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Some cases of angioedema will clear up on their own without treatment, while others will worsen, eventually leading to the swelling of the respiratory system. Don’t take a chance by waiting to see if your cat’s condition goes away on its own. If you spot any of the symptoms of angioedema, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and possible treatment.
Angioedema is a type of swelling that affects the deep layers of skin, as opposed to hives, which is a swelling and irritation on the surface of the skin. Angioedema in cats usually affects the face, however, it can develop on other parts of the body as well. Hives and angioedema often occur together, but it’s possible for angioedema to develop even when hives are not present. Although there are many causes of angioedema, one of the most common is the exposure to allergens, including foods, drugs, or pollen. Upon exposure to one of these allergens, the cat’s body will release histamines into the bloodstream, which cause immediate swelling.
After your cat is exposed to the allergen, he may begin exhibiting symptoms of angioedema right away. Many people confuse the symptoms of angioedema with hives, but they are different conditions, with angioedema being the more serious of the two. Some of the most common observable symptoms include:
Angioedema is caused by the exposure to an allergen. Some of the most common allergens that may cause angioedema include pollen, medications, foods, and insect bites. The swelling is caused by the release of histamines, which occurs in the cat’s body after he is exposed to an allergen.
If your cat begins to exhibit symptoms of angioedema, take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Allergic reactions can vary in severity, but you never want to take a chance that your cat will recover on his own. Tell the vet when you first started to notice the symptoms, and if your cat has been exposed to anything unusual lately. If you know of anything your cat is allergic to, mention this to your vet as well.
The vet should be able to diagnose your cat’s condition based on his symptoms alone. Making a quick diagnosis is usually important in cases of a cat suffering from an allergic reaction because the cat’s condition can worsen very quickly.
The vet will not be able to tell what caused the reaction during the physical examination. If you would like to find out what your cat is allergic to so you can prevent future episodes of angioedema, talk to your vet about performing an allergy test to diagnose food, drug, or environmental allergens.
If symptoms are mild, the vet may ask to monitor your cat for a few hours to ensure his condition does not worsen. If the symptoms begin to improve, no treatment is needed and the angioedema will eventually fade on its own.
However, if the cat’s condition is moderate or severe, the vet may need to administer antihistamines to counteract the amount of histamines in your cat’s body. Antihistamines can help alleviate the symptoms your cat is experiencing, but they are not used when the cat’s condition is severe. In emergency situations, the vet may inject a dose of epinephrine into your cat using an auto-injector device. This medication is used to immediately stop a reaction, so the effects should be noticeable right away. The vet may also prescribe corticosteroids to help reduce the swelling.
Some allergic reactions will cause the cat’s airways to swell, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. If your cat is experiencing this, the vet may need to perform emergency surgery to open the airway and allow the flow of oxygen.
If you know what your cat is allergic to, do everything you can to prevent your cat from being exposed to his allergens again. Many cats have environmental allergens, so it may be wise to keep them indoors if you are unsure of what caused his angioedema.
Make sure you administer all medication as advised by the vet. If the swelling does not go down or worsens, take your cat back to the vet as soon as possible. The vet may give you an Epi-Pen, which is an auto-injector used to treat severe allergic reactions. Keep this Epi-Pen at home so you can easily grab it and use it to help your cat if another reaction suddenly occurs.
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