Anaphylaxis Symptoms in Cats

Anaphylaxis symptoms in cats may develop following an insect bite, a vaccine, the administration of a drug or contact with an allergen. The symptoms will include the swelling of the air passages, preventing the cat from breathing normally. Anaphylaxis shock is rare in felines, but should be recognized, as they can be fatal.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis in Cats

Cats that are sensitive to different factors will manifest through common symptoms such as sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges, skin irritation or breathing difficulties. These symptoms may be experienced at the beginning of the allergic reactions. The cat's allergies may worsen and the cat may develop anaphylaxis. Cats that develop anaphylaxis will display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Inflammation of the paws
  • Swelling of the head
  • Breathing problems caused by constricted air passages, which are narrowed by inflammatory cells
  • White gums and other mucous membranes
  • Sudden fainting, due to the lack of oxygen
  • Seizures with frequent drooling
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma, if the anaphylaxis is not detected and the dog goes more than five minutes without oxygen

These symptoms require immediate attention, as the cat can die within less than 10 minutes after the symptoms start to occur. The cat may be deprived of oxygen and even if he does not die, the brain may be damaged if it doesn't get air for more than five minutes.

Emergency Procedures for Anaphylaxis in Cats

If your cat displays the anaphylaxis symptoms for the first time, you will have to help him breathe until you get to an emergency vet clinic. The cat will need oxygen and an injection containing epinephrine, a substance that will reduce the swelling instantly. You must know that the condition is urgent and if you fail to bring your pet to a clinic, he may die. If your pet has already had an anaphylactic shock, you have to carry an epi-pen or an epinephrine dose with you and administer it when you notice the first symptoms.

Triggers of Anaphylaxis in Felines

In felines, anaphylaxis may be triggered by different factors that interact with the immune system. The immune system responds negatively to these stimuli and produces inflammatory cells that will result in anaphylaxis symptoms. Common factors triggering an anaphylactic shock include:

  • Allergens such as grasses, dust mites, flea bites, chemicals, smoke
  • Insect bites (i.e., ticks)
  • Contact with plastic or different metals
  • Drugs
  • Vaccinations

If you know your pet may be allergic or may develop an anaphylactic shock, you should detect the possible triggers and avoid these as much as possible. Keep a notebook with your pet's anaphylaxis triggers and give it to any person that will pet sit for you. You should also have an epinephrine shot at hand, for any emergency situations.

The cat should get a long term treatment that will train his immune system and reduce the possibility of future anaphylactic shocks.