Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy


or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Skin Inflammation Due to Allergies (Atopy) in Cats

Atopic Dermatitis in Cats 

 

Atopic Dermatitis is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease associated with allergies. These allergic reactions can be brought on by normally harmless substances like grass, mold spores, house dust mites, and other environmental allergens. 

 

Furthermore, dogs are more prone to atopic dermatitis than cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

 

Symptoms and Types 

 

Often symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis progressively worsen with time, though they become more apparent during certain seasons. The most commonly affected areas in cats include the: 

 

  • Ears
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Muzzle
  • Underarms
  • Groin
  • Around the eyes
  • In between the toes 

 

The signs associated with atopic dermatitis, meanwhile, consist of itching, scratching, rubbing, and licking, especially around the face, paws, and underarms.

 

Causes 

 

Early onset is often associated with a family history of skin allergies. This may lead the cat to become more susceptible to allergens such as:

 

  • Animal danders
  • Airborne pollens (grasses, weeds, trees, etc.)
  • Mold spores (indoor and outdoor)
  • House dust mite

 

Diagnosis
 

Your veterinarian will want a complete medical history to determine the underlying cause of the skin allergies, including a physical examination of the cat. Serologic allergy testing may be performed, but it does not always have reliable results. The quality of this kind of testing often depends on the laboratory which analyzes the results. Intradermal testing, whereby small amounts of test allergens are injected in the skin and wheal (a red bump) response is measured, may also used to identify the cause of your pet's allergic reaction.

 

 

Treatment 

 

The treatment will depend on what is causing your pet’s allergic reaction. If the reaction is due to atopy, for example, hyposensitization therapy can be performed. Your veterinarian will give your pet injections of the allergens to which it is sensitive.  This decreases itchiness in 60 to 80 percent of cats, but may approximately take six months to a year to see an improvement.

 

Medicines such as corticosteroids and antihistamines can also be given to control or reduce itching. Cyclosporine is effective in controlling itching associated with long-term skin allergies, while sprays can be used over large body surfaces to control itching with minimal side effects.

 

Living and Management 

 

Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis only rarely goes into remission or spontaneously resolves. However, bathing your cat in cool water with anti-itch shampoos may help your alleviate its symptoms.

 

Once treatment has begun, your veterinarian must see the cat every 2 to 8 weeks to ascertain the effectiveness of the treatment and to check for drug interactions. Then, as your pet's itching becomes well controlled, it will need to be brought into the veterinarian's office every 3 to 12 months for checkups. 

 

If your veterinarian should find the trigger for your pet's allergies, he or she will advise you as to how to best avoid those type of allergens.

 

 

Related Articles

Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats
An infestation of the cheyletiella mite is medically referred to as cheyletiellosis....
READ MORE
Acne in Cats
Some cats have a single episode of acne; many, have a life-long recurring problem....
READ MORE
Hair Loss in Cats
Search Hair Loss symptoms in Cats at Petmd.com. Search hair loss symptoms, causes,...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

PETMD POLL

What do you use to prevent ticks from feeding on your pet?

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM