Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments of Food Allergy in Cats
Food allergy does not only affect humans but also animals. It commonly affects cats and is considered among the major causes of atopy, and flea bite allergies. Cats may develop food allergies from frequently fed types of food.
Cats become sensitive with a certain food ingredient. Thus the antibodies in their intestinal tracts respond resulting to food allergy. In fact, among all types of allergies, food allergies are more prone to cats with a ten percent ratio.
Food allergies can affect female, male, and neutered cats. And it is also a misconception linking specific breeds of cats to food allergies. This condition can trigger symptoms in cats as young as five months old and as mature as twelve years old. But the majority of food allergy cases in cats occur between two and six years old. Cats having food allergies also have contact with inhalant allergies.
The major distinction of food intolerances from food allergies must be learned to correctly manage food allergy in cats. Food allergies are considered as true allergies showing characteristic symptoms such as itching as well as skin problems linked with canine and feline allergies. If vomiting or diarrhea occurs without creating allergic responses, then it is only food intolerances. Cat food intolerances are similar to humans getting stomach trouble or diarrhea because of eating fried or spicy foods. Both food allergies and food intolerances can be prevented by utilizing foods without offending agents.
Several studies revealed that some food ingredients are the major triggers of food allergies compared to others. The most common culprits in cats are beef, dairy products, and fish. As many pet owners have observed, these are the major ingredients found in cat foods. Although some proteins are slightly more antigenic, still it comes in similar forms. Thus allergic reactions depend on the amounts of exposure.
The symptoms of food allergies in cats are the same to most types of allergies. But the main symptoms are itchy skin, excessive scratching, miliary dermatitis, and hair loss. It can be difficult for pet owners to distinguish cats suffering from food allergies or atopy through physical signs. However, they must suspect of food allergy if symptoms start to manifest during the winter or all year-round and cats failed to respond to steroid and antihistamine treatments.
Diagnosing food allergies in cats is very simple provided that you can recognize symptoms of the different types of allergy. Food allergy symptoms can be similar to symptoms of bacterial or yeast infections, notoedric mange, seborrhoea, and hypersensitivity to intestinal parasites.
It is very important to perform food trials to cats. Provocative testing and elimination diets can be done. Feed the cat with novel foods that contain carbohydrates and proteins for twelve weeks without treats. One typical example is potato and duck, or potato and venison. These types of food are commercially available or can be made at home. Young growing cats have already special nutritional needs. Homemade diets containing one carbohydrate and one protein without fatty acids and multivitamins can be fed for twelve weeks. Food trials in kitten are done through feeding a commercially balanced diet. After twelve weeks, feed the cats with previous foods they once eat, if symptoms appear, then it is food allergy. Other perform blood testing, but it is not that accurate compared to food trials.
The treatment of food allergy in cats is also simple. Feed the cats with specialized commercial diets form Purina or Hill or homemade balanced diets.