What is Turkey Allergy?
Many cats enjoy eating turkey, either within their food or as part of a natural food diet prepared in the home. As with other meats, some cats can show an allergy to this particular type. A turkey allergy in cats will present itself as any other food allergy, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Food allergies, namely turkey allergies, are common in cats. Cats can go a long period of time eating the offending food before showing signs of an allergy. This is because the cat’s immune system is building up its defenses against the poultry, and after a period of time, it will show up with a single reaction or more than one type of reaction.
Many cat owners feed their cats foods that contain turkey, or cook food at home to provide an all-natural diet. Foods that are commercially made may not specifically say they contain turkey, but may contain by-products of this poultry which can cause a reaction. It is always important to read the labels on cat food and have knowledge of the chemical make-up of the food.
Turkey allergy in cats is due to the consumption of turkey and the cat’s immune system failing to tolerate the protein in this type of poultry.
Symptoms of Turkey Allergy in Cats
If your cat has a turkey allergy, he may have symptoms which range from mild to severe. Symptoms of a turkey allergy include:
- Itchy and irritated skin
- Eye discharge
- Hair loss from licking and biting the skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen mouth area or tongue
- Swelling of the throat
Food allergies can be present in cats of all breeds and ages. There are various types of food allergies, besides turkey, that can affect cats. These types include:
- Salmon or other fish
- Poultry, such as chicken
- Wheat gluten
- Dairy foods or milk
Causes of Turkey Allergy in Cats
If your cat is allergic to turkey, there may be a few causes. Your cat may have been eating turkey in his diet for years before the allergy is actually noticed and before it affects your cat. Causes include:
- A sensitive immune system which considers this poultry as a threat
- The immune system does not tolerate the chemical composition of turkey
- Possible hereditary disposition
- The chemicals and proteins in the turkey react with the gastrointestinal system
Diagnosis of Turkey Allergy in Cats
If your cat is experiencing painful, itchy, and irritated skin, your medical professional may perform a skin test to see if he can discover what is causing the reaction. An intradermal skin test will alert the veterinarian to any valuable information needed to discover the causes of the allergen. Your veterinarian may also form any other test necessary to get to the source of the problem.
Your veterinarian will also ask you questions about your cat’s diet, including any treats he eats as well as the type of food. He will want to know how long he has been eating the specific food and when the symptoms began. He will interview you to gather all of the information he needs to have in order to properly diagnose your cat.
He may diagnose that your cat may indeed have a food allergy. Finding the specific food your cat is allergic to will take time. He will explain to you what you need to do at home in order to help him make a definitive diagnosis.
Your veterinarian may suggest an effective way to diagnose the specific allergy in what is known as an elimination diet. This will begin with a prescription cat food recommended by the medical professional or another type of food that you can purchase at regular stores. You will need to feed your cat this specific food, and only this type of food (avoiding all cat treats) which he recommends for 12 weeks. Your veterinarian will ask that you give your cat nothing else to eat besides this food and only water to drink. This food will contain ingredients in which your cat has never been exposed to in the past.
In order to uncover the specific allergy, after the 12 week period of time is over, he will tell you which food ingredient to slowly introduce back into his diet. This is a slow process, and only a single ingredient will be administered to your cat at a time. Once your cat shows an allergic reaction, the veterinarian will be able to come to a diagnosis of which food he is allergic to.
Treatment of Turkey Allergy in Cats
The only method of treatment that is successful for this type of allergy is to completely eliminate all turkey and turkey products from your cat’s diet. This will include any treats that contain turkey. In some cases, if your cat is allergic to this type of meat, other poultry will be tested for as well.
Recovery of Turkey Allergy in Cats
Once your cat has avoided turkey for a week or so, you should see a remarkable difference in your cat. His coat and skin should begin to clear up, and you will also see an improvement in other symptoms as well.
As for management, if you have other felines in your home, they should also follow the same diet your cat with allergies is on. This will be an easy way to prevent your cat from ingesting any food or treats which contain turkey. The feeding time and process will also be simpler for you, as you will not have to separate each cat during meal time and watch over them to be sure they do not share food.
With your cat’s new diet, if you see any symptoms occur that may be a sign of a new allergy, contact your veterinarian. While you may need to further investigate what else he may be allergic to, it will be worth it for your cat to enjoy a long and healthy life, allergy-free.