Showing posts with label allergens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label allergens. Show all posts

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Allergic to horses? You might be allergic to cats too.

If you are allergic to cat dander, are you likely to be allergic to horse dander or the dander of other animals - or vice versa? Here are three answers from three different AI bots. Why not? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em is the motto. 

The point of this article is that if you are thinking of adopting a cat but are allergic to horses or other animals, you might check out if you are allergic to cats as well. There is a cross-over here.

I have found these AI bots reliable. You have to know their limitations. I expect those limitations to be greatly minimised over the forthcoming months and years.

Allergic to cats? You might be allergic to horses too.
Image: Canva.


Yes, there’s a possibility of cross-reactivity between cat and horse dander. People who are allergic to cats (or dogs) may also experience allergic symptoms when exposed to horses. The protein responsible for these allergies is called serum albumin, which is found in both horse skin cells (dander) and saliva. Symptoms can include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and even asthma. Fortunately, severe reactions are rare, but if you suspect a horse allergy, it’s essential to seek medical advice. 🐱🐴 - Bing's Copilot.


There's a chance someone with a cat dander allergy could also be allergic to horse dander. This is because of something called cross-sensitivity [allergy uk].

Cat allergens are proteins (Fel D1) found in their saliva and skin flakes (dander). Horses have similar proteins in their dander and saliva that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. These protein structures aren't identical, but close enough for someone's immune system to react if they're already sensitive to cats.

If you suspect you have allergies to cats or horses, it's important to see an allergist for proper testing and diagnosis. They can determine what you're allergic to and recommend the best course of treatment. - Google's Gemini.


Yes, it is quite likely that someone allergic to cat dander would also be allergic to horse dander. Allergies to animal dander are often cross-reactive, meaning that if someone is allergic to one type of animal dander, they are more likely to also be allergic to the dander of other animals.

The proteins in the dander of different mammals can have similar molecular structures, which causes the immune system to recognize and react to them in a similar way. This is why people allergic to cats may also experience allergic reactions to other furry pets like dogs, horses, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

The degree of cross-reactivity can vary from person to person, but studies have shown significant overlap in allergies to different animal danders. So if you are allergic to cats, it would be wise to be evaluated for potential allergies to other animals as well, including horses. Consulting an allergist can help determine the full scope of your animal allergies. - Poe


What is the allergen in horses?

The primary allergen in horses is equine serum albumin. This protein is found in horse skin cells (dander), saliva, and urine. When sensitive individuals come into contact with these substances, they may experience allergic reactions such as sneezing, itching, and respiratory symptoms. If you suspect a horse allergy, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management. 🐴🀧

What other animals might cause similar allergies?

Other animals that can cause similar allergies include:
  1. Dogs: Like cats, dogs produce dander and saliva proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Breeds with hair (such as poodles) are often better tolerated than those with fur.

  2. Rodents: Mice, rats, and guinea pigs can also produce allergens in their urine, saliva, and skin cells. People who handle these animals or live in close proximity may experience allergic symptoms.

  3. Birds: Feathered friends like parrots, canaries, and pigeons can release feather dust and proteins that lead to allergies. Bird droppings can also be problematic.

  4. Rabbits: Rabbit fur and dander can cause allergic reactions. Additionally, hay and straw used as bedding can be allergenic.

  5. Hamsters and Gerbils: These small rodents can also trigger allergies due to their dander and urine proteins.

Remember that individual reactions vary, and some people may be more sensitive to certain animals than others. If you suspect an allergy, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management. 🐢🐭🦜🐰

What can you do minimise an allergic reaction to cat or other animal allergens?

There are two main approaches to minimizing allergic reactions to cat or other animal allergens: reducing your exposure to the allergens and managing your symptoms with medication.

Reduce allergen exposure:
  • Keep your pet out of certain areas: This is especially important for the bedroom, where you spend a lot of time breathing in allergens.
  • Clean frequently: Vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove dander from carpets and furniture. Wash bedding and pet linens weekly in hot water. Consider replacing carpets with hard floors if possible.
  • Bathe your pet regularly: This can help remove allergens from their fur.
  • Air purifiers: HEPA air purifiers can help remove allergens from the air.
Manage allergy symptoms:
  • Over-the-counter medications: Antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids can help reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy): This is a long-term treatment that can help reduce your sensitivity to allergens over time.
Consulting a doctor:

It's important to consult with a doctor or allergist to get a proper diagnosis and discuss the best course of treatment for your allergies. They can recommend specific medications and allergen reduction strategies.

What about desensitising the immune system to these allergens?

Desensitizing the immune system to allergens is exactly what allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, do! It's a long-term treatment option for allergies, including those to cats and other animals.

Here's how it works:
  • Gradual exposure: You'll receive gradually increasing doses of the allergen (cat dander in this case) through injections or sublingual tablets (placed under the tongue).
  • Retraining the immune system: Over time, with repeated exposure to small amounts, your body learns to tolerate the allergen and stops overreacting to it.
  • Long-term benefits: Immunotherapy can provide long-term relief from allergy symptoms, lasting for several years after treatment is complete.
Here are some things to consider about immunotherapy for cat allergies:
  • Effectiveness: It's not a quick fix and can take up to three to five years to see significant improvement.
  • Commitment: It requires a long-term commitment to regular treatment schedules.
  • Not for everyone: It might not be suitable for everyone with allergies, especially those with severe allergies or other health conditions.
Consulting an allergist:

If you're interested in exploring immunotherapy for your cat allergies, consult with a board-certified allergist. They can assess your individual situation, determine if you're a good candidate for immunotherapy, and develop a personalized treatment plan.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Veterinarian approved notes on cat food allergies which may help

I was reading a Miami Herald article by Sheah Rarback who is a registered dietician and nutritionist in private practice in Miami, Florida, USA. She's written an article about her cat being allergic to 'something'. She provides a couple of useful pointers - thank you - but no detail.

She was told by her veterinarian I believe that she should try different sorts of meat protein for her cat such as ostrich, rabbit, venison and kangaroo because perhaps the starting point for identifying food allergies and intolerance is that most food allergies in both cats and humans are proteins which produce an immune response.

Hydrolysed protein

And she adds that she was instructed to consider a hydrolysed protein formula. She gives these formulas to her human clients. It is a formula in which the protein is broken down to basic peptides and doesn't cause an allergic reaction and it is easier to digest. The product is expensive.

So in round terms that is what she is advising and I would like to add a little bit extra having dipped into the best book one can have on the topic of delivering good cat health.

Some more

The book I have is written by four veterinarians and therefore this advice is veterinarian approved. We know that cats can become allergic to certain foods or substances in foods. They can also become allergic to things in the air and the environment.

Regarding food, the most common food allergens are chicken, fish, corn, wheat and soy but cats may also develop a food allergy to beef, pork, dairy products or eggs.

Gluten and lactose

At this juncture I would like to say that I am semi-vegan and I eat gluten-free breads and cakes and I drink oat milk to avoid cows' milk as I am lactose intolerant to a certain extent.

Gluten is inflammatory as is lactose or they both can be in some people.

I'm digressing but perhaps these might be compounding factors as the veterinarians mention wheat and milk as sources of an allergy to foods.


A food allergy produces symptoms including an intensely itchy rash on the head, neck and back. It might be accompanied by swollen eyelids. There could be hair loss and oozing sores because the cat scratches themselves.

Sometimes the ears are inflamed and cats scratch them, injuring themselves. I can remember many years ago my mother having a Siamese cat with this exact problem and we had no idea what it was. My mother did nothing about it and looking back I still feel guilty about that.

Sometimes a food allergy results in diarrhoea or vomiting.


So what's the treatment? Perhaps the hard part is diagnosis. It is feeding your cat a diet without the suspected food for at least 4 to 6 weeks. The next step is to expose the cat to a suspected food and watch to see if there is a reaction. And there are numerous hypoallergenic diet available.

My veterinary book tells me that there are special diets be limited protein sources always contain treated proteins and which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. Prescription diets for this problem include Eukanuba Response LB Feline, Royal Canin Hypoallergenic HP Feline, Royal Canin Neutral Formula Feline, Royal Canin's Ltd Ingredients with duck, lamb, rabbit or venison as the meat protein. Science Diet Feline d/d with duck, rabbit or venison as the meat protein, and Science Diet z/d ULTRA Allergen Free Feline.

Perhaps you might take your cat off all the foods that she is currently eating and buy for her a hypoallergenic diet and put her on that. If it clears up the symptoms of a food allergy you can then try different foods that she was on previously at different times to see whether any produces an allergic reaction.

A food allergy is in effect food intolerance and you have to get to the bottom of this by trial and error. My book also tells me that "grains, especially wheat and corn, are common culprits". Often cat food has grains in it to pad it out. They confirm that "cats may also develop an intolerance to a specific protein source such as chicken or fish".

The diarrhoea may be watery, mucus-like or even bloody.  Of course, you would be advised to see a veterinarian who might carry out some tests in the clinic to test for an allergic reaction in order to isolate the allergen.

Prompt action

Bearing in mind what I said about my mother's Siamese cat, if there are any signs of an allergic reaction to food or an environmental allergen, the owner should take prompt steps because these are very distressing to a cat. 

It's no good just looking at your cat and thinking what's going on. That's exactly what my mother and I did all those years ago. You've got to take your cat to a vet or at least immediately put your cat on a high quality hypoallergenic diet to see whether that improves things.

Environmental or food?

You may have to take into consideration whether the allergen is in the environment or in the food. This is why I think isolating the allergen can be difficult.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Cats can be allergic to humans just as humans can be allergic to cats

Cats can be allergic to human dander. I think this is something which we should recognise. The problem is there is little knowledge about the actual allergen in human dander which causes an allergic reaction in a human. There is more on dogs being allergic to humans than for cats which is pretty typical because dogs are always much better represented in medical research than cats.

I'm looking at a study right now (link - don't bother clicking on it as there is nothing there πŸ˜‰) about perennial indoor allergens among them house dust mites and moulds. Human dander is an important constituent of house dust and house dust is a major cause of allergic reactions in dogs and I would suggest also in cats from time to time. We don't know how often human dander in house dust causes an allergic reaction in cats.

This sort of allergic reaction would fall under the category of an environmental allergen. That's because the human dander is in the air inside the home and lying around on the floor and furnishings.

In addition to environmental allergens, there are food allergens and flea allergens. Flea allergy dermatitis can occur in cats.

The problem with cats being allergic to humans is that we don't know much about it! And when cats are allergic to humans, the human caregiver might not know about it either! That's because the symptoms or signs of the allergic reaction might be slight just as they often are for humans when they are allergic to cats.

Normally when a dog or cat is allergic to humans the reaction will be atopic dermatitis commonly known as eczema. Eczema in cats and dogs can be brought about by human dander. For the sake of clarity, human dander is dead skin cells and bits of hair which have flown off the human or humans and end up in the environment including on furnishings.

Apparently, of the one in five dogs (20%) suffering with symptoms of an allergy, half of them will be allergic to human dander.

Atopic dermatitis is not uncommon cats but little is known about how frequently it is caused by human dander.

Sometimes cats can be allergic to several allergens at the same time one of which might be human dander.

The treatment of allergies in cats is complicated. It's going to require specialist analysis by a qualified veterinarian and/or scientist. Sometimes a veterinarian will prescribe antihistamines but I don't want to get into treatments because I'm not a qualified veterinarian.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the possibility that your cat might be allergic to you!


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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