Cat Allergy Testing
Cat Allergy Testing
Cats have allergies, just as humans do. The problem with allergies in cats is getting them properly diagnosed. Unless a veterinarian is experienced in allergy testing, chances are you will have to find an animal dermatologist or a veterinarian in a larger metropolitan area to have the testing done.
Types of Tests
Blood tests can be performed. Unfortunately these tests were designed for humans and cannot always determine the cause in cats. The allergens circulate differently in cats than they do in humans. This can result in many false positive diagnoses.
Skin tests are the most accurate way to determine allergies in cats. The veterinarian will sedate the cat and shave a portion of the abdomen. Specific allergens are injected in very small doses in a prescribed arrangement. After a few hours, the site is inspected. If, at that time, there is any reaction to the allergens it can be determined if it is severe enough to be considered a true allergy.
Why use blood tests
There are some circumstances that prohibit the skin tests to be performed. Some of these are:
• The skin is too unhealthy
• The cat has been on steroids for prolonged periods and cannot tolerate withdrawal
• The cat is too young
• There is no intradermal testing available
• It can also be used to rule out some potential allergens to make the skin testing more limited
When to Test
Any allergy testing whether intradermal or blood tests should be done when Cat Allergies are at their worst. This is especially true if the allergies are seasonal.
Before the cat is tested the vet should do a diagnostic workup to determine possible causes. Cat Flea Allergy Dermatitis, yeast infections and chronic infections must be eliminated. Also the thyroid tests need to be run to rule out Cat Hypothyroidism.
If your cat suffers from allergies for extended periods of time and has not responded to localized treatment, allergy tests should be done.
Mild or intermittent allergies may be treated with medications and dietary changes.
Before a cat is subjected to allergy testing, the cat’s owner needs to be aware of the amount of time it will take to complete the treatment and also to the cost of the testing and treatment. It can take quite awhile to finish the testing and treatment. This can be quite costly.
Once the cat has had the tests performed and in fact has been found to have allergies, the treatment begins. As with humans, there are allergy shots that your cat can have. These are the allergens that have been identified and are mixed into a formula that will decrease their sensitivity to the allergens.
These shots will be given over a period of time that can stretch into months. After the initial treatment is completed, booster shots may be required from time to time.
Hypoallergenic diets are often prescribed. This can be prescription diets or homemade foods. It is also important to note that these allergy tests should not be the initial testing for Cat Food Allergies. It is a long process, but one that your cat will certainly appreciate.