What is Science Diet Allergy?
A food allergy occurs when your cat’s immune system targets a specific allergen, in this case food ingredient, and begins attacking it. The immune system is then overreacting to the ingredient and causing mild to severe symptoms to appear.
Allergies can start in a young kitten and continue for a lifetime or they can occur at any age and in any breed. When your cat becomes allergic to something, they will almost always be allergic to that allergen. The most common cause of an allergy to Science Diet is a protein source which could be chicken, lamb, beef, fish, dairy or eggs.
Food allergies and intolerances can occur when your cat is sensitive to a specific ingredient. They are usually allergic to the protein source in their food. Even reputable, recommended commercial cat foods such as Science Diet can cause adverse or allergic reactions if your cat is sensitive to an ingredient found in the food.
Symptoms of Science Diet Allergy in Cats
You may not notice that your cat is experiencing an allergic reaction to their Science Diet right away as some of the symptoms may appear to be mild. More severe reactions are much easier to spot. If you notice that your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms contact your veterinarian for an appointment.
- Frequent vomiting
- Skin irritation
- Hair loss
- Inflamed skin
- Chronic ear infections
- Poor coat condition
- Frequent flatulence
- Poor growth in kittens and young cats
- Coughing and/or sneezing
Causes of Science Diet Allergy in Cats
Commonly, cats will become allergic to proteins that they are continually exposed to. In other words, when they eat the same protein source everyday there is a risk that they can develop an allergy to that protein. The most common proteins that cats can become allergic to include chicken, beef, fish, lamb, eggs and dairy.
Your cat may thrive on their Science Diet and then suddenly develop an allergy to one of the ingredients. This is not uncommon and your veterinarian will be able to help you discover what the problem ingredient is and recommend a new food for your cat.
Diagnosis of Science Diet Allergy in Cats
While there is no easy way for your veterinarian to diagnose a food allergy, they can generally figure out the cause as they treat the symptoms that are present. When you bring your cat to their veterinary appointment, bring a list of the ingredients in the Science Diet you are currently feeding as well as the exact name of the food. Provide a thorough medical history, including any known allergies, to your veterinarian.
A physical examination will be performed and your veterinarian will perform a complete blood count, urinalysis and biochemistry panel. A fecal exam will be performed to rule out internal parasites. If your cat has a rash or skin lesions, a skin scraping may be done to eliminate the possibility of mites or other external parasites.
Your veterinarian will also have you begin an elimination diet that must be strictly followed for a minimum of 12 weeks. Generally, your veterinarian will start with a diet that has a very small protein molecule, called a hydrolyzed protein. All treats will be eliminated, only the prescribed food can be given. If the allergy subsides when a certain ingredient is eliminated, the allergen has been isolated.
Treatment of Science Diet Allergy in Cats
Your veterinarian will treat all symptoms that have presented. Many times your cat will be given a corticosteroid, either by injection or orally, to stop the allergic reaction. Antihistamines may also be prescribed as well as anti-inflammatory medications. Be sure to follow all dosing instructions as directed and if you have any questions regarding your cat’s medication, you should contact your veterinarian.
If your cat is experiencing severe itching, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-itch cream or medicated baths. Some anti-itch creams will also contain corticosteroids to help stop the allergic reaction.
Your veterinarian will help you choose a different Science Diet that does not contain the ingredient that your cat is allergic. Science Diet offers a wide range of foods with a variety of ingredients to suit cats that have food allergies.
Recovery of Science Diet Allergy in Cats
The elimination diet takes a long time to complete and there are times when it is inconclusive. However, a majority of the time it will reveal the food that your cat is allergic to and allow you to be informed and able to choose a food that will not make them ill.
Science Diet offers several different cat foods ranging from grain free to sensitive stomach. Each variety has different ingredients and there is sure to be a food that will work for your cat. Speak with your veterinarian regarding which Science Diet is right for your cat.