Archives- July.2011 - Sept.2011- January.2012
Source: 'Food Allergy In Pets', Dr. Donna Specter, http://www.halopets.com/pet-education/pet-articles/food_allergies_in_pets.html.
Animal Blooms: If you suspect allergies in your pet, here's just some quick tips I grabbed and learned from both my course and Halo's website's, articles. I'd now love to share it with you, so here it goes.
There are types of allergies one common one seen and talked about is food allergies but also however account for 10% of all pet allergies which is a vital percentage to look at and learn about...
Common food allergies: Real food allergies can strike at any age and can develop to any protein or carbohydrate in a pets food. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn and soy. The most common food allergens in cats are fish, beef and dairy. You will note that these foods are the most common ingredients in standard pet foods. Therefore, these are the foods that pets are exposed to most frequently in their everyday meals. However, in order for a pet to develop a true allergy, they must not only have this chronic exposure, they must also have the genetic profile to develop an allergy.
Symptoms of food allergies: Common symptoms of food allergy include itching of the face, feet, sides of the body, legs and anal area. These pets will often have yeast ear infections and skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but recur as soon as the treatment is finished. Some pets with food allergy will also have increased bowel movements and soft stool. Again, food allergies should not be confused with food intolerances which generally cause more severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Diagnosis of food allergies: If you suspect your pet may have food allergies, contact your veterinarian. The only way to truly diagnose a food allergy is to perform a food trial with your pet. Other forms of allergy testing, such as blood and skin tests, are not reliable for diagnosing food allergy. Although you will get results from these tests, they don't accurately correlate with food allergies present in either the dog or cat and are NOT recommended by board-certified dermatologists at this time.
For accurate diagnosis, a food trial should be performed using unique (novel) protein and carbohydrate foods to avoid possible allergens to which your pet has previously been exposed in order to "cleanse" their system of potential allergens. The “gold standard” of food trials is the home-cooked diet. The advantage of a home-cooked diet is that it is free of preservatives and other additives which can also cause allergy or intolerance in pets. Common recipes recommended include protein sources such as venison, rabbit, ostrich, buffalo, or pinto beans. Some veterinarians recommend the use of commercial hypoallergenic diets or hydrolyzed diets in which the protein source is broken down into smaller proteins so they are less allergenic. It is important to keep in mind that these smaller proteins may still be allergenic for some pets and may result in food trial failure. While many pets respond favorably to these options, some pets will not have the response they will on a home-cooked diet.
Treatment of food allergies: Treatment of food allergies is simple…once the offending ingredients are identified, they must be avoided. As a note of caution, some pets may develop new food allergies in 1 to 3 years, so if a flare-up of itchiness occurs, a new food trial may be warranted. If you were feeding a home-cooked diet during the food trial and wish to continue, make sure you work with your veterinarian and a nutritionist to balance it specifically for your pets needs. Otherwise, work with your veterinarian to select a natural diet that will work best for your pet.