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While the precise reason for the reaction causing allergies is mostly unknown, there are many ways that your cat can be treated to minimise the effects. Allergies affect both male and female cats, and are indiscriminate about age or breed. There is a difference between allergy and intolerance to food, with the allergy showing the classic itchiness and skin problems while an intolerance is characterised by diarrhea and vomiting from an upset stomach. Both situations can be treated by eliminating the problem food from the diet.
Food allergies in cats are quite common, and happen when your cat is sensitized to a particular food which causes reactions within the antibody structure.
Diagnosis of food allergies can be tricky as there are many conditions that produce similar symptoms. Your veterinarian will rule out these other conditions prior to diagnosing an allergy. Clinical symptoms of an allergy are usually a year-around symptom, and the most obvious indicator is that when a food is eliminated from the diet and the symptoms clear up. The well-known ‘’elimination diet’’ is the only proven method to determine what food is causing the problem. It does require time and patience through the trial and error stages but can produce amazing results. Elimination diets rely on changing your cat’s diet and giving them food which they have not had before. An example may be replacing beef and lamb protein with turkey or even kangaroo meats.
Toys or treats should also be avoided during the elimination diet as they often include ingredients which can adversely affect your kitty. Your veterinarian may treat your cat for secondary skin infections and for any gastrointestinal symptoms at the beginning of the diet trial. If these medications clear the problems, then the specialist may reintroduce the normal diet to see if any signs of the allergy reoccur. Blood tests are available for allergies but the general consensus from medical and dermatology circles suggest that the tests are too nonspecific, and as such, are nowhere near the effectiveness of the elimination diet.
The time honored and proven method for treating allergies of your cat remains the elimination diet where the usual everyday diet is replaced by new and never before tried foods and ingredients. This is accomplished by removing the offending food, and then once your cat’s condition improves you start adding back a food at a time to see which foods react with your cat. It is a long process, and requires patience and veterinary consultation throughout but the results that have been received using this process have been well and truly worth it.
Your cat at first may be a little wary of the new diet, but will soon adjust and adapt to new tastes and sensations. It does take a while for your cat to adjust to a new diet and it will take a while for the allergy to slowly withdraw, but after a couple of weeks you should see the improvements starting to happen. Your cat’s fur will fill out and gain condition and his skin will recover with the skin irritations receding and clearing. The elimination diet can be continued indefinitely as long as it is a balanced diet and provides all the nutrients your cat requires. Allergies can be overcome or controlled using a lot of observation, veterinary support and of course, patience.
Time and patience are needed to sort out food allergies but it is worth the time involved to cure your kitty and keep him happy. With diet the main line of defence, your cat can recover and enjoy life again without the incessant itching that comes with allergies. It pays to focus on the response to new additions to your cat’s diet, keeping in mind that allergies take a while to become obvious.
Introducing one food at a time is important, if that food shows no reactions, then slowly introduce another and so on. Slow and steady is the name of the game. Cats can be picky eaters at times, so patience is important during these changing times. A good variety and mix of foods will ensure your cat’s health returns to what it once was. Alternating foods so that the flavors alternate will keep your cat interested in his dinner.
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