Food allergies can be tricky both to diagnose and to treat. There are a lot of assumptions out there about food allergies so here’s what is important to know:
- Corn and other grains are not necessarily the culprits. Pets are often allergic to meat proteins.
- Food allergies may appear as GI symptoms, itchiness or chronic ear infections. Allergic pets may chew on their feet and be itchy in their ears, on their belly, and sometimes around the anus. Itchiness on the rump is usually indicative of fleas or anal glands that need to be expressed.
- Your cat can develop allergies to a diet that they’ve been on for a long time. It takes exposure to an ingredient in order to develop an allergy.
- Blood testing for food allergies is not very accurate. The best way to figure out a food allergy is to put your cat on a strict food trial. This means 2-3 months of eating ONLY a prescription hypoallergenic diet. Talk with one of our doctors before selecting a food. Many over-the-counter hypoallergenic diets may not work.
- Even if your cat’s allergies are seasonal, food allergies could still be contributing to the problem. Sometimes inhalant allergies and food allergies together can cause the itchiness to be worse during certain seasons.
Here at Nob Hill Cat Clinic we see many allergic cats and we know how frustrating chronic allergy problems can be. Please call us if you have any concerns or if you’d like more information.