Clinical presentations of food allergy in cats include:
What I find most important to come from this case study is the need for clinicians and patients to be taught that food allergen sources can be found in pet foods. This includes dog, cat, even bird food. Also, if this 5-year-old boy developed hives from a simple lick imagine what could happen if a child with a food allergy were to actually eat the pet food containing allergens. He or she is susceptible to suffering a more serious or even life threatening allergic reaction. Therefore, as both a mom and board certified Allergist, I believe it is important that we become familiar with what’s in our beloved animal’s food. Just what we parents today need, right? One more consumer alert, telling us to stop and read food labels, causing us to spend more time in the aisle and spend more money on pet foods free of peanut, wheat, egg, or soy. I do believe, however, that what you may save, is much greater. Being aware of potential allergens in pet food … may just save … a life.
28. Allenspach K, Vaden SL, Harris TS, et al: Evaluation of colonoscopic allergen provocation as a diagnostic tool in dogs with proven food hypersensitivity reactions. 47(1):21-26, 2006.
Dogs and cats with allergies are itchy. They itch because histamine is released when their immune system attacks the offending allergen. Areas of the skin that most often itch are ears, eyes, feet—even between the toes—arm pits, groin, and around the anus. This itching causes feet biting, head shaking, face rubbing, and bottom scooting. Some pets also bite or scratch their bellies. About 60% of cats that pull out their hair (barbering) and have bald spots (alopecia) have itchy skin from food allergies.For dogs and cats, the most common sign of food allergy is itching and scratching. Other signs of food allergies are head and neck itching, miliary dermatitis, eosinophilic granulomas, swollen lymph nodes, hives, and conjunctivitis.Proteins cause most food allergies. It's unusual for pets to be allergic to carbohydrates or fats. Considering all dog food allergies, two-thirds are caused by beef, dairy, and wheat. Dogs are also frequently allergic to soy, chicken, eggs, and corn. For cats, 90% of food allergies are caused by beef, dairy, and fish. Cats are also commonly allergic to lamb, wheat, chicken, and corn. Nine ingredients frequently cause food allergies in cats. Cats affected by allergy or intolerance to foods develop itchy dry skin or skin rashes, particularly around the face and ears. If your cat spends long periods of time scratching at himself and there are no fleas or ticks present, cat food allergies may well be the problem. For many pets, one of the best methods of diagnosing allergy is with a food elimination trial. Food elimination trials require pets to eat only special diets, such as the Hill's Z/D diet with all the components broken into such small segments they no longer arouse the immune system. After 3-8 weeks on Hill's Z/D, your pet receives one food with kibble for 3-8 weeks. If no symptoms occur, you know your pet tolerates this food. More foods are added one at a time. The difficulty with food elimination trials is that pets can have nothing else—no treats, bones, chewies, or flavored medications—during the test period.According to Wendy Brooks, DVM, beef, dairy and seafood are responsible for 8 out of 10 allergies in cats. Often switching to a cat food containing duck and peas or venison and potato are good options.