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What is Dust Mite Allergy?

Dust mites live in the home of pet owners, residing in cloth toys, upholstery, mattresses, bedding and carpeting. These mites thrive in humid temperatures, specifically the hot air exhaled during times of sleep. Dust mites feed on skin cells, environmental viruses, fungi and bacteria, but prefer the skin scales of atopic felines. Although the mites may feed on dead skin cells, the actual mite does not cause an allergic response, but rather the dust mite feces. Dust mites have a specialized protein, Der p1, which is passed in their feces and causes a feline to become hyper allergenic. An affected feline may have asthma-like symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing, paired with pruritus, hair loss and skin lesions.

Dust mites allergies in cats is a non-seasonal, allergic response to the microscopic mite commonly known as the dust mite. Dust mites are one of the most common causes of feline allergies with a surprising 30 to 80 percent of all atopic pet cases tested revealing a positive result for dust mites. The United States is home to two species of dust mites: Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, however, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus is more common to the United Kingdom. 

Dust Mite Allergy Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

A feline suffering from dust mite allergies may experience recurrent seborrhea, otitis (ear itching and inflammation), pyodermas (skin infections) and generalized pruritus, specifically on the feet or face. A feline may also show clinical signs of eosinophilic granuloma complex lesions, plasma cell pododermatitis, or chin acne. Dust mite allergies in cats will also cause symptoms including: 

  • Crusty skin patches
  • Hot spots
  • Localized hair loss 
  • Skin damage 
  • Scratching 
  • Itching 

Secondary to skin reactions of dust mites, your cat may also develop a form of allergy-related asthma. As the feline inhales the fecal dust from the mites, he or she may cough or gag, and do so in a hunched posture in an attempt to stabilize breathing. 

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Causes of Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

Dust mite allergies in cats is caused by the Der p1 specialized protein found in the mites’ feces. Coming into contact with said fecal particle, the feline’s immune system overreacts, creating antibodies for the antigen. Dust mites allergies are non-seasonal, but felines may develop an allergenic condition during the fall and winter months. Likewise, an outdoor cat that is brought indoors during the cold months of the year may suddenly develop an allergy as the home is closed up, keeping the dust mites in a confined area. 

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Diagnosis of Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

The diagnostic tests specific to dust mite allergies is the skin sensitivity test or the serum IgE test for the reaction to Der p1 proteins caused by dust mites. However, other mites, such as the Cheyletiella, Otodectes and Sarcoptes mite, belong to the same order of acarids, therefore, false positives can occur. For example, if your feline has Cheyletiella, she could actually test positive for dust mites too. Your veterinarian will then use your feline’s clinical symptoms to differentiate between the types of mites and retest the feline. The symptoms associated with dust mite allergies in cats mimic those of food allergies, seasonal allergies, environmental allergies and a number of infections, so a differential diagnosis will need to be made. A differential diagnosis may include a skin scraping, skin cell cytology, skin sample culture and blood test. 

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Treatment of Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

Dust mites allergies in cats are treated with immunotherapy and changes in the environment. Subcutaneous or sublingual administration of cyclosporine corticosteroid drugs is the norm for immunotherapy treatment prescribed by veterinarians for feline dust mite allergies. However, the most important portion of the treatment plan is treating dust mites at home. Vacuuming and cleaning carpets once a week, dusting in combination with routine sweeping will eliminate allergy causing dust mite feces in the home. Cat owners are advised to wash all cat bedding and their own bedding if the feline sleeps in bed with their owners. The washing of bedding can take place once a week in combination with sweeping, dusting and vacuuming. 

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Recovery of Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

Felines generally respond very well to immunotherapy treatments, but in order to prevent a recurrence, pet owners must keep a clean home. Changing the air filters in your home heating and cooling system can greatly reduce dust mite allergens in the air. Pet owners can also wash their bedding with tea tree oil or steam clean their mattresses, as studies show these methods result in an even higher elimination rate than regular cleaning. There is also a varieties of hypoallergenic pillow cases and bedding available that are said to discourage dust mites. 

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Dust Mite Allergy Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Dust Mite Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Weasley

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Maine Coon mix

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Inflammation In Face/Mouth

Hi there. My cat has been diagnosed with eosinophilic granuloma complex (hopefully I’m spelling that right) and we’ve already done food trials and flea collar treatments to deal with his face inflammation. Is it possible that dust mites could be the underlying allergy? I have interior brick walls and I thought maybe this could be the cause. The next step for him at the vet is a medicine for his allergies which costs way too much. If I can isolate the cause of his allergy I could potentially save me and him a lot of trouble. His face is clear right now -vet gave him short term steroids. Are dust mites in the brick wall a potential cause?

Aug. 12, 2018

Weasley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Dust mites have been indicated as a cause in some literature but I cannot say whether this is the case here; one option is to move Weasley to someone else's home for a few weeks to see if there is any improvement in symptoms to isolate whether it is something in your home which is triggering this condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://cms.evsrl.it/socspec/sitetailorcommon/showbinary.aspx?id=4773

Aug. 13, 2018

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Toby

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tabby

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy Ears
Tilting Head
Brown/Black Build Up In Ear Canal
Moderate To Severe Pain
Rubbing Ears Until They Are Raw
Frantic Grooming Of The Ears

I have had Toby for a little over a year now, and he's always had problems with a specific and reoccurring ear infection. I have taken him to two different vets, and he has been incorrectly treated for ear mites between changing vets, and the only thing we've found so far is that it might be an allergy of some kind. I have changed his food to prescription Hills for food and skin allergies (with no extra snacks or scraps and sent in cultures on the gunk build-up and sent them to Iowa State University Vet Med with absolutely no luck. Do you think it could be dust mites, or another kind of air born allergy? Or is there something I'm missing?

July 17, 2018

Toby's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

That kind of itching would be unusual with an environmental allergy, if it is specific to Toby's ears. There are many medications that are available if environmental allergies are possible, and the food that he is on may take a few months to take effect.

July 17, 2018

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Freddie

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Devon Rex

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itching
Itching Red Sores

Hi, I have a Devon Rex who was born with no fur, it’s slowly growing crack but around his neck it hasn’t grown. He’s itching a lot around his neck & head leaving it red & sore. Could he be allergic to dust mites?

April 30, 2018

Freddie's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Without examining Freddie I cannot say what the specific cause of the itching is, but you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to check for infections, parasites or signs of other conditions which may be leading to itching or the formation of sores. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 1, 2018

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Lena

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short haired

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sore
Itchy Neck

My cat has sores around her neck where her collar would sit. We have changed her to a low Allegen food but the sores are still coming out. If she is having a dust mite allergy rather then food allergy how can I help her ?

March 14, 2018

Lena's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It can take some time for an allergen to leave Lena’s system, you should continue with the dietary change for a few weeks and monitor for improvement; you should also bathe any sores with a dilute antiseptic. If a food allergy (or any other allergy) is suspected, you should discuss allergy testing with your Veterinarian to identify the allergen faster. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 14, 2018

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Freddie

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Tuxedo

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Sores
Loss Of Fur

Hello, our cat has been tested for allergies and found to be allergic to two types of dust mite and one type of storage mite. His condition (fur loss, sores) is being kept under control wqith steroid tablets but this is less than ideal long-term. It has been suggested that there is an immunotherapy vaccine available for cats with this condition, but that it is experimental (unlike a similar treatment for dogs, which apparently is more proven). Could you please advise of the approximate success rate for cat immunotherapy vaccinations for cats? Are there any potentially harmful side effects? Finally, could you please tell me the approximate cost of the vaccine? Thank you in advance.

Jan. 19, 2018

Freddie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If you are referring to immunotherapy injections or oral treatments to try and decrease the signs of atopy for Freddie, it is used in cats, but not as commonly as in dogs, as they don't tend so suffer from atopy as often as dogs do. In dogs, it helps with about 75% of dogs to decrease signs - I would imagine it would be a similar percentage in cats, but I'm not sure there are enough cats being treated to have a valid percentage. If Freddie is suffering from long term allergies, it would be worth trying to avoid steroids, I agree. There are similar side effects to any vaccination, and your veterinarian would probably want to monitor him in the hospital for the first few injections to make sure that he doesn't have any allergic reactions to the therapy. You would have to ask your veterinarian about the cost, as costs vary depending on the area that you live in. There is also a medication called Apoquel that might offer relief for him with fewer long term side effects than steroids - you can talk with your veterinarian about whether this might be an option for him based on his general health status. I hope that everything goes well for him.

Jan. 19, 2018

So sorry Freddie's Owner! Be very very careful with medications that are sometimes overly prescribed for pets and seek a natural remedy if possible. I found myself with an issue with my babies and is worrying me as to what will be prescribed. More times than not in the past year, the meds that are pushed onto our fur babies cause worse side effects and unfortunately death. #1 side effect seems to be between diabetes and seizures or both anymore. Prayers to you - I'm freaking out. Don't know if the health issue or what medical steps to be taken are freaking me out worse. Over a dozen deaths in less than a year from associates giving pets prescribed medication has me on high alert. Love=best medicine. (My baby was hit 5 times!!!! And still by my side. Thank GOD! and his love for me is how he was hit every single time. He darts for me) Found an herbal pet site that I prefer. Explains how heart worm medicine is one of the first mistreated/rip off med there was. Give my babies crushed pumpkin seeds for treatment more than not. And dog eats TISSUE, a lot! So many times would have cost me a fortune to operate and clear her intestines... But every time I fed her pumpkin out of the can....and every time EVERYTHING came out. Can't live without one of my rescues but a domestic violence survivor in hiding... HAVE to have my dog. And she seems to know her protective role and takes it seriously. Hugs, prayers and do research.

Feb. 1, 2018

Cassie G.


Thank you for your swift response. I was indeed referring to the immunotherapy injections. I will mention the Apoquel, and see what the vet says – it was helpful to have this second opinion from you. Thanks again and kind regards!

Jan. 19, 2018

Freddie's Owner

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Flash

dog-breed-icon

Orange tabby

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching,
Hair Loss,

My 6 month old male cat was super vibrant and playful and this last week or so his hair has been falling out, now there's a patch missing on his neck. No sign or are mites so my second guess is dust mites. He doesn't play and is sulying around the apartment. Any home remedies for this?

dog-name-icon

Flash

dog-breed-icon

Orange tabby

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching,
Hair Loss,

My 6 month old male cat was super vibrant and playful and this last week or so his hair has been falling out, now there's a patch missing on his neck. No sign or are mites so my second guess is dust mites. He doesn't play and is sulying around the apartment. Any home remedies for this?

dog-name-icon

Tami

dog-breed-icon

Tabi

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching

I moved to the east side of Washington in 2019 with my cat. Shes never had an itching problem till we moved. When spring came I noticed she started itching after I took her out in the cat backpack a couple times. At the same time I had reactions too, the feeling of a million microscopic bugs crawling on me. No biting just absolutely annoying and no rashes. So since then I've been on habit of doing laundry. Recently I bought a silk blanket so I feel them less and silk pillow case. I can't afford a vet, I just wish I knew what I could do to help her.

dog-name-icon

Kira

dog-breed-icon

Bengal

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy, Fur Pulling, Bald Patches

My cat is allergic to dust mite, tuna, white and beef. She was permanently itchy and used to get bald patches behind the ears, under her chin etc. She also had chin acne. She is was blood tested so we know it is an accurate diagnosis and is now being successfully treated with homeopathy. WARNING many vets will treat biting at the end of the tails and fur pulling in the same area as “anal gland” problems. It is a painful procedure to have them emptied and it is unlikely there is a problem at all, it is just part of the allergy issue. Can’t recommend you find a good homeopathic vet highly enough. Animals respond brilliantly with all kinds of issues.

dog-name-icon

Molly

dog-breed-icon

Long haired mog

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Scabby Itchy Skin

My cat has itchy areas of scabby skin around her tail and back, eyes and tummy. This seems to have happened since we moved house and removed a disgusting old carpet that had failed rubber underneath which had become a mass of greenish fine dust. Since then ,we are dealing with the dust. Should it be a dust allergy, will the symptoms reduce as we get the house-dust to a minimum?

Dust Mite Allergy Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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