a beloved family member, a traumatic experience for every concerned, and a leading cause of cat abandonment.

According to HypoCat, U.S. shelters take in million cats annually — million of these are eventually euthanized.

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Studies own shown that food allergies overall are the third most common type of feline allergy, outranked in frequency only by allergies to flea bites and inhaled substances. Although itchy, irritating skin problems are the most common signs of this allergy, an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of affected cats also exhibit gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

The itching that typically signals the presence of a food allergy is caused by the eruption of little, pale, fluid-filled lumps on a cat’s skin, which form in response to the presence of an allergen, a substance to which the animal’s system is abnormally sensitive.

“The itching eruptions primarily affect the head and neck area,” says Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, a lecturer in clinical sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“They’re not always in that area, but often enough to serve as a clue that the source is a food allergy.”

In themselves, the aggravating lesions do not pose a significant health hazard. But the incessant scratching that they immediate may cause secondary skin wounds and a resulting vulnerability to severe bacterial infection. In addition, gastrointestinal problems stemming from a food allergy may own far-reaching systemic implications, including food avoidance that can result in health-compromising weight loss.

The most visible signs of a food allergy—the persistent scratching, the emergence of skin lesions, loss of hair, and a general deterioration of the coat—do not develop overnight.

Instead, they tend to become evident and intensify over extended periods of time—months or even longer—as the animal’s immune system gradually mounts a defense against certain protein and carbohydrate molecules that are present in most standard cat foods.

What to do with severe cat allergies

“We don’t know why this allergy develops,” says Dr. McDaniel. “A cat of any age can be affected, and it can happen in a cat that has been on the same diet for years.”

When the signs appear, a cat should get immediate veterinary care. If a food allergy is indeed suspected, the specific allergen should be identified and removed from the animal’s diet.

After other potential causes of the skin eruptions, such as flea bites, are ruled out and a food allergy is identified as the probable cause of the clinical signs, the next challenge is to identify what precisely in the cat’s diet is responsible for the problem.

This process will most effectively be carried out at home by the owner’s introduction of what is termed a “novel” diet, which is based on the fact that most feline food allergies are traceable to the protein or carbohydrate content of an affected animal’s normal fare.

The most commonly used protein sources in cat food include beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Since protein is a fundamental component of living cells and is necessary for the proper functioning of an organism, the novel diet must contain protein—but it must be derived from a source to which an affected cat has not been previously exposed, such as venison or kangaroo meat.

What to do with severe cat allergies

Since the same holds true for carbohydrates, the vegetables that are frequently used in cat foods—wheat, barley, and corn, for instance—would be excluded from the novel diet and replaced by, for example, potato.

If a cat consumes nothing but the novel diet and water for a period of at least eight to 10 weeks, it is likely that the allergic signs will gradually vanish. In that case, the owner can assume that the allergen was a component of the previous diet. And to identify the specific offending allergen, the owner subsequently reintroduces components of the cat’s original diet one by one and watches carefully for the reemergence of allergic symptoms.

If the symptoms recur, they will probably do so within a week or two, in which case the owner will own confirmed at least one source of the allergy.

Through repeated systematic testing—and a lot of patience—it is possible for the owner to pinpoint every dietary ingredients to which a cat is allergic. Therapy, it follows, requires the permanent exclusion of these ingredients from the cat’s diet.

What Is Pet Dander?

Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers.

These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.

Additional allergy triggers or allergens come from sources other than the animal’s skin.

What to do with severe cat allergies

Proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people. The most common allergies are caused by the Fel d I protein from cats and the Can f I and Can f II proteins from dogs. Dried saliva containing allergens may flake off from an animal’s fur and become airborne, where it is inhaled by the allergic person. Dust from dried feces can be suspended in the same way. 1


How Do Pet Allergens Occur?

Pet allergens are extremely light weight and little. They remain suspended in the air for a endless time, much longer than allergens from cockroaches or dust mites.

Because of their microscopic size and jagged shape, pet allergens easily stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics and numerous items carried into and out of the home. Animal dander is easily spread through the home and out to public places love schools and hospitals. 1 They can be found even in homes and buildings without pets. 1


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