- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
|“Does my pet have food allergies?”|
If your pet has the following symptoms, he or she may have food allergies:
•Itching, scratching, biting the skin
If you suspect that your pet has a food allergy, talk to your veterinarian. Food allergies may even lead to weight loss.
Identifying food allergies in your pet can be a difficult, but necessary, process. Your veterinarian will work with you to replace your pet’s current diet with alternate protein and carbohydrates sources.
Food allergies are the third most common allergy that affects dogs and cats, outranked only by fleabites and inhaled allergens (e.g., pollen). Allergies to common food ingredients are also on the rise and now account for at least 30% of all allergy cases. Unfortunately for many pets, the most common food allergens are also the most common pet food ingredients. Consequently, as a pet owner, identifying and isolating the trigger for a pet’s food allergy can be difficult.
The first step in diagnosing a food allergy is to recognize the symptoms. Common food allergy symptoms including excessive itching and scratching. Dogs with a food allergy commonly lick their feet, scoot their rear end in an attempt to scratch it, or have ear problems. Cats have a wider variety of skin symptoms, almost any pattern of hair loss or scabs can be a sign of an allergy. Food allergies can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as chronic vomiting or soft stools. If a pet suffers from recurring gas or diarrhea, a food allergy may be the cause. Symptoms of a food allergy may slowly build over time as a pet’s immune system mounts an increasingly greater response. It may be several months before hair loss, coat deterioration and skin lesions occur.
Food allergies have a genetic basis, although environmental factors can also have an impact. Recent research suggests that different environmental factors in early puppyhood or kittenhood may increase the chance that the immune system overreacts to certain food substances. However, a genetic predisposition for this overreaction must first occur for an allergy to develop. Dogs are most commonly allergic to beef, chicken, and wheat. The most common allergens in cats are fish and dairy. However, any pet can be allergic to any ingredient they have eaten in the past.
An elimination diet is the most effective way to determine a food allergen as there is no valid blood or intradermal skin test for food allergies. A veterinarian will recommend a “novel” diet that is entirely different from a pet’s regular food. All protein and carbohydrate sources must be swapped out and fed for a length of time to see if the symptoms disappear or at least lessen. The dog or cat must consume nothing but the novel diet for 8 to 10 weeks. During this time, allergy symptoms should gradually disappear.
Next, owners can gradually reintroduce elements of the past diet one ingredient at a time. One ingredient should be introduced and then monitored for one to two weeks. If symptoms return, this ingredient can be confirmed as at least one source for the food allergy. Talk to your veterinarian before beginning an elimination diet.
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Food Allergies.”
Welcome to South Coastal Animal Health
Dr. Grace Strake DVM, Dr. Lori Harvey DVM, Dr. Liz Czaplicki DVM, Dr. Sandra Tam-Brinker DVM,
Dr. Sophie Johnstone DVM, Dr. Colleen Mead DVM, Dr. Kim Fortier Leidl DVM
South Coastal Animal Health opened it's doors in July of 2006. Privately owned and operated by Dr. Grace Strake, SCAH is a state of the art veterinary practice with a personal touch. Unlike larger hospitals, at South Coastal you will develop a one on one relationship with the doctors and the staff. We offer comprehensive animal health care ranging from preventative medicine and vaccinations to intensive care cases and involved surgical procedures. At South Coastal we pride ourselves on our top quality care, modern, fully equipped facility and friendly, knowledgeable staff.
Your Pets . . . Our Family!
We are open for appointments Monday - Saturday and can handle some emergencies normal business hours.
Visit our Online store for all your prescriptions and food delivered right to your door!
If you'd like one of our staff members to contact you please fill out your information below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!