When To Buy Cat Food For Allergies Or Cat Food For Sensitive Stomachs
You should only buy cat food for allergies or sensitive stomachs after your vet has established a treatment plan for your cat. Your vet will likely recommend a certain diet or if necessary.
You should never purchase cat food for allergies or cat food for sensitive stomachs prior to talking to a vet because there is no way to tell if you are buying the right one to meet your cats needs. By sticking to your vets plan, the both of you can determine what the best diet for your cat will be for their health and happiness. These diets often include wet cat foods and dry cat foods with limited ingredient in the name and are often made without ingredients that are common sources of allergies in cats.
Why Would My Cat Develop A Food Allergy
An allergy occurs when a substance triggers an overreaction of the immune system. With cat food allergies, a foodborne ingredient leads to symptoms because the immune system thinks the food is an attack on the body.
A cat food allergy is an allergic reaction to one or more ingredients. The most common foods associated with allergies in cats are proteins: chicken, beef, dairy products and fish.
A cat can develop an allergy in reaction to a food theyve eaten at any age. Onset can be at 8-12 weeks, greater than 10 years old, or anywhere in between. Veterinary science cant yet completely explain why some cats develop allergic reactions to certain foods while others do not. And why they have an allergic reaction to a food that they were previously okay to eat.
One important factor is genetic predisposition. Some cats are genetically more likely to develop allergies. Cats with a genetic predisposition to allergies are likely to have a higher likelihood of developing either food and inhalant allergies or both.
Signs Your Cat Is Allergic To Their Litter
If youre asking, Is my cat allergic to his litter? there are several symptoms you can watch for. Common signs of an allergy in cats include:
- Frequent scratching and itchy skin
- Facial swelling or swelling, inflamed ears
You might notice one or more of these symptoms, and their severity can vary. If your cat has an allergy and continues using the same type of litter, those allergies can worsen and the symptoms more pronounced.
Initially, you might notice symptoms only when your cat is in or near the box. However, dust from the litter can get stuck on your cats paws, and your cat can track it through the house and into his bed. If this happens, then your cat might experience those symptoms no matter where in the house he happens to be.
Your cat will become uncomfortable, and if he realizes that the symptoms are worse when he uses the litter box, he may start avoiding the box.
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What To Do About A Litter Allergy
- One of the first steps necessary to address a cat litter allergy is to change the litter entirely. Look for a litter that has none of the ingredients used in your cats current litter. To accomplish this, youll probably need to change litter types entirely for example, if youre using clay litter, switching to pine or corn litter can help.
- Before you use the new litter, thoroughly clean out your cats litter box. Give it a good scrubbing to ensure you remove all the dust from the previous litter. Youll also need to clean all the areas of your house where the litter dust could have been tracked. This means cleaning your floors, your carpets, your cats bed, cat tree, and any other areas where he likes to go after using the litter box.
- Change your cats litter over to the new litter and then prioritize frequent cleaning. Vacuuming and sweeping up often can help reduce the allergens in your home. Monitor your cat for signs of symptom improvement to see if the litter change helped.
What Is Wet Food Allergy
Cats with food allergies often develop uncomfortable and unsightly skin conditions, and although wet food does not pose a higher incidence of allergic reaction than dry food, allergies to the ingredients in any type food may arise. An elimination diet is the veterinary gold standard for accurately identifying which allergen is distressing your feline. This process is often time-consuming, requiring several weeks to months of treatment, however, it is still the most popular and accurate method available today to deduce which ingredient is causing the patients reaction.
Cats can develop uncomfortable and unsightly skin conditions due to allergies to any ingredient, including the ingredients found in wet cat food.
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What Are The Signs Of Food Allergies
Cats with allergies often present with chronic, year-round itching and skin inflammation. This itching typically affects the face, ears, belly, groin, armpits, and the legs/paws. These cats are so itchy that they often over-groom themselves, causing significant trauma and hair loss.
Affected cats may also develop recurrent infections of both the skin and ears. In some cats, these infections may be the only clinical sign of food allergies. In some cases, cats with food allergies develop gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting or diarrhea, in addition to their skin issues. These cats may develop itching around the rectum, which leads to scooting. Cats with food allergies may also have frequent bowel movements, or strain when they are defecating.
Treatment Of Chicken Allergy In Cats
Treatments can begin even before the food allergy is properly diagnosed. With general treatments, your cats symptoms can be treated and we can give them some relief while they are starting their prescription diet and allergy testing.
Steroids are used to relieve itching and rashes from food allergies. The most common steroids given are prednisone and prednisolone. These are given orally in tablet form. Injectable steroids can be given if the allergic reaction is severe or if the owner prefers this to giving oral medicine.
Prescription diets are also available for your cat. There are even over the counter foods that are specifically formulated and do not contain certain common foods that cause allergies in cats.
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Diagnoses Of Allergies In Cats
It is often difficult to find the exact cause of their allergy. This is why veterinarians often have to run various tests as the allergen is detected by eliminating the possible causes until they locate the cause. The most common ways to diagnose the origin of an allergy in a cat are:
- At the veterinarian centre, different tests such as blood tests, skin scrapes from the affected areas and allergy tests, among others, are done.
- In the case of suspecting a food allergy, to identify which is the food that causes the allergy to our cat we must not give them the food we suspected was the cause. Once the allergy has passed with the treatment provided by the veterinarian, we can introduce it back into their diet, little by little with the guidance of our trusted veterinarian.
- At home we must remove the objects suspected of causing any allergies from the environment of our cat. If the allergy subsides and we want to know what the trigger is, we will introduce the removed objects one by one again to observe the symptoms in our cat until we find the cause of the problem.
This process is always done with a veterinarian, following their guidelines and decisions. Make sure to bring your cat to the veterinarian if you notice them experience any abnormalities in their behaviour or appearance.
Causes Of Food Allergies In Cats
Veterinarians do not know exactly why cats develop allergies to certain foods.
In many cases, allergic reactions in response to food are triggered by a specific protein. These include sources of meat, such as beef or lamb. Meat should make up a majority of a cats diet.
Corn has also been shown to prompt food allergies in certain cats. Other foods may trigger reactions as well, and common culprits include soy, rice, gluten, potatoes, and dairy.
Beyond being allergic to a specific food, cats might also develop allergies due to the presence of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives contained in some commercially manufactured pet foods.
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Theyre Not One And The Same Understanding The Difference Between A Food Allergy And Food Intolerance Is The First Step To Helping Your Cat Back To Health
If your cat has a problem with a particular food, you probably assume hes allergic to it. But thats not necessarily the case. True food allergies are relatively uncommon. In fact, your cat may actually have whats termed a food intolerance. Lets take a look at food allergies and intolerances in cats, and the differences between their causes, symptoms, and treatments.
You Feel Exhausted All The Time
When you think of allergies, you probably think of sneezing, wheezing, and rashes. Those are very common symptoms, but they aren’t the only ones! Cat allergies can also cause fatigue, leaving you feeling exhausted all the time. In fact, Healthline reports that experts give this type of fatigue a specific name â âbrain fogââ and itâs all to do with the inflammation.
âPeople with allergies experience inflammation,â ays from the Cleveland Clinic. âThat inflammation leads to a congested nose, disrupted sleep patterns and not getting good rest.â Itâs an easy symptom to overlook, as fatigue can have a variety of causes, but if it’s combined with some of the below symptoms, it could be a sign of allergies.
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How Pet Insurance Can Help
When food allergies strike, Pumpkins pet insurance plans can help you cover the cost of Rx food and supplements needed to get your fur baby feeling better.
*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information
*PRESCRIPTION FOOD COVERAGE TERMS: Pumpkin insurance covers prescription food to treat an eligible accident or illness. It does not cover prescription food used for weight management or general health maintenance.
What Are The Symptoms Of Allergies In Cats
An allergic reaction occurs when the cats immune system feels threatened by a particular substance . The cats immune system produces antibodies to fight off the threat, and its this overreaction that causes these symptoms:
- Itchiness and scratching
- Lethargy and loss of appetite
- Bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea
You can predict what type of allergy your cat has by scrutinizing its symptoms. Itching, sneezing, and wheezing tend to occur in response to household/environmental allergies. However, bloating and diarrhea often indicate a food allergy. However, there can be some crossover between the two, and some cats may have multiple allergies.
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What Causes A Litter Allergy
An oversensitivity to everyday substances will lead to an immune response. The cats body will try to flush these substances from the body, leading to an allergic reaction.
Most litter allergies are caused by fragrances or scented chemicals that have been added for odor control. Europe PMC stated that perfumes added to gravel in cat toilets could lead to allergic reactions. In extreme cases, asthma can occur.
The European Respiratory Journal also argues that cat litter is a possible trigger for sarcoidosis. This is a disease involving a series of inflammatory cells that form granulomas, which are lumps. For example, silica, a component found in cat litter, can initiate inflammation and cause a reaction.
Scented litter only really benefits humans, so its best to avoid this kind of litter. Scented litter may even encourage your cat to go to the toilet elsewhere, leading to an unwanted cat smell in your home.
Causes Of Dry Food Allergy In Cats
Common allergens in cat food allergies are:
- Corn – Corn meal and corn gluten are used as fillers in commercial dry food
- Rice – Brewers rice is used as a filler
- Dairy products – Such as milk powder or cheese
- Eggs – Sometimes added to food for a protein source
- Meat by product – Unknown, non-rendered ingredients may contain organs, pieces of tail, hooves, fatty tissue, intestines, blood, or bone these by products provide less nutrition
- Preservatives – Such as BHA or BHT additionally, these preservatives may be carcinogens
- Soy products – Plant derived protein
- Wheat gluten – Used as a filler
- Beef, lamb, chicken, pork or fish
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What Is The Difference Between Food Allergy And Food Intolerance
How to distinguish between food allergy and food intolerance?
An allergy is a response by a cats immune system to defend itself against something that it perceives as a threat. An allergic reaction doesnt happen the first time an individual cat is exposed to the ingredient but starts showing after repeated consumption.
Food intolerances do not involve the immune system and is more likely to cause only gastrointestinal responses such as changes in the consistency or colour of the cats stool or unusual sounds from the digestive system.
How Does Your Vet Determine The Cause Of Your Cats Skin Allergies
It is important to note that figuring out the cause of your cats skin allergy will require multiple visits to your veterinarian. Typically, your veterinarian will want to see your cat every two to three weeks until your cat gets better. These are the steps your vet will take to determine why your cat has skin allergies.
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What Causes Food Allergies
A food allergy is a reaction by an individual animal to a particular substance in their food. This occurs when the bodies’ response to normal food becomes ‘confused’, causing abnormal reactions. Frequently the food has been part of the diet for a long time. We cannot stop this abnormal reaction so the only effective treatment is to avoid eating the food that causes the problem.
The most common causes of food allergy in the dog include beef, mutton, chicken, wheat, corn, soy, dairy foods and eggs. Occasionally chemicals such as preservatives, additives or food dyes are also the culprit.
The most common causes of food allergy in the cat include fish, beef and dairy products.
Diagnosis Of Wet Food Allergy In Cats
Skin reactions exhibited by allergic felines closely mimics other skin disorders such as bacterial skin infections, fungal infestations, and even mites, and most veterinarians will choose to collect samples of the skin to perform a cutaneous cytology, a process in which the technician examines the sample under a microscope to see if any other organisms or malformations can be identified. Allergies are typically suspected where there are no problematic micro-organisms found, although determining the trigger for the allergies can be more challenging. Although both intradermal and serum assessments are available for cats that have developed allergies, they are not generally as reliable for detecting allergies relating to food.
The most commonly used tool for the veterinary diagnosis of food allergies is the elimination diet, a time-consuming but effective method in which the cats daily diet is switched to either a limited ingredient commercial cat food or a specialized hypoallergenic food. Some cat owners may choose to feed their cat a homemade diet of unseasoned meats, although this should only be done with the advice of a feline nutritionist in order to ensure the cat gets the appropriate ratio of nutrients to best support their system. Elimination diets are frequently made up of novel ingredients which are defined as any proteins or carbohydrates that are not currently included the cats current diet, preferably ingredients that the animal has never been introduced to.
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Diagnosing Cat Food Allergies
The best way to diagnose a food allergy in a cat is through an elimination diet trial. The idea is that if you can completely exclude the source of allergen from your pets environment, then the symptoms should resolve.
Importantly, since the signs of food allergy are common to other diseases in cats, your veterinarian is likely to start with testing for and treating other more common causes of your cats symptoms. These include various causes of gastrointestinal inflammation, flea allergy, and environmental allergy. Once these causes of your cats symptoms are excluded, then it is time to start a diet trial. While any veterinarian can conduct a food trial, veterinary dermatologists are specialists who focus on skin and allergies and are often the best resources for diagnosing and treating allergic disease.
Selection of the food is the easy part. The hard part is remembering to not give your cat any treats, snacks, medications, or supplements that contain anything edible other than the elimination diet. This means other cats in the house will need to be fed separately or else everyone needs to be on the same elimination diet. If you accidentally allow your cat to eat anything other than the prescribed diet, you have to start the whole trial timeline over again.
According to recent research, alternative tests of blood, serum, saliva and hair have been found to be unsatisfactory in the diagnosis of food allergy in cats .