Atopy in Cats – Definition
Atopy, also referred to as inhalant allergies and atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which an animal develops immune-mediated skin allergies, called hypersensitivities or hypersensitivity reactions, to one or more things that are normal in the environment but usually don’t cause a cat to suffer any problems. These substances are known as “allergens.” The allergens that cause atopy typically are breathed in (inhaled) or absorbed through a cat’s skin. Some of the more common allergens that contribute to atopy in cats are pollen, dust, mold, fertilizers and household chemicals. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to differentiate atopic dermatitis from other disorders that cause feline skin problems, such as food allergies and saliva from the bites of fleas or other insects. Atopic cats may have seasonal symptoms, almost always including itchiness, that come and go early-on in the course of the disease but later become more chronic.