How To Help Pets With Allergies
As a rule, a good approach to treating pets with allergies includes:
Regular treatment with a parasite control medicine
Following a special hypoallergenic diet
Avoidance of allergens such as particular plants or chemicals
Treatment e.g. immunotherapy or medication to control symptoms
As part of testing for an allergy, your vet will likely suggest carrying out an elimination diet for your pet. This will involve feeding your pet an alternative diet , which cuts out likely allergens. Then, after the dietary exclusion period, youll start reintroducing normal foods it should be obvious from these test results which foods trigger allergic reactions in your pet.
Please note that while simply avoiding known allergens may help to reduce symptoms, its often unlikely to completely resolve them. Therefore, an additional form of treatment is usually required too.
Once youve identified the cause of the allergy symptoms, you may be able to make some changes to try and cause a significant improvement in your pets comfort. For example, if allergens like dander or dust are identified, you may be able to clean your cats litter box or the dog basket more regularly to help. Additionally, switching food to help your dogs diet can sometimes ease symptoms, but make sure you check with your vet first.
Is Limited Ingredient Cat Food Better
If your cat is healthy, there is no reason to try to switch to a limited ingredient diet because you think that it might be better for them. The nutrients in your cats food are much more important than the ingredients that provide them.
A well-balanced diet made from chicken, beef, eggs, and rice is likely better than a limited ingredient cat food that is poorly balanced but made from a novel protein.
Impact Of Medications On Serum Allergy Testing
Antihistamine and cyclosporine therapies do not interfere with serum allergy testing.
Although serum allergy testing appears to be less influenced by glucocorticoid therapy, in cases where it is medically feasible, it may be ideal for glucocorticoid therapy to be discontinued for at least 412 weeks prior to serum allergy testing or reduced to the lowest possible every other day dosing. However, mandatory discontinuation of steroids is not required.
A small study suggests that a short course of Apoquel likely does not interfere with serum allergy testing. Studies looking at the effects of longer-term use of Apoquel are not yet available. It may be ideal to consider discontinuation of Apoquel for at least 412 weeks prior to testing if an animal has been on this medication long-term.
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Cat Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A flea allergy is triggered by a reaction to a fleas saliva. Cats who live exclusively indoors are just as susceptible to fleas as cats who go outside because fleas can live anywhere in the environment.
If you are currently using flea prevention on your cat and your veterinarian cant find any sign of fleas, that would suggest that your cat has an allergy to a food or something in the environment.
The Importance Of Nutrition
Food allergies or food intolerance may last a lifetime. The main goal in managing allergies or adverse reactions to food is to find and avoid the food ingredient responsible for causing the skin and/or gastrointestinal signs. If your cat suffers from food allergies, its even more important to feed the right cat food.
Dietary elimination trials removing the ingredient from the food your cat eats are the most practical and accurate methods of diagnosing food allergies in cats. The food your cat eats should be balanced and contain as few ingredients and additives as possible. Be mindful to remove access to all other cat food, table food, treats, snacks and chew toys while you are isolating the allergen.
If your cat has an allergic reaction to a certain meat, you may want to try a food with a new protein source new to your dog, that is such as duck or venison. If none of this helps, your cat may be allergic to these proteins and will need a food with specially broken-down proteins. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your cats food allergies.
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What Are Cat And Dog Allergy Symptoms
Young dogs are more likely to experience food allergies than older dogs. Cats can be affected at any age. Food allergies often occur after a long period of consuming the type of food causing the allergy.
The most common dog and cat allergy symptoms are:
Itching that doesnt respond to conventional treatment. This can be generalised or limited to the face, ears, feet, and ears, and armpits, tummy or perineal region for dogs. In cats, the head and neck and ears are commonly affected
Recurrent ear infections
Gastrointestinal tract symptoms – vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence and an increase in faecal mucous, faecal blood and straining
Smalls For Smalls Fresh Chicken Pate
Our Top Pick for the Best Cat Food Overall for Allergies: Smalls for Smalls creates human grade recipes specially formulated based on a profile you fill out when you sign up. If your cat is unable to have certain ingredients or has allergies or health problems, you are able to indicate that information! The food is delivered to your doorstep and is easy to store and serve. Cats are primarily carnivores, so they get most of their nutrition from the meat in their food. Smalls for Smalls recipes, such as the Fresh Turkey Pate, are all protein first, so you know your cat is getting optimal nutrition during every meal. Another thing to think about is the fact that cats actually get most of their hydration from their food, as well. Smalls for Smalls Fresh Turkey Pate has a high water content, which means your cat will stay hydrated and healthy. If the ingredients arent good enough for humans, they arent good enough for cats, either, according to Smalls for Smalls, so when you subscribe, you know you are giving your cat food you can feel good about from a company you can trust.
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What Are Cat Food Allergies
A cat food allergy is when your cat is allergic to a specific food and has an allergic reaction whenever she eats it.
A food allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction, usually to a type of protein, Dr. Hammond told The Dodo. The immune system identifies proteins within the food as allergens and creates antibodies.
These antibodies latch onto cells in your cats body that release histamines and other substances that cause your cats allergy symptoms which makes her get itchy whenever she eats it.
Allergies to food are more common in cats than in dogs and cats that are Siamese might actually be at an increased risk.
What Are Food Allergies Or Food Intolerance
Food allergies / intolerance are caused by a reaction to a particular ingredient, which is usually a protein. Sometimes referred to as an adverse reaction to food, it is defined as an abnormal response to a food or food additive. There are two classes of adverse reactions: those in which the immune system is involved and those that occur without an immune component .
Allergies may last a lifetime so the ingredient must be permanently removed from your cats food.
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Food Allergy Testing For Cats
When a cats allergy is suspected to be caused by an adverse reaction to something in their diet, food allergy testing is recommended. However, food allergies are very difficult and, in some cases, impossible to identify because the cat could be hypersensitive to any of the components of their diet. Food trials may go on for several weeks or months to successfully identify the allergen culprit.
Cat Food Allergy Symptoms
The following are signs of food allergies in cats:
- Nonseasonal itching especially of the head, face, ears and neck
- Ear infection
- Digestive problems, like vomiting or diarrhea
On average, cats develop food allergy symptoms when they reach around 4 to 5 years old.
If you notice the above signs, take your cat to the veterinarian ASAP.
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After The Trial Period
At the end of the trial period, your vet will check your cat to see how they are doing and see how they got on during their new diet. In particular, theyll want to know if symptoms have improved, changed or remained the same. If theres been no improvement, the chances are that your pet doesnt have a cat food allergy and your vet will consider what else could be causing them to not feel themselves.
If there has been an improvement, thats good news for you and your cat! Your vet will discuss what happens next but, depending on your cats specific problems, it may involve slowly reintroducing proteins to their diet one by one and keeping a close eye on their response. If their symptoms return when they eat a particular food, you may have found the culprit.
Its then a case of finding a different, nutritionally balanced diet, in the long- or short-term, that avoids that ingredient.
Sometimes, however, its not that simple and there could be more than one food type responsible for your pets cat food allergy. Thats why its so important to get your vet involved, and not try to do the detective work yourself. It can be a tough process, but will be worth it in the end when your pet can happily tuck in to their dinner without the worry of any nasty after-effects!
If you are concerned that your cat may have an allergy to cat food, consult your vet straight away.
What Is Atopic Dermatitis
There are three common causes of allergic skin disease in cats:
- Food allergy: an allergy to the proteins found in food
- Flea allergy: an allergy to proteins in flea saliva
- Atopy: an allergy to inhaled environmental allergens
Atopy is skin reaction to inhaled irritants, and a common cause of seasonal allergic skin disease in cats.
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Benefits Of Our Feline Allergy Testing
- Provides clear, easily interpreted results in a visual format that can be shared with owners
- Requires withdrawal from fewer medications prior to allergy testing and is less invasive and more time efficient compared to intradermal testing
- Boasts a quick standard turnaround times of 2-4 days
- Includes highly specific assays, using monoclonal antibodies for IgE detection
- Incorporates a unique CCD blocker included within the environmental assay to prevent and remove N-linked glycan IgE binding
- Is supported by numerous peer-reviewed publications
- Is evidence-based with excellent reproducibility
What Is A Food Allergy
The term food allergy is used to describe an abnormal immune-mediated reaction to an antigen within food. In other words, food allergy refers to a reaction caused by the immune system to a specific protein found within food.
Although we understand the mechanism by which food allergies occur, it is not known why these allergies occur. We do not understand why some cats develop food allergies and others do not.
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Firstmate Chicken Meal With Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food
Though FirstMate cat food is not made in the USA, it is a highly trusted brand known for the quality of its ingredients. This FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food is a great choice for cats with allergies because it is a very limited ingredient formula and highly digestible. This formula features chicken meal as a single source of protein with digestible carbohydrates including potatoes and blueberries. It wont work if your cat has a sensitivity to chicken, but it only really contains four main ingredients. Aside from those ingredients, it is supplemented with chelated minerals and vitamins to ensure nutritional balance. Overall, this formula provides 36% protein, 16% fat, and 4% fiber. It is highly digestible and full of natural flavor your cat will love.
- Pros: Single-source protein, limited number of ingredients, grain-free carbohydrates, highly digestible, antioxidant-rich, chelated minerals, rich in fiber for healthy digestion
- Cons: Not a chicken-free recipe, expensive to feed as a staple diet
How Do Cats Get Food Allergies
Cats become allergic to food when their immune system misidentifies a foodborne protein as a hostile invader and attacks it. Meats like fish, beef or dairy products are common sources of protein in cat food. Most feline foods also contain proteins present in grains and vegetables, any of which can cause a food allergy. There are several other common allergens in food that your cat can have a bad reaction to.
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How Does An Animal Show Signs Of Allergy
While the causes of allergies in humans and animals are the same, the clinical signs displayed may differ. In humans, the classic signs of allergy area nasal and respiratory. In animals however, it is far more common to show signs of skin irritations with intense itching. Cats often show more signs of respiratory distress than dogs.
The classic signs of an allergic animal begin with scratching, feet licking and chewing and face rubbing. As the allergies become more severe, the chewing may eventually lead to bacterial skin infections and large open sores. Food allergies can also cause skin problems, although it is not uncommon for them to cause vomiting and diarrhea.
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Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher with 16 years of experience researching, verifying, and editing topics in science and health.
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The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang
Deciding which cat food to feed your cat can be overwhelming, but your choices will be narrowed down if your cat has food allergies. Hypoallergenic cat foods can be good options for cats with allergies since they contain ingredients that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. While true food allergies in cats are actually pretty uncommon, cats that do have them are most likely to have a problem with beef, fish, or chicken. Hypoallergenic foods therefore dont typically contain these ingredients or have hydrolyzed versions of them that dont usually cause an allergic response. They also usually have only one grain or carbohydrate source.
We researched the market to create this list of the best hypoallergenic cat foods, although most will require an authorization from your veterinarian.
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Intradermal Testing In Cats
The intradermal testing or skin prick involves injecting very small amounts of different substances just under the skin of the cat. If the cat is allergic to a certain allergen, there will be a distinct reaction in the skin where the allergen was injected. Your vet will be checking for a localized allergic response that typically includes the formation of a hive, inflammation, or redness. One benefit of the IDST is that results are available immediately.
For this test, a portion of your cats hair coat needs to be shaved off for ease of injection and examination of any allergic reaction. The cat should not be given antihistamines and/or steroids before an IDST because these medications can affect the results. Withholding anti-itch medication can be uncomfortable for your pet.
What To Do If You Think Your Cat Has Allergies
If your cat appears to be exhibiting symptoms of allergies, its highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with your vet. Considering that there are several types of allergies in cats, a visit to your vet can help determine the cause of your pets issues so the appropriate treatment can be given.
Before your vet starts performing an allergy test, your pet will be examined for fleas to make sure that its not a flea allergy. If your cat does have fleas, appropriate flea treatment is given to eliminate the pesky parasites. However, if your pets allergic reactions fail to be resolved, your vet may deem it necessary to perform allergy testing.
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American Journey Duck Recipe Grain
Our Top Pick for the Best Affordable Cat Food for Allergies: Limited ingredient cat food can be expensive, so if youre looking for a more affordable option that wont trigger your cats allergies, consider this American Journey Duck Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. This formula features fresh duck as the primary ingredient with grain-free carbohydrates like tapioca, peas, and flaxseed. For an affordable cat food, this product is extremely high in protein and contains a variety of beneficial supplements including supplemental fiber, chelated minerals, and dried fermentation products . This formula is rich in essential fats for energy, including a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It is loaded with natural meat flavor and nutritionally balanced to help your cat recover his full health.
- Pros: Real duck as first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, novel carb sources, rich in essential fatty acids, high in protein , supplemental fiber, chelated minerals, probiotics
- Cons: Contains chicken ingredients , contains some plant protein
Are There Drawbacks To Rast Testing Compared To Intradermal Testing
In theory, yes. Historically, RAST testing has been associated with a higher rate of false positive test results, or positive results that cannot be confirmed with intradermal skin testing.
In a practical sense, however, evidence suggests that most cats treated with hyposensitization based on RAST results still experience a significant improvement in their skin disease.
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