What is EVO Allergy?
EVO brand foods is a brand manufactured by Natura and marketed as an alternative to a raw food diet. It is formulated to be grain-free, but may not be not designed for animals that are prone to allergies, and each option contains several healthy ingredients, some of which are common allergens for those cats with sensitivities. When cats experience food allergies to EVO brand or another similar product, they begin to have unsightly and uncomfortable skin conditions. In order to reliably determine the proper allergen that is affecting your pet, an elimination diet may be required. This can be time-consuming but is frequently necessary in order to deduce which ingredient is causing the reaction.
A food allergy is an over-reaction of your cat’s immune system to an unwelcome protein that can be found in a particular ingredient of their diet, in this case, EVO brand cat food.
Symptoms of EVO Allergy in Cats
Food allergies are often accompanied and sometimes preceded by an intolerance to the food which generally presents as gastrointestinal distress and gurgling sounds from the digestive system are common with a food intolerance. Symptoms of food allergies generally start on the head and neck and can include:
- Acute moist dermatitis
- Crusty papules
- Hair loss
- Itchy skin
- Lesions on skin
Although EVO brand food is grain-free, it is not specifically designed to reduce allergies, and they contain a number of common allergens for cats who may have sensitivity. The varieties of cat food available through the EVO brand include:
- Turkey & Chicken (dry) - Includes eggs and seafood
- Herring & Salmon (dry )- Includes seafood
- EVO 95 Chicken & Turkey recipe in Gravy (wet) - Fish oil, a good source of omega 3s
- EVO 95 Duck recipe in Gravy (wet) - Includes fish oil
Causes of EVO Allergy in Cats
Approximately 60-70% of the cells of the feline immune system inhabit the animal’s gastrointestinal system. Allergic reactions to food are typically prompted by a powerful defensive response on the part of the immune cells in the digestive system to a protein that the animal has ingested, in this case, a component of EVO food. Digestion is the process designed to break down food into its smallest parts, amino acids.
White blood cells called enterocytes typically absorb the amino acids for transportation into the bloodstream, but when the proteins are not fully broken down during the digestion process, the enterocytes do not recognize them as nutrients, but see them instead as intruders and launch an attack. Repeated exposures to the allergen or allergens that trigger the immune system will create a faster and more intense response by the immune system, which usually causes the symptoms to intensify with each exposure.
Diagnosis of EVO Allergy in Cats
The symptoms that your cat will be exhibiting due to an allergic reaction will typically prompt the collection of scrapings of the skin off of any areas that are affected by the allergy. These samples will be used in a process known as cutaneous cytology. Cutaneous cytology is the microscopic evaluation of the skin cells to look for other disorders such as mites, yeast infections, or signs of other diseases. When the skin cells don’t reveal any alternate disorders, an allergy will be suspected. Although intradermal and blood testing for allergies are available for cats, they are not particularly reliable when it comes to allergies that are related to food. The gold standard for diagnosis of a food allergy is the elimination diet. The elimination diet is implemented by changing the cat’s daily diet to either a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic commercial cat food, or to a diet of unseasoned human food.
In choosing the proper diet for your allergic cat, novel ingredients are generally recommended. Novel ingredients can include any proteins and carbohydrates that are not currently used in the cat’s current diet and preferably ones that have never been introduced. Once signs of the allergy have been eliminated, further ingredients can be added back into the diet one at a time, preferably allowing several weeks between introductions.
Treatment of EVO Allergy in Cats
Several weeks on the elimination diet may be required to reveal the allergen, and during this time your cat may continue to experience some symptoms. Corticosteroids may be recommended to reduce swelling as well as antihistamines to calm the itching. Use of either treatment may make it difficult to single out which ingredient in your cat’s diet is triggering the reactions by masking the symptoms of the allergy, so many veterinary professionals prefer to complete the elimination diet before adding these types of medications to the regimen.
Food allergies frequently lead to secondary skin infections, and antibiotics will typically be prescribed to prevent or combat this particular difficulty. Once the specific allergen has been detected, the ingredient should be eliminated from the animal’s diet. Other supplements, including probiotics and Omega-3 oils, may be recommended well after the elimination diet has concluded as a support to the immune system. This will assist your companion’s body in handling any accidental exposure to allergens and in preventing the cultivation of new allergies.
Recovery of EVO Allergy in Cats
When determining the most appropriate replacement food for an elimination diet, it is essential that each and every ingredient that was in the previous food is replaced. When testing for allergies due to EVO cat food, that would include the vegetable and grain sources as well as the protein sources. It is possible for the entire food family to be responsible for your pet's reaction, so switching from a seafood or poultry based source to a mammalian source such as lamb or beef will likely have better results than another. It is crucial to ensure your cat complies with the new diet during this testing phase and does not consume anything except for the food chosen for the elimination diet. A single treat with the allergen can trigger a reoccurrence of the allergy and cloud results.