Unmet Needs In The Study Of Cat Allergies
AECs and NACs represent the future of research on cat allergen-induced AR as standardized and reproducible controlled methodologies. AECs generally model allergen exposure over the course of hours whereas NACs, through a sudden burst of allergen extract into the nose, are more representative of acute exposure. In everyday life, cat allergen exposure can variably be short-term, such as on public transportation, or long-term, as in one’s home environment if a cat is kept as a pet . Both circumstances may cause the triggering of AR symptoms in sensitized individuals, hence, for the complete understanding of cat allergen-induced AR, both modes of exposure need to be considered. As explored in the previous section, only a few studies evaluate the two through the AEC and NAC, however with certain limitations, so there exists the need for better comparisons between the models to improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of cat allergen-induced AR, with larger sample sizes and standardized protocols.
Diagnosis Of Cat Allergies
Diagnosing cat allergies is theoretically simple, but it can take a long time. Since flea allergy is the most common allergy, the first thing to do is to rule out flea allergy as a cause of your cats symptoms.
This means applying prescription-strength flea treatment to every animal in the house for at least 12 weeks without any break in cover. This is necessary to ensure that the flea life-cycle is broken. If, with good flea control, your cat improves, a flea allergy will be presumed- but not diagnosed, as it could be a coincidence.
If your cat doesnt improve despite flea control, the next rule-out is food. To diagnose a food allergy, a hypoallergenic exclusion diet must be fed.
This must either be a prescription hydrolysed diet or a novel protein diet. This diet needs to be fed exclusively for eight weeks to see whether your cat is going to respond- its usually necessary to shut them in for this time to ensure they arent eating at a neighbours house.
If your cat improves, food allergy is likely- feeding a bit of their old diet and watching for a return of the allergic symptoms is enough to be sure.
If food allergies have been ruled out, by definition your cat must be suffering from Non-Flea, Non-Food-Induced Hypersensitivity Dermatitis – in other words, some sort of environmental allergy. Determining exactly what your cat is allergic to can be done with blood tests or skin tests using subcutaneous injections to test for a response.
How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Pet Allergy
Your doctor will diagnose a pet allergy based on your symptoms, physical examination, medical history and test results. Your doctor can use either a blood test or skin test to aid in the diagnosis. Allergy testing will show if there is allergic sensitization to the animal.
Some people find it hard to believe that they could be allergic to their pets. The doctor may tell you to stay out of the home where the pet lives to see if your symptoms go away. It does not help to remove the dog or cat, because the allergen will remain. Pet allergens still in the home can cause symptoms months after the animal is gone.
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Reduce Allergens In The Environment
At roughly 1/10th the size of a dust allergen, these microscopic particles become airborne and remain in the environment for up to 6 months after the cat is no longer in the area. Regular cleaning is a necessity for those with cat allergies. Here are a couple ways to make a big impact.
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Living With Cat Allergies: Cleaning
Once you have a cat, diligence around the house is one of the keys to limiting allergies.
- Wipe down smooth surfaces in the home regularly. Microscopic dander can stick to any type of surface and is there even if you don’t see it.
- Use a vacuum with a filter and steam clean carpets often. Restricting the cat’s access to carpeted rooms will also help.
- Frequently wash any bedding or blankets that your cat sleeps on.
- Designate specific rooms, like the allergic person’s bedroom, as cat-free zones.
- Consider replacing upholstered furniture. Cloth-covered chairs and sofas can retain a lot of allergens and be difficult to clean. Either keep the cat off of upholstery or consider investing in wood, plastic or leather furniture that is easy to wipe clean.
- Take down your curtains. Like upholstered furniture, curtains can be a magnet for cat hair. Consider replacing them with blinds or other coverings that are easy to clean. If you decide to keep your curtains, launder them regularly.
- Invest in a HEPA filter. These can be attached to your furnace or air conditioner, or purify the air from a freestanding unit. Whatever model you get, their job is to reduce small particles in the air.
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Infections Caused By Cats
Allergies are a manifestation of the immune system’s over-reaction to a non-infectious substance. But you can also get an infection due to cat exposure, such as ringworm, or an infection due to a cat scratch.
A parasitic infection caused byToxoplasma gondii is spread by cat feces. This parasite is very dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause birth defects.
Infections caused by cats are different than allergies.
Can Being Allergic To Pets Kill You
Anaphylaxis is a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction, usually caused by things such as insect stings or food items and even pets. It is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure and requires immediate medical attention. Without treatment, anaphylaxis can get worse very quickly and lead to death within 15 minutes.
When someone comes into contact with an allergen capable of causing anaphylaxis, they might experience symptoms such as:
- Face swelling
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How To Live With Allergies And Pets
Millions of people enjoy sharing their homes and their lives with pets, even those who are allergic to animals. Unfortunately, some people believe that once they are diagnosed with a pet allergy, they have no choice but to remove their pets from their family.
Thankfully, there are many solutions that can be explored that would allow an allergy sufferer to keep their beloved pets while successfully managing their allergies. Youd be surprised to know how many people with allergies that arent life-threatening are able to live happily with their pets.
In many cases, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies.
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What Is Cat Allergen
Direct contact with cats may produce various allergic symptoms. For example, hives may occur when a cat licks an individuals skin. Cat allergen may also be rubbed on ones eyes or nose after petting or holding a cat. This is a common, but often ignored, source of significant exposure.The most important route of exposure results from breathing of airborne cat allergen. This allows deposition of large quantities of allergen in both the upper and lower airways. The most important determinants of an allergic reaction to a cat are the amount of airborne allergen in the immediate environment, and an individuals sensitivity to the allergen.An allergen is a material which is capable of provoking an allergic reaction .Cat allergen, the allergy causing material from cats, is not cat hair, but rather a protein present in the dander and saliva of cats. These allergens become airborne as microscopic particles, which when inhaled into the nose or lungs can produce allergic symptoms.
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Am I Allergic To Cat Hair
To help you understand how these new treatments would work, let me quickly break down cat allergies.
If you are amongst the 1 in 5 people worldwide who suffer a range of allergic symptoms when youre near a cator even near someone who has a catyour allergies are actually NOT caused by the animals fur.
This is why a short-haired cat likely invokes the same allergic response as a long-haired Persian cat.
The culprit behind your sneezing and wheezing and puffy eyes is a protein in a cats saliva and sebaceous glands . That glycoprotein is called Fel d1.
When cats groom themselves, some hairs break loose and become airborne. The offending protein in the salivathat Fel d1 allergenis carried on the hairs, so they become distribution vehicles for the potent allergen thats causing your inflammatory response.
What Is Rast Testing
A RAST test, or radioallergosorbent test, is a blood test that can be used to determine whether a cat is allergic to certain antigens. This test is often performed as part of the workup for atopy in cats.
Allergy testing allows you and your veterinarian to determine which allergens may be triggering your cats atopy, allowing you to formulate a plan to address these allergies.
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Epitope Determination By Hydrogen/deuterium Exchange
In order to determine the epitopes of Fel d 1 recognized by REGN1908 and REGN1909, HDX studies were performed for each antibody co-complexed with rFel d 1.mmh. Amide protons on recombinant Fel d 1 were first exchanged in D2O, then the deuterated rFel d 1.mmh was complexed with either REGN1908 or REGN1909 prior to the back-exchange in H2O. The control experiment is that the complexed rFel d 1.mmh with either antibody was deuterated in D2O and back-exchanged in H2O. The solution was then quenched in cold acidic aqueous solution to minimize back-exchange and subjected to proteolysis and mass spectrometry analysis. Fel d 1-derived peptic peptides that exhibited increased mass greater than 0.2 mass units relative to control experiment were defined as the binding epitopes based on H/DX methodology.
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Cat Allergy Treatments & Remedies
Basophil Activation Assessed By Phosphorylated Erk
Maximum antibody response was the average MFI of phosphorylated Erk in the top three doses of antibody in the doseresponse curve minus the baseline MFI , and isotype response is the average of all the MFI values in the dose response of a Regeneron-produced IgG4P isotype control antibody minus the baseline MFI.
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Immune To The Allergen
Bachmann is among the scientists who are targeting Fel d 1 in cats themselves. If the animals did not produce the protein, this should prevent allergic reactions in most people. But researchers are unsure how thoroughly the protein needs to be eliminated to have the desired effect, as well as what happens to a cat without Fel d 1.
No one knows what Fel d 1 does for felines. Some cats have a little and some have a lot, so large amounts dont seem to be necessary. And the cats breed doesnt seem to make much difference even hairless Sphynx cats make Fel d 1. On average, unneutered males have the most and females the least, suggesting the protein might carry hormones or phero-mones. But it has also been hypothesized to protect cats skin.
In 2013, Bachmann co-founded HypoPet, a spin-off company from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The firm aims to create hypoallergenic cats by vaccinating them against their own Fel d 1, so that the cats IgG antibodies block the protein before it is sniffed up by a human.
Bachmann built the vaccine out of recombinant Fel d 1, a bit of tetanus toxin peptide and the coat from a plant virus. The immune system thinks its a virus, he says, and accordingly responds with IgG . In an early test, the level of Fel d 1 in the tears of 18 cats fell by more than half 42 days after vaccination. Every cat makes a good IgG response, he says, and the vaccine doesnt seem to cause them any problems.
Getting Shots For Cat Allergies
If you dont seem to be adjusting, you can also try getting shots to help your cat allergies.
These immunotherapy shots work on the same principle as exposure to a cat over time. The injections contain cat allergens starting in tiny doses that are gradually increased.
Youll get an allergy shot once or twice a week for about six months, with boosters every three years or so.
Make an appointment with your doctor so they can run some allergy tests and prescribe this treatment.
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How To Get Rid Of Cat Allergy Symptoms Naturally
“Cat allergies can be quite distressing for people because their cat might be a beloved family pet. But, if you suspect an allergy, you will want to reduce your exposure to the animal or avoid them completely. This can be hard though if your cat is part of your household, since it might mean re-homing them,” says Govind.
While avoidance is the main method of reducing cat allergy symptoms, this might not be sufficient on its own since cat dander can still be present in somebody’s home. It can take months to clear from all of the surfaces in your house.
Other ways to ease cat allergies include:
- Keep a cat outdoors if it is not possible to remove them fully.
- Limit the cat to a single area of the house, keeping them away from bedrooms.
- Cover mattresses and pillows with impermeable covers, and wash bedding frequently.
- Ensure the house is well ventilated to prevent dander from becoming trapped.
- Wash the cat with water every few weeks to remove the surface allergen.
- Wear a face covering when brushing a cat or changing their litter tray.
- Wash your hands after touching a cat or being around one.
- Change your clothing following contact with a cat and wash your clothes in hot water.
- Limit the number of soft furnishings in rooms so dander cannot adhere to it.
- Take care with vacuum cleaners and dusting so you don’t blow the dander into the air.
How To Get Rid Of Your Cat Allergy Symptoms
Furry pet allergies are common. Dog and cat allergies affect 10%-20% of the world’s population and the rates are increasing. These allergies can not only have uncomfortable symptoms, but they can be distressing if you’re an animal lover or have a family pet.
Cat allergies are an allergic reaction to some of the proteins that are found in:
- Cat urine.
- Cat saliva.
- Cat skin cells.
Thorrun Govind, pharmacist and chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, explains that generally cat allergy symptoms are caused by dander, which are dead flakes of their skin from shedding. Unlike cat hair, dander often isn’t visible, but it can settle on floors, surfaces, and furniture in homes.
Adult cats self-groom and lick themselves often and their saliva tends to flake off as they grow, as it transfers to their skin and coat. This saliva contains a protein called Fel d 1, which some cats produce more of than others hence why some people might experience more severe cat allergy symptoms with certain types of cat. It could also explain a lack of reaction to kittens, as they don’t self-groom as much.
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Diagnosing Allergies In Cats
It can be difficult to discover what a cat is allergic to. Elimination diets and exclusion trials with different cleaning products, food dishes, beds, and medications may be necessary to discover what causes an allergic reaction if it isn’t obvious. Some blood and skin tests are available for detecting some kinds of allergens.
Natural Cat Exposure: Cat Rooms
Cat rooms draw upon the natural mode of allergen exposure in ambient air . Generally, they are small, constructed rooms containing one to two neutered cats who live in the space for several days sometimes a litter box is also kept in the room. Depending on the study design, the cats are either kept in their cages or are free to roam around when participants are in the room . Most studies include the vigorous shaking of a blanket at a certain time interval to disturb the allergen . In a study by Berkowitz et al., their cat exposure room shared the same ventilation supply as a cat shelter containing 80 cats. To aerosolize the cat allergen, they vigorously shook the cats’ bedding before participant entry and at 15-min intervals . Generally, Fel d 1 concentrations in cat rooms are measured using enzyme linked immunosorbent assays . The natural cat exposure experimental model has been used to evaluate the pathophysiology of cat allergen-induced AR, pharmacotherapies, and sublingual and subcutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy options for patients.
Table 1. Summary of cat room studies.
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