an­i­mal magic

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Dr Anne Fawcett is a lec­turer in ve­teri­nary sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Sydney and a vet with Sydney An­i­mal Hos­pi­tals In­ner West. Read her blog: smal­l­an­i­ Dr Anne Fawcett

IN hu­mans, al­ler­gies are of­ten sea­sonal. Spring is no­to­ri­ous for caus­ing hay fever, for ex­am­ple. The same ap­plies to an­i­mals. We see many more cases of al­ler­gic pets in the sum­mer months.

One al­lergy that can present in a par­tic­u­larly dra­matic fash­ion is mos­quito-bite al­lergy in cats. Af­fected cats may have a red, swollen, scaly, scabby or ul­cer­ated nose and ears, with flare-ups oc­cur­ring as the weather gets warmer. These le­sions are sig­nif­i­cantly in­flamed and may be un­com­fort­able or painful. Some cats may have en­larged lymph nodes, par­tic­u­larly around their lower jaw.

The prob­lem is that mozzie-bite al­lergy in cats can look ex­actly like some other con­di­tions, like ring­worm, which can also in­fect hu­mans, or squa­mous cell car­ci­noma, a form of skin can­cer. A biopsy is needed to tell the dif­fer­ence.

The signs are usu­ally man­aged us­ing cor­ti­cos­teroids, which can be given orally as a tablet or liq­uid, or via a lon­gact­ing in­jec­tion.

Preven­tion in­volves re­duc­ing con­tact with mos­qui­toes. Keep cats in­doors, at least at times of the day when mozzies are most ac­tive. En­sure your fly screens are in good re­pair. And con­sider cov­er­ing out­door ponds with mos­quito net­ting.

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