Dogs and cats are affected by food allergies. Having a pet cat has its rewards and you get to have a companion when you're all alone in your house. But did you know that even if your feline companion is just 5 months old, it can already have a food allergy? However, majority of cats exhibit symptoms of an allergy between 2 to 6 years old. Those cats that have food allergies have contact allergies or concurrent inhalant.
Oftentimes, pet owners confuse a food allergy from food intolerance. The first one is the true allergy wherein symptoms of skin problems and itching are associated with cat allergies. The latter is a result of diarrhea or vomiting and doesn't create an allergic response. The one thing that is common among the two is that both conditions can be removed with a carefully planned diet that is free from allergy agents.
Among cats, the most common types of food that cause an allergic reaction are dairy products, beef, and fish. The offenders are also the common ingredient in their foods. The correlation is not considered a coincidence. There are proteins that are antigenic than other proteins. The food proteins are usually similar and the occurrence of allergic responses can be associated with exposure.
The major symptom if your cat has a food allergy is an itchy skin. It can also include excessive scratching, miliary dermatitis, and hair loss. If you purely base your evaluation from physical signs, then you can't distinguish if your cat has food allergy, or if your cat has Atopy and other allergies.
If at the beginning of winter your cat is having an allergic reaction, or if it happens all year-round, then your cat might be suffering from food allergy. If the itchy skin felt by your cat doesn't respond to steroid treatments and antihistamines, then this is another confirmation that your cat is suffering from an allergy.
Prior to obtaining a food allergy diagnosis, your cat's other health problems must be identified and treated. This includes Atopy, parasite hypersensitivities, allergies with flea bites, bacterial or yeast infections, seborrhea, and other problems. If all those problems are resolved and your cat still exhibits symptoms, then you should start with a food trial.
Your cat's food trial should consist of novel food and carbohydrate that will last for about 12 weeks. You can avail of the diet commercially, or you can also have it homemade. Don't give your cats treats during the trial period. Just make sure that it is still a well-balanced diet so that your cat won't get sick.
If you observe elimination or marked reduction of the symptoms, then you should do provocative testing, which means that you give the original food back. This is essential to prove or confirm your diagnosis. If the symptoms go back after eating the original food, then your diagnosis is confirmed. Your cat truly has food allergy.
After such confirmation, you have two choices. You can either feed your cat a homemade diet or a commercial diet. If you choose the first option, you can challenge your cat with other ingredients that doesn't cause allergic reactions. Make sure that you give the right amount of food ingredients. The second option requires you to purchase every now and then and an added cost.
Whatever you choose, it's for your cat's well-being.