Background: Eosinophilic airway disease in cats is sometimes described as allergic in origin, but controversy exists in the documentation of allergy in cats and the utility of allergy testing for respiratory tract diseases. Objective: To examine serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) response to aeroallergens in cats with airway eosinophilia. Animals: Fifteen cats with idiopathic eosinophilic airway inflammation and 9 control cats. Methods: Prospective, case-control study. Surplus serum from cats with airway eosinophilia documented by bronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage was submitted for IgE measurement using ELISA polyclonal antibody methodology. Responses for regional allergens (fungal organisms, weeds, grasses, trees, mites, insects) were assessed. Results were reported as ELISA absorbance units with scores 0 to 79 considered negative, scores between 80 and 300 considered intermediate, and scores >300 considered positive. Results: Cats with airway eosinophilia had significantly more positive serum IgE responses (25/720) than did healthy controls (5/432, P =.02); however, the number of cats with positive IgE responses (5/15) did not differ from controls (1/9, P =.35). The allergen that most commonly resulted in positive serum IgE response in cats with airway eosinophilia was dust mite (n = 4) followed by 2 types of storage mites (n = 3 each). No control cat tested positive for these allergens. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Serum IgE production against aeroallergens was found in some cats with eosinophilic airway inflammation, but the number of affected cats with positive results did not differ from controls. Further investigation in cats with eosinophilic, mixed, and neutrophilic airway disease in comparison to control cats is warranted.
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