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Just like humans, our cats can have allergies to certain foods or specific ingredients. Unlike humans however, cats with a food allergy do not swell up when the offending food is eaten but instead, present with a skin issue. It can start out small as simply itching or licking excessively, but in time, turn into your cat losing all of his fur in response to constantly scratching. Or maybe his stomach seems upset after eating or he has been consistently losing weight despite a healthy appetite. All of these things can be indicative of a food allergy. If this sounds like your cat, you can discuss diagnostic and treatment options with your veterinarian.
Allergies in our pets present as skin issues and gastrointestinal issues. If your cat is having related symptoms, take him to see your veterinarian.
Symptoms may include:
Allergies in our pets are usually caused by one of three things: food, the environment, or fleas. If your cat has an allergy to something in the environment, it can be almost anything. He can be allergic to pollen, dust, cedar, and even you. If he is allergic to fleas, he can have a severe dermatologic reaction to just one single flea bite. If he has a food allergy, it means something he is eating is causing his symptoms. A food allergy does not necessarily have a predisposition behind it. It can occur at any age, any breed, any sex, and to any ingredient.
An allergy to Greenies products can be indicative of a type of food allergy. Food allergy is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to a food ingredient or additive such as corn, chicken meal, or poultry flavoring. If your cat is allergic to Greenies, it is likely an allergy to a specific ingredient within the product. Just like with any type of allergy in general, it is the immune system thinking something harmless is actually dangerous. In this case, your cat’s system thinks the Greenie is a threat and therefore the body responds in an attempt to protect itself.
Your veterinarian will perform a full physical exam on your cat. This will allow her to take a proper look at his symptoms and rule out possible causes of his condition based on his symptoms. She will also collect a verbal history from you. She will want to know when his symptoms started, if they have been progressing, if you have been trying to treat at home with over the counter products and so on. All these details can help the veterinarian with her diagnosis.
Naturally, the veterinarian will need to rule out other possible causes of his symptoms such as gastrointestinal parasites or flea bite hypersensitivity. These things can also cause the skin and gastrointestinal symptoms so your veterinarian may run some basic diagnostic testing to rule out other suspected issues. If you want to rule out environmental allergies, there is a blood serum test you can pursue if desired.
Unfortunately, there is no serum, blood, or intradermal test reliable for diagnosing food allergies. The main way to come to a proper diagnosis is a trial and error dietary study; it is known as an elimination diet trial. You remove the suspected food item from his diet for a minimum of 12 weeks. This gives his system time to remove any remaining ingredient from his system completely and hopefully his symptoms will begin to resolve. Gastrointestinal signs typically resolve between 1 to 3 weeks. Dermatologic symptoms take much longer to resolve as it takes the skin time to heal. If his symptoms have resolved during this time, you need to reintroduce the suspected food item to get a confirmation. If you offer the Greenie product to your cat again and his symptoms reappear almost immediately, you have your culprit.
There is no treatment for a food allergy. Instead, the veterinarian can offer secondary treatment of the pruritus and skin infection if present. Depending on his condition, she may prescribe medications such as glucocorticoids or antihistamines to help with the itching and inflammation. She may also recommend a topical medication in the form of a liquid, ointment, or spray for you to apply directly to the lesions themselves
If he is experiencing any gastrointestinal upset from the Greenie products, your veterinarian can offer medications and therapies for it as well. There are anti-vomiting and anti-diarrheal medications, and medications to calm the GI tract she can administer to your cat. His symptoms will determine his treatment protocol.
Finding the source of your cat’s allergy is ideal. By determining it is the Greenies items causing your cat’s symptoms, you can remove it from his diet and prevent his symptoms from remaining.
If you are unable to determine the source of the allergy, you may have to provide your cat with lifelong supportive therapies in response to his allergy symptoms. This may include oral medications, topical ointments or sprays to control his symptoms. If you are able to remove the offending cause from your cat’s diet, his prognosis of recovery is good.
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