What is Meow Mix Allergy?
Many brands of cat food, including Meow Mix, have become a common allergen for felines. Food allergies are the second most common reason for allergic dermatitis in cats. The allergen contained in the food is usually found to be a protein such as milk, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, chicken, or beef. Meow Mix has a large variety of ingredients in their cat food, making it difficult to pinpoint what the allergen might be. Many pet owners make the mistake of not reading the ingredients on the pet food bag, assuming the flavor on the front of the bag is the main ingredient. However, this is not true. A cat food may be called chicken flavored which does not mean it actually has only chicken in it.
In fact, the only chicken you may see in the ingredients list is chicken by-products, which include ground up feathers, beak, feet, and claws. If your pet is developing a sensitivity to the Meow Mix brand, it may be necessary to switch your cat to another brand of cat food. This will mean reading the ingredients label to find one that only has novel proteins. However, it is best that you see a veterinary professional first to be sure that there is no underlying illness causing the symptoms your pet is experiencing.
Meow Mix allergies are common in cats. This cat food, and others like it, have been available to consumers for a long time and are quite popular. The formula for Meow Mix does not include novel proteins. Cats may become allergic to foods that they have been eating for a long period of time because their immune system is building up a resistance to the protein type being used. It is not completely understood how or why this process happens, but when the body thinks it is being attacked (by the protein), it will release histamines that cause vomiting, itchiness, and a rash among other discomforts.
Symptoms of Meow Mix Allergy in Cats
While scratching is common in all cats, if your pet is scratching more than usual and does not have fleas, it could be a Meow Mix allergy. Besides being itchy, there are other common signs such as:
- Dry flaky skin
- Red ears
- Bald spots from chewing on skin in those areas
- Skin rash or fluid filled bumps
- Severe scratching at ears, face, and neck that may cause skin damage
There are four types of allergies in cats, which include:
- Type I is a hypersensitive reaction that happens immediately after eating; it is a response from the immune system that affects the skin and digestive system and can be dangerous if it causes swelling of the throat, but that is extremely rare
- Type II is an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks its own tissues; this usually occurs in reaction to a vaccine or transfusion, but not in any kind of food allergy
- Type III is a delayed reaction to an allergen that does not occur until about 10-12 hours after exposure; this is a rare condition in cats that is usually caused by lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Type IV is a delayed reaction that does not show up until at least 24 hours after exposure; this is believed to be a hereditary issue
Causes of Meow Mix Allergy in Cats
An allergy in cats due to consuming Meow Mix food usually does not happen until your pet has been eating the same food for several months or years because the immune system has to build up antibodies (IgE) to attack the offending food. There are many ingredients in cat foods that can cause this reaction such as:
Diagnosis of Meow Mix Allergy in Cats
A complete physical examination will be done and your veterinarian will need to know your cat’s medical history. Be sure to mention if you have given your pet any medication because that can affect the diagnosis and the treatment as well. A skin sample biopsy and blood tests will be performed to exclude other causes for the symptoms.
Treatment of Meow Mix Allergy in Cats
Treating Meow Mix allergy includes treating the skin irritation, intestinal upset, and calming the immune system. You will also have to put your cat on a special diet to perform a food elimination trial to find the right food for your pet.
The veterinarian will probably give your cat intravenous (IV) fluids first, to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting, if needed. In addition, a topical steroid cream or ointment will be used for itching and inflammation. Antihistamines such as Benadryl will also be given to calm the immune system.
Food Elimination Trial
The veterinarian will probably suggest a food with a novel protein such as duck, veal, or venison. Another option may be a hypoallergenic food because this food is formulated so that the protein becomes too small to alert the immune system.
Recovery of Meow Mix Allergy in Cats
You will need to keep your cat on one certain food for at least two months to get a good idea whether or not it is not going to cause a reaction. It is best to start the trial after your cat’s rash has gone away so you will be able to tell whether the new food is going to be okay. Maintain communication with your veterinarian throughout the process. If your feline is not showing improvement, another consultation should be scheduled.