by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

When a person has allergies, everyone knows it. They sniffle, rub their red noses constantly and complain about how miserable they are.

Cats, on the other hand, are more stoic.

They tend to wait until everyone has left the room before undertaking the demeaning process of chewing themselves raw. When my own cat developed allergies at 6 years of age, he managed to lose almost all of the hair on his belly and the inside of his thighs -- without me ever catching him in the act of chewing.

It's easy to forget that our pets are just as susceptible to allergies as we are. Even indoor-only cats are not immune to allergic disease. They can develop sensitivities to mold, mildew and dust mites. It is common for these indoor allergies to flare up in the autumn when pets and people are spending more time indoors.

If you suspect that your cat has allergies, the first step is to take a trip to the vet. Some cats respond to dietary changes and environmental modifications such as HEPA filters in the house. The serious cases may need steroid injections in order to be comfortable.

Whatever the cause, if you think your cat has allergies, don't wait to get him or her seen by a veterinarian. By the time you begin to notice, they have probably been suffering for a while. They may be a bit of a challenge to manage, but most cats with allergies can be kept quite comfortable with treatment.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a small-animal veterinarian from San Diego.

 

 

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Pets | Cats: Allergies: Caring for Your Cat This Fall