Pollen Allergies in Cats

Pollen allergies are among the most common allergies in humans and felines. The pollens are small particles that play an important role in the germination of plants. They are mostly present during spring and summer, but may also be met in the fall. The allergens can be detected and your cat's condition can be managed with medication or injections.

Causes of Pollen Allergies in Cats

Cats are exposed to various irritants in the environment, including chemicals or pollens. The pollens may be inhaled or they can land on the cat's skin and penetrate the skin layers, causing irritation. Not all felines respond negatively to pollens. Cats that suffer from pollen allergies have an immune system deficiency, and the immune system doesn't recognize the pollens and considers them as a threat, so histamines will be produced. The histamines are substances that will be responsible for the occurrence of allergic reactions on the skin or other areas.

Symptoms of Pollen Allergies

A feline developing pollen allergies will display the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Scratching
  • Biting and licking the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Secondary infections on the skin due to licking and scratching
  • Coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of face and limbs
  • Lethargic behavior

In rare cases, the pollens can cause anaphylactic shock, which causes the swelling of the respiratory ways. This condition can be fatal if the cat doesn't receive an epinephrine injection immediately.

Detecting Pollen Allergies

There are numerous types of pollens in the environment and it is difficult to establish the culprit allergen. However, a skin test can be performed with the allergens that are suspected. Alternatively, a blood test can reveal the presence of certain antibodies secreted as a reaction to various pollens. Even though today's technology allows the detection of nearly all allergens, there may be a few rare pollens that cannot be detected.

Treatment and Management of Pollen Allergies

The pollen allergies are not fully treatable, but can be managed. If your pet displays symptoms only during certain months during the year, you can manage the symptoms through administering antihistamines. The antihistamines are meant to inhibit the immune system and stop the production of histamines, so that the allergy symptoms will no longer be present. If you administer the antihistamines for more than 3 months, make sure you talk to a vet and rotate the medicines, as it is possible that the cat will develop immunity to the drugs.

Steroids are another treatment option and may be a solution for the skin rashes and swelling. However, steroids can have side effects such as kidney damage, which make this type of treatment less popular.

Allergy injections are immunization shots that will help the cat be less sensitive to pollens. The injections are an option only if the culprit pollens are detected, because the injection will contain the substances in the pollens the cat is allergic to.