Feline allergic diseases: introduction and proposed nomenclature

Richard Halliwell, Cherie M. Pucheu-Haston, Thierry Olivry, Christine Prost, Hilary Jackson, Frane Banovic, Tim Nuttall, Domenico Santoro, Petra Bizikova, Ralf S. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background – Research into feline allergic diseases has lagged well behind that into the canine diseases. Feline allergies present as challenging problems for clinicians, not least because of the varied spectrum of reaction patterns of the feline skin, some of which are unique for this species, and none of which are specific for allergic skin diseases. Furthermore, there is some controversy over the nomenclature that should be used in their description.
Objectives – A sub-group of the International Committee on Allergic Diseases of Animals (ICADA) was charged with reviewing the literature spanning some 50 years and assessing the status of knowledge of the topic. It was furthermore charged with assessing the extent to which these diseases could be categorized as atopic in nature, and making recommendations concerning nomenclature.
Methods – The history of the atopic diseases of man from the 1920s and 1930s, and of their evolution to the present day was researched, as was the literature on feline allergic diseases. A comparison was then made of the essential features in the two species.
Results – It was determined that there were sufficient similarities between the spectrum of 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) to describe allergic skin disease associated with environmental allergies. Although adverse food reaction (AFR) is currently used to describe any gastrointestinal or dermatologic reaction to foods, contrary to the situation in man, we are not aware of any cutaneous adverse food reactions in cats that are attributable to other than immunological reactions against the food itself. We therefore propose an aetiological definition of “Food Allergy” (FA) to describe such cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-e2
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Dermatology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021


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