Humans are not the only ones that can suffer from allergies. In fact, cats are often prone to allergies. Keeping your cat’s allergies under control is really important, and one of the best ways to do this is to use antihistamines for cats. Antihistamines are effective when it comes to targeting human allergy symptoms, so it makes sense that it would be effective for your feline friend as well. This is because cats that have allergies produce excessive histamines, so when they come into contact with allergens they have allergic reactions.
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Symptoms of Allergies in Cats
First, you need to make sure that you know what signs and symptoms to look for. Most cats that have allergies will have certain symptoms that are tell-tale signs of an allergy. These symptoms include:
- watery eyes
- face rubbing
- excessive scratching
- excessive licking
- runny nose
As your cat gets older, you may notice that these symptoms get worse. This is typical as a cat ages. The good news is that antihistamines can actually help to reduce the amount of histamines in the cat’s body, thus reducing the severity of the reaction to the allergens that they come into contact with.
Antihistamines are usually really effective for the first few months, but then the cat may build up an immunity to the components found in the medication. After this time, the histamines may start to build back up causing the same symptoms as before. This is why it is so very important for you to rotate the type of antihistamine that you use for your cat. By doing this, you can prevent any type of immunity that may form, and continue to give your cat the relief that they need.
Most experienced veterinarians will understand the importance of alternating between various different types of antihistamines to ensure that an immunity doesn’t build up. If they don’t recommend it, then it is something worth discussing with them. Unfortunately, many pet owners will go in for the initial visit and get a recommendation for an antihistamine and try to administer it themselves for months at a time before ever going back to the vet. This isn’t recommended, because of the possibility of immunity to certain medications over time.
What About Combination Antihistamines?
Many antihistamines that you see in the stores these days are combination antihistamines that contain other types of medications. These are often used to treat colds, flu and runny nose, and many of them contain decongestants or cough suppressants. Some may even contain acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient found in Tylenol. This is actually deadly for cats, so you have to be really careful. It is not recommended that you give your cat any type of antihistamine that you buy over the counter, unless it is directly recommended by their veterinarian. You can never be too careful. If your vet doesn’t recommend it, chances are there is a good reason for it!
The Effects of Antihistamines
As with any type of medication, there are some risks involved with antihistamines. While we already touched just a bit on the side effects associated with antihistamines in cats, there are a few others that you will want to be aware of, some of which are more severe than others. Here is an extensive list of side effects that are often reported in cats that are taking antihistamines for their allergies:
- coordination deficits
- digestive issues
- dry nose
- dry mouth
If your cat needs to be on antihistamines for a prolonged period of time, there are other concerns that you need to be aware of. Here are a few problems that are associated with long term antihistamine use in cats:
- behavioral changes
- vision issues
- problems with urination
Before you decide to keep your cat on antihistamines for a prolonged period of time, discuss these risks with their veterinarian. It is always a good idea for you to ask questions and get thorough answers so that you can give your cat the best possible care.
Other Forms of Allergy Treatment in Cats
While there are many cats that have a pleasant experience with antihistamines, some cats may not. Also, you don’t want to run the risk of serious complications that may come along with prolonged use of antihistamines. The good news is that there are other treatment methods that you may want to consider. Here are a few of the most common treatment options used among veterinarians today:
Allergy symptoms can also be controlled using steroids, but this should only be a short term treatment options. Steroids, when used for a long time, can actually cause the kidneys to fail and can also lead to other serious and fatal side effects. This is why veterinarians like to try the use of antihistamines first before they even start to think about the possibility of using steroids.Another form of treatment that that may be effective is allergy shots. Allergy shots are good for cats that have allergies to dust, pollen and other allergens, but are not effective when it comes to food allergies. They should be given regularly to help your cat build up an immunity to the allergens that irritate them. Over the period of a few years, the allergy may be much less severe, but this does take some time.
If your cat is affected by allergies that cause skin irritation, topical treatments may also be very effective. There are various different shampoos, rinses and other anti-itch products that may be very effective. These solutions are typically short term solutions, but they do provide instant results. The problem with topical solutions and cats is that they like to groom themselves often. They may lick the product off, or at least lick off some of it so that it is not effectively absorbed into their blood stream. This is why so many veterinarians are steering away from topical treatments.
When to Talk to Your Veterinarian
So, you have tried avoidance, and nothing seems to be working. It may be time for you to see your veterinarian. If you haven’t already addressed your cat’s allergies with your vet, it may be time to do so. In fact, it is recommended that you discuss it with them right away, even if you don’t think that any medication is necessary. They will be able to assess the severity of the allergies and give their recommendation for the best course of treatment. While they may go ahead and recommend antihistamines right away, some may want to start out with other methods of treatment first.
Antihistamines for cats may actually be a great method for treating allergies. If you are unsure about how to effectively administer antihistamines to your cat, talk to their veterinarian. In fact, you don’t want to give them any type of antihistamines that the vet doesn’t either prescribe or recommend for them.