Feline allergic diseases: introduction and proposed nomenclature

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BACKGROUND: Feline allergic diseases present as challenging problems for clinicians, not least because of the number of reaction patterns of the feline skin, none of which are specific for allergy. Furthermore, there is some controversy over the nomenclature that should be used in their description. OBJECTIVES: To review the literature, assess the status of knowledge of the topic and the extent to which these diseases could be categorized as atopic in nature, and make recommendations concerning nomenclature. METHODS: Atopic diseases in humans and cats were researched. A comparison then was made of the essential features in the two species. RESULTS: There were sufficient similarities between human atopic diseases and the manifestations of feline diseases of presumed allergic aetiology to justify the use of "atopic" to describe some of the feline conditions affecting the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. However, none of the allergic skin diseases showed features consistent with atopic dermatitis as described in man and the dog. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: The term "Feline Atopic Syndrome" (FAS) is proposed to encompass allergic diseases of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract, and "Feline atopic skin syndrome" (FASS) proposed to describe allergic skin disease associated with environmental allergies. We are not aware of any adverse food reactions in cats that are attributable to causes other than immunological reactions against the food itself. We therefore propose an aetiological definition of "Food Allergy" (FA) to describe such cases.

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Veterinary dermatology

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