Allergy in cats
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
In cats the most common types of allergies are flea allergy and atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis or feline atopy is a hereditary allergy whereby the animal is sensitive to airborne substances from the environment, such as pollens, mites, moulds and dander.
Common symptoms in allergic cats are pruritus, asthma, respiratory symptoms, acne, sneezing, watery eyes, ear infections, vomiting and diarrhoea. If a cat is already suffering from asthma, an environmental allergy often worsens the discomfort.
Feline atopy is underdiagnosed because a common symptom of atopic dermatitis in cats is over-grooming, which is mistaken for normal behaviour, or anxiety. When other triggers of the symptoms are ruled out, atopy is diagnosed.
The next step is to perform an allergy test to identify allergen sensitivities.
Pet Allergy Xplorer (PAX®) is the first commercial serological IgE-specific test that uses allergen extracts and molecular components to identify allergen sensitivities.
Molecular allergology is a state-of-the-art approach to the detection of sensitisations, whereby defined single allergen components are used for the determination of specific IgE in place of traditionally-used allergen extracts. The molecular components are purified or recombinant proteins that provide a higher level of standardisation than allergen extracts and enable a more precise identification of IgE sensitisations.
Although evidence for the treatment of feline atopy is scarce, it does show that immunotherapy has a 70% efficacy rate and is safe for long-term use.
Immunotherapy is the only treatment that will stop the allergy from progressing, by making the immune system less sensitive, or totally insensitive, to the allergen that trigger the allergic reaction.
There is only one licensed immunotherapy in Europe – Artuvertin® Therapy – making it the product of choice for cats under European medicines regulations.Allergy treatment
Key facts about atopic dermatitis
- Usually starts at a young age.
- Involves pruritus and can lead to severe and recurrent infections.
- Identifying the responsible allergens is crucial, as is the use of a high-quality, specific and sensitive IgE serum test.
- Requires lifelong treatment for which the recommended option is Immunotherapy.
- Artuvetrin® Therapy is the only licensed immunotherapy in Europe, and is therefore the recommended product for cats in accordance with European medicines regulations.