Pemphigus Foliaceus is an autoimmune disease in pets. The disease causes the immune system to…
Pet food allergies are some of the common allergies in cats and dogs, but it is also one of the most manageable conditions, provided that a specific allergy can be identified. In this article, we go over everything you need to know about pet food allergies, including common allergies, clinical signs, how we make a diagnosis, and how it is treated. But first, what exactly is a pet food allergy?
Common Food Allergies in Cats and Dogs
It’s not understood what specifically causes pet food allergies, however it is important to note that food allergies are not usually a condition that pets are born with. In many cases, they can occur suddenly, where there have been no previous issues and this can occur at any age.
- Proteins such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and turkey
- Dairy products
Signs of Food Allergies in Cats and Dogs
One of the first things to know about pet food allergies is that they do not present the same as in humans. In humans, anaphylaxis is a common reaction to food allergies, however this is incredibly rare in animals.
Common signs of pet food allergies include:
- Recurring skin infection
- Excessive itching
- Weight loss
- Lack of energy
How are Pet Food Allergies Diagnosed?
Currently, the only reliable way to diagnose pet food allergies is to conduct a diet trial for 6-8 weeks. This involves replacing the existing diet with an elimination diet recommended by your vet, usually a hydrolysed food. During this time, no other food should be consumed. This should remove any substances from the system that cause a reaction. If, after the trial, clinical signs have subsided, a food allergy may be present, but to confirm this, your vet will re-introduce the old diet to see if symptoms return. Further diet trials can then be conducted to determine a specific allergy.
How are Pet Food Allergies Treated?
There is no cure for pet food allergies, however, of all allergic diseases, this is one of the easiest to manage, provided that a specific allergy is identified. This will then simply be excluded from your pet’s diet, whilst clinical signs are monitored on an ongoing basis.
Food allergies have a very good prognosis, and once the disease is under control, pets will usually live a perfectly normal life. That being said, further food allergies may develop over time, and you might find that your pet develops different types of allergies, such as Atopy, or a flea allergy.