What is Natural Balance Allergy?
Natural Balance has many varieties that may be safe for your cat to eat such as the grain free novel protein or limited ingredient types. These are made with proteins that are unusual such as kangaroo, ostrich, duck, and venison. There is only one protein source in each of these varieties and the carbohydrate is green peas, which has been shown to be less allergenic than other carbohydrates. However, with the amount of commercial cat foods using novel proteins and carbohydrates such as peas, some cats are becoming sensitized as they become more used to eating them. The veterinarian is the only one who can tell you if Natural Balance is the problem and can suggest a food that is more suited to your pet.
Food allergies are common in cats. Natural Balance is a cat food specially prepared for pets with food allergies, but some cats may actually be allergic to Natural Balance. However, certain types of this food are more apt to cause an allergic reaction than others, depending on the ingredients. Those cat foods with chicken, salmon, and other similar flavors have common proteins that more cats have built up a sensitivity to, causing their immune systems to release histamines which triggers scratching, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, ear infections, and other similar symptoms. A serious and life-threatening condition called anaphylactic shock is a rare but possible complication to food allergies so it is important to take your cat to the veterinarian if you see any signs of facial swelling or breathing difficulty.
Symptoms of Natural Balance Allergy in Cats
The first signs of food allergy is usually vomiting or scratching, but there are other symptoms that you may notice such as:
- Intense scratching
- Ear infections (red ears, scratching and rubbing at ears)
- Bald spots from chewing on itchy skin
- Nausea and appetite loss
- Coughing and sneezing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Irritation and restlessness
- Rubbing face and head
- Rash or hives anywhere on the body
- Licking and biting on paws
- Anaphylaxis (wheezing, drooling, cold feet, seizures, pale gums, coma)
- Type one is an immediate response of the IgE antibodies that causes head and neck scratching and gastric irritation within 1 to 2 hours after eating
- Type two is a result of antibodies attacking the cells which can cause inflammation, itching, and rash
- Type three is an immune system overreaction that can cause damage to major organs such as with lupus
- Type four is a genetic hypersensitivity and does not occur until one or two days later
Causes of Natural Balance Allergy in Cats
The cause of Natural Balance allergy is the consumption of any of these foods:
- Fat Cats Low Calorie Cat Formula
- Indoor Ultra Cat Formula
- Limited Ingredient Diet Cat Formula
- Original Ultra Whole Body Health Cat Formula
- Original Ultra Whole Body Health Kitten Formula
- Reduced Calorie Cat Formula
- Wild Pursuit Cat Formula
- Limited Ingredient Diets Indoor Cat Formula
Diagnosis of Natural Balance Allergy in Cats
Diagnosing a food allergy in a cat usually depends on the owner’s recall of the symptoms and medical history. However, your veterinarian will most likely need to check for other problems to be certain. A detailed physical assessment will need to be performed first, checking vital signs, skin and coat condition, and palpation and auscultation of major muscles and organs. Laboratory tests will be done such as a urinalysis, fecal examination, and blood tests. The veterinarian may also decide to do radiographs (x-rays) to be sure there are no abnormalities. Skin scrapings are usually taken from affected areas and microscopically examined.
Treatment of Natural Balance Allergy in Cats
The usual treatment for any food allergy is a food trial diet. However, the veterinarian will most likely treat the skin irritation and inflammation immediately with a cortisone injection and other drugs.
Some of the medications your veterinarian may use include antihistamines such as Benadryl for itching, antibiotics such as ampicillin to prevent skin infections from scratching, and stomach protectants such as omeprazole for nausea and vomiting. Your cat may also be given intravenous (IV) or cutaneous fluids to prevent dehydration.
Food Trial Diet
The veterinarian will most likely prescribe a hypoallergenic cat food to try for six to eight weeks. Hypoallergenic food is broken down in tiny molecules so that your cat’s immune system does not notice them. There are several different brands and varieties but your veterinarian can tell you which would be the best for your cat.
Recovery of Natural Balance Allergy in Cats
After your cat has been on the hypoallergenic diet for several weeks, if the rash and itching does not go away or goes away and returns, your veterinarian will probably try a different brand or variety. It may take several months before the right food is found. In rare cases, your veterinarian may want to do an intradermal skin test. This is done by injecting allergens under the skin in a controlled environment to see which ones cause a reaction. However, this is not usually done for food allergies.