Hives in cats, do they actually exist? The answer is very simple; they can and they do exist.
Hives come in different forms as well as different degrees, and they can vary from just an irritating itch to your cat or advance to a life threatening situation.
Hives can also be extremely challenging to a cat owner simply because you may have absolutely no idea what has triggered this allergic reaction and you may never find the actual underlying causes.
Hives in cats are categorized into two different groups: Hives, which is also referred to as urticaria, and a swollen face, which is referred to as angioedema.
The major difference between the two is that hives affects the entire body and while angioedema affects just your cats face.
You can split hairs and call it whatever you want to, but the bottom line is they are basically the same thing.
They are an allergic reaction to something that can be caused from medication, chemicals, food, or in some cases, even sunlight.
However, there is also a third kind of hives and this form is called anaphylaxis.
This is a condition where the hives in your pet have progressed so rapidly and so severely that the swelling is causing sudden vomiting, diarrhea, and a very rapid drop in your pet’s blood pressure.
This will cause your cat to start to stagger, collapse, and possibly go into shock. If it is not immediately treated at this point, it is a life threatening situation.
Angioedema, the swelling of your cats face, may also trigger anaphylaxis and cause a severe swelling of the throat, tongue, or even the lungs.
This will then make it almost impossible for your cat to breathe on their own.
However, this reaction is extremely rare in cats.
Hives in cats are reactions that are triggered by your pet’s immune system when histamine and antibodies are released to fight infections and other like attacks, overproduces.
This in turn causes blood plasma to leak out of small blood vessels and onto your cats skin.
The histamine is released from very specialized inflammatory cells, including mast cells, and this release causes an immediate chemical reaction in your cat.
What is so very troubling about hives is that no one knows exactly what triggers it, and it can be as individual as your cat is. It can also affect any breed, at any age, and at any time.
There are also different degrees of each type of hives in cats. Acute urticaria is hives that have lasted more than six weeks in your cat.
They may not be extremely severe in nature, but they do not seem to go away.
The most common cause of this degree is from a food reaction that you cannot pin down, some type of a medication, or an infection. Insect bites may also be the cause.
Chronic hives in cats are those that last more than six weeks. As with the first degree, there is also no known reason why they last this long.
If they do, they have now become extremely dangerous to your cat as it can affect their internal organs, especially their lungs, muscles, as well as the gastrointestinal tract.
This is the degree that may cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and a challenge in breathing for you cat.
There is also what is referred to as physical hives, which can be caused by a direct stimulation of your cats skin.
This is usually caused by cold, heat, some type of vibration, or even sweating. However, the largest cause is believed to be from too much sunlight exposure.
In some cats, it may be triggered by simply stroking or scratching the skin.
Hives in cats will show several different symptoms, depending on the severity and duration of the actual allergic reaction.
They will first appear as small bumps within your cat’s skin, and in most cases, the hair will literally stand up over these swollen areas.
This is very unusual, and it will make it easier for you to identify them as what they are; hives.
With angioedema, only the face will swell, especially the area around the nose and the eyes. In some cases the swelling will become so severe, that your cat can not open their eyes.
This also causes an itching so severe, that it makes the swelling even worse.
Both of these forms of hives can easily develop within 20 to 30 minutes of the exposure to whatever triggered it.
In most cases, they are not life threatening, and will recede in severity or actually go away on their own as your cats immune system adjusts back to normal.
However, they can in some cases continue to advance and cause anaphylaxis.
If this does occur, the symptoms will be a very sudden development of both severe vomiting and diarrhea that will quickly be followed by staggering and weakness.
This is than followed by a complete collapse and a very sudden swelling, as well as redness around your cats lips, eyes, or their neck.
If they hit this stage, they are in a life threatening situation as they cannot breathe.
In most all cases, the form of treatment for hives in cats will be antihistamines.
They are the most effective at combating the overdose of histamines that your cats is producing and causing the hives.
If it is a severe case, steroids will be used, as well as immediate life support measures such as oxygen and intravenous fluids.
This will help to increase your pet’s blood pressure and bring it back to normal levels.
If your cat survives the first several minutes of emergency treatment, their long term prognosis is very good.
If the hives in your cat are not severe and life threatening but continue to come back, there are some natural remedies that you might try on your own.
Arum triph has been used for hundreds of years for hay fever as well as hives.
Chamomilla is also very effective as it has an incredibly soothing ingredient that will immediately relive the itching in your cat.
Both are available in powder or pill formulations.
Hives in cats can be extremely frustrating as you may never find the actual cause, and as a result it may be very difficult to prevent
it does continue, try to isolate the time, the circumstance, what your cat ate, as well as any current or new medications.
Once isolated, you can then at least discuss some possibilities with your veterinarian and begin a system of elimination.
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