- Difficulty breathing is considered “RED” – or true emergency– on our Fast Track Triage system. We advise you seek immediate veterinary care. Please call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you!
- Facial swelling, hives, and wounds caused by itching are considered “YELLOW” – or semi-urgent case – on our Fast Track Triage system. We recommend having your pet evaluated by your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital within 24 hours. Call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you, and if your pet’s condition worsens, call the team back to inform them of the status change.
- Hair loss and red eyes, skin, and ears are considered “GREEN” – or non-urgent cases – on our Fast Track Triage system. This means emergency care isn’t needed, but your pet should be evaluated by your family veterinarian within the next few days.
Did you know that cats as well as dogs can have allergies? Allergies in cats are less common, and your feline friend might also mask his or her symptoms really well. Read on for some signs that your cat may have allergies:
1. Excessive Grooming
The first sign of allergies in cats is excessive grooming. A normal, healthy cat should only groom two to three times a day for less than five minutes. If you notice your cat is grooming a lot more than that, he or she may have allergies and is experiencing itchiness or discomfort.
2. Hair Loss
Hair loss, mostly on the abdomen or sides of the body, can also indicate an allergy.
3. Abnormal Skin
If the skin looks abnormal in any way (red or irritated) or the ears contain debris or are itchy, you may also need to see a veterinary dermatologist. A cat with itchy ears may scratch at them or shake its head.
What to Do Next
If you notice these signs of allergies in your cat, consult with your family veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. A typical first visit with a veterinary dermatologist would consist of a thorough history. The answers to certain questions will help determine whether your pet might be suffering from a food allergy or an environmental allergy and what steps should be taken to resolve the problem.
For food allergies, your cat might be placed on a strict six to eight week food trial. If his or her skin improves while on the food trial, he or she would likely stay on that food long-term, thereby controlling the allergy symptoms.
If the food trial doesn’t successfully control the cat’s symptoms, your cat might be suffering from an environmental allergy. Allergy testing is not common in cats as they don’t tolerate allergy shots well. It tends to be less stressful to treat cats with a safe long-term, non-steroidal medication.
Sometimes, all the scratching with sharp claws can cause a secondary bacterial infection in your cat’s skin. A veterinary dermatologist might take a skin sample in order to look for can look for one on a skin sample. Lastly, skin scrapings allow us to find microscopic skin mites that could also be the cause of your cat’s skin problems. But don’t worry! Both infections and mites can be treated successfully with medications.
The best way to help your cat is to talk to your family veterinarian and ask for a referral to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. With diagnostic tests and a tailored treatment plan, your cat’s skin will look (and feel) as good as possible again!
Learn about Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s Dermatology Service here.