Risk factors associated with feline pruritus unrelated to ectoparasites (PUE)
GP West Fund
Area of study
Principal Investigator: Dr Emily Blackwell
Domestic cats are routinely exposed to a range of potentially stressful stimuli such as changes in their environment, or living in close proximity to other cats. In addition to causing behavioural changes associated with fear and anxiety, it is proposed that they may also trigger flare ups of serious medical conditions such as feline idiopathic cystitis, anorexia and pruritus.
This research project will investigate whether a link exists between stress and certain types of skin disease in cats. Relatively little research has been completed on the relationship between environmental stress and pruritus in cats, even though anecdotal clinical reports suggest that stress can influence the occurrence of bouts of disease. It is possible that environmental stressors can influence the clinical signs of PUE in cats, over and above the particular allergens that may be driving the condition. This study aims to investigate this potential relationship further.
Identification of potential risk factors will enable the development of preventative behavioural advice, which can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for medication, as well as improving the quality of life of the cat itself.