Cat Allergy Treatment Through Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is an ideal cat allergy treatment for the allergic owner who can't bear to part with her cats, no matter how much her pet's dander irritates her.

Symptoms of Allergies to Cats

The symptoms of allergies to cats are similar to those of most allergies. Sufferers will experience sneezing, runny nose, sinus headache and teary eyes. However, pet owners with cat allergies will also have skin rashes or hives as a result of contact. More serious cases of allergies affect the lungs, causing wheezing or shortness of breath. If you feel like you get upper respiratory infections more often than others, it may be a result of an allergy to your cat.

Though your doctor may assume that you have cat allergies if you have dermatitis, eye infections or asthma, and you own a cat, this may not be the case. Only an allergy test can tell for sure.

The severity of symptoms can determine what course of treatment is available to the owner. Severe symptoms as a result of a cat may leave no other choice than to adopt out your cat. However, humans with mild cat allergies may undergo immunotherapy treatment.

The Source of the Allergy

The allergen element of cat dander is a protein from the cat's sebaceous glands. The protein dries on the skin and is shed wherever the cat goes, and remains for years where the cat had been. Neutered male cats shed the least, while intact male cats shed the most, as the production of the protein is based on hormone levels.

How Immunotherapy Works

Immunotherapy treatment desensitizes the patient to the cause of their allergies. The treatment has no benefit in fighting allergic reactions to food allergies, but has proved effective in seasonal and pet allergies.

The treatment uses a series of injections to make the patient less susceptible to the symptoms of cat allergy by treating the cause. Your doctor will give you one or two feline allergy shots a week for six months, inserted under the skin. Over time, the injections, which contain extracts of the allergen, will become larger, gradually increasing the tolerance to the source of the allergen. These allergen vaccines make up the build up portion of immunotherapy.

After the desired dosage has been reached, your doctor will begin the maintenance phase. At this point, most of your feline allergy symptoms should have been alleviated. Consequently, your shot frequency will decrease to once a month, for a few years.

The treatment will continue until the patient no longer experiences allergic reactions when around the source. This is a fantastic option for pet owners with mild cases of cat allergy, as the treatment has not proved effective for severe cases.