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.
Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
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