Spring allergens can play havoc with your cat's nose, eyes and skin just as much as they can with yours. Keeping your cat indoors during allergy season can help reduce the severity of his symptoms, with a little assistance from your veterinarian to ease your pet's suffering.
Seasonal allergies in your cat are caused by many of the same inhalants that assault your nose as spring arrives. Pollens from various plants and trees, mold and dust mites are the most common types of allergens, and can all turn your cat into a sneezy, itchy and watery-eyed mess. Some cats are affected by numerous allergens, meaning you could remove all traces of pollen from the home but still have dust mites to set your pet's allergies off.
Your cat's allergy symptoms will mostly manifest through respiratory, topical and intestinal signs. Skin irritation is a common symptom, causing your pet to scratch and chew feverishly to ease the maddening itch. You may also notice your cat wheezing, sneezing or coughing, or developing a runny nose or watery eyes. Stomach problems can also signal a seasonal allergy, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Because all the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies can be caused by a host of other issues, diagnosing seasonal allergies requires a barrage of tests to rule out other problems. Your veterinarian will run tests on your cat's skin and blood to determine what your cat is allergic to and eliminate other conditions such as infections.
The best and least expensive treatment is preventing the allergen from making contact with your cat, which can be easier said than done, depending on what your cat's allergens are. If pollen sets him off, keep him inside during times of high pollen counts and keep the windows closed. Desensitization involves exposing the cat to his allergens in slowly increasing amounts to help him become acclimatized to them, thereby eliminating his body's reaction. Oral medications prescribed by your veterinarian can help reduce the severity of symptoms.
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