You may be facing an unusual cat health problem, known as cat allergy. No, I am not talking about humans beings allergic to cats; I mean cats themselves begin allergic to different allergens. Your cat's immune system may react with allergens in the environment and lead to allergy symptoms. These allergy symptoms in cats include intense itching in either one part of the body or generalized allergy. You may observe your cat continuously scratching and itching her fur. In some cases, the cat may develop a respiratory symptoms like coughing, sneezing and wheezing. You may sometimes observe nasal or eye discharge. A few cats tend to develop vomiting or diarrhea due to allergic reaction to allergens in cat food. The vet may try out different treatment options to treat cat allergy. If nothing else works, the vet may suggest allergy shots. Like every loving and concerned pet parent, you may think twice about trying out allergy injections. Let us go into the details of allergy shots for pet allergies in the following paragraphs.
Types of Cat Allergies
A cat may develop allergies due to different types of allergens. These allergies are due to flea bites, contact allergens, cat food allergies as well as inhalation of cat allergens. Many cats develop allergy to flea saliva. A bite from the cat flea may trigger mild or severe itching. The itching is so intense that the cat may continue to itch till it causes open sores on skin. Contact allergies occur when the cat comes in contact with allergens like wool, bedding, etc. Most of the seasonal allergies are due to inhalation of allergens. These allergens include pollens, molds, mildew or dust mite. Food allergies arise when the immune system reacts with certain chemicals or ingredients of commercial cat food. So, you never know what may trigger an allergic reaction in your cat's body.
Treatment of Cat Allergies
When the vet diagnosis the condition as cat allergy, he may try to determine the type of allergen. Some cats may develop allergies to cat food, so the vet may suggest a change in feline diet. If the cat has developed seasonal allergy, he may advice keeping the cat indoors as much as possible. The doctor may prescribe antihistamines and hypoallergenic shampoos to control the allergies. Sometimes, cats are given steroids to stop a severe allergic reaction. However, steroids are not feasible for long term treatment plans. These steroids may cause hyperactivity, liver problems and other health issues in cats. If none of these the above treatment plans work, the doctor may suggest allergy shots for cat.
Cat Allergy Shots
Cats and dogs with allergies are prescribed allergy shots for pet allergies. These shots are also known as hyposensitization. This means the cat is injected with antigen specific injections weekly. This helps in sensitizing the cat's body to the allergen. First the doctor may carry out certain tests to narrow down on the proteins that trigger the allergic reaction in cats. When the specific protein is identified it is made into a solution. This solution is injected into the cat's body in small doses once a week. The idea is to allow the body become used to the protein and become less reactive to it. This may help reduce the severity of the reaction to the allergens. The cat allergy shots is used only in case of inhalant or airborne allergies. This method is not recommended for cat food allergies.
Like any medical treatment, there are risks involved. Side effects may arise if the body develops allergic reaction to the antigen injected. Some cats may develop redness and pain at the site of injection. One needs to observe the cat closely after a cat allergy shot. This is because the cat may develop severe allergic reaction like hives, panting and heavy breathing. These side effects require immediate medical attention.
Do These Shots Work?
Before you begin allergy shots for pet allergies, you need to know if it really works. This is because the cost of these shots are really expensive than conventional treatment. Also, you need to give these shots every eek for about 6 to 12 months. According to studies, it has been found cat allergy shots work in about 75% of the cases. So, there is a fair chance, your pet cat does react to the injections and is desensitized.
As a pet parent, one is worried about the health of their animal friends. Speak to the vet in detail regarding the allergy shots for pet cats. You may have to try to eliminate the allergens from the environment and if this is not possible, give medications to control the reactions. You need to take good cat care to reduce the number of allergic episodes. Hope the above information is useful in deciding if cat allergy shots is the solution for your cat's condition.