Friday, 26 Sep, 2014
A Tale of Two Kitties: Cat Allergies

These two beautiful kittens are Chef (black kitten) and Teekay (orange kitten) who arrived at Langley Animal Protection (LAPS) as part of the ‘Kitten Round-up’ in August. 

Super Foster Mom, Shelly welcomed the litter into Tinykittens HQ and she soon noticed that the Teekay and Chef had problems with the skin on their face. 

She brought them in to Mountain View to find out what was causing the issue. After a thorough exam and an initial evaluation of the affected areas, biopsy’s were taken. Chef’s biopsy revealed allergic dermatitis (allergy that affects the skin), while Teekay’s biopsy revealed Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (an immune response that acts like an allergy). 

To ensure that these kittens were healthy and to make it easier for them to find their furever families, LAPS, Tinykittens and Mountain View teamed-up to get the allergic conditions under control. The great news is that they have both been adopted - yay! We are sharing their treatment plan to help you learn more about feline allergies, and show how good communication with your veterinarian makes feline allergies very manageable. First some background:

 

What is an allergy?

When the body over reacts to a typically harmless substance in the environment.

Are cat allergies different than human allergies?

While humans typically sniffle, sneeze and have watery eyes, cats more commonly show skin problems.

Common types of feline allergic conditions

1. Food allergies caused by sources such as chicken, fish, corn, wheat, soy, etc..
 
2. Airborne allergies (also known as atopy allergies) caused by grasses, pollens, house dust mites, molds, smoke, etc..
 
3. Flea allergies (Note: A flea allergy only requires the bite of a single flea to trigger intense itchiness for 2 to 3 weeks).
 
4. Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex, which comes in 3 forms: 

  1. ulcer - often around the upper lip;
  2. plaque - often on thighs or under belly; or,
  3. granuloma - often found on thighs or around mouth.

Initial plan and management strategy

Despite the fact that Chef and Teekay have two different types of allergic conditions, the approach to diagnosis and treatment is the same for all feline allergic conditions. The end-goal is also the same: to find the underlying trigger for the condition, not just mask symptoms!

1. Start with a conversation with your veterinarian and get a thorough history and physical exam.
 
2. Discuss doing a skin scraping and/or a skin biopsy.
 
3. Make sure fleas are being completely ruled out as a source of irritation.
 
4. Start a diet trial with a novel (never fed before) protein source for 8-10 weeks with no cheating! 
 
5. Regular communication with your veterinarian to let them know what is working, and what is not working.
 
6. Your veterinarian may also recommend antibiotics, steroids and other medications such as cyclosporine to help get the condition under control.

Next steps for Chef and Teekay

Both are about to begin a food trial with Royal Canin HP-hydrolysed protein to ensure the food is hypoallergenic, this diet supports the skin barrier and has fatty acids to maintain healthy skin. Thank you Royal Canin!

For further information on feline allergies click on the links below or talk to your veterinarian. For more information on how you can support the wonderful work of Langley Animal Protection and Tinykittens, visit Langley Animal Protection Society and Tiny Kittens.

American SPCA

Veterinary Partner

The Merck Veterinary Manual - Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex in Cats

The Merck Veterinary Manual - Feline Atopic Dermatitis