What is Yogurt Allergy?

Feeding your cat human food is always tricky.  We may think something is good for them but in reality, it can cause some symptoms of gastrointestinal upset or can manifest as a dermatologic issue.  Yogurt is one human food that can upset your cat’s system due to him being allergic to it.  Symptoms may appear immediately or may take a couple days.  Loose stool, vomiting, and flatulence are a few of the more common symptoms to develop relatively quickly after ingestion.  Once your cat is diagnosed with an allergy to yogurt, it is best to remove it from his diet immediately.  Once it is completely out of his system and treatment for his symptoms has been administered, prognosis of recovery is good.

If your cat is vomiting, has loose stool, lack of appetite or seems to have pain in his abdomen, you should take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Symptoms of Yogurt Allergy in Cats

Symptoms of a yogurt allergy may include:

  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Loose stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence 
  • Vomiting 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Itching of head and face 

Types

There are many different types and brands of yogurt available in the local stores.  Your cat may develop the symptoms listed above if you offer your cat yogurt with sugars or artificial sweeteners.  You should also avoid giving your cat a yogurt with a fat substitute as it can also cause the symptoms listed above.

Causes of Yogurt Allergy in Cats

We always think milk is safe to get cats and that they enjoy drinking it.  However, while they may, in fact, enjoy drinking it, they actually develop lactose intolerance as they age.  This means the older your cat is, the harder the milk is on his gastrointestinal tract.  If your cat displays symptoms of a yogurt allergy, it may be due to an intolerance of lactose.

Diagnosis of Yogurt Allergy in Cats

Your veterinarian will come to her diagnosis by ruling out other possible ailments.  When you arrive at the clinic, your veterinarian will perform a full physical exam on your cat.  This will allow her to take a proper look at his symptoms and ask you when they began and whether they have been progressing or not.  She will want to know what you have been feeding him and if you have been trying to treat his condition at home with over the counter products.  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.  A fecal test will be recommended to check for intestinal parasites that can cause the upset stomach and gas.  As for the skin symptoms, she will want to perform skin diagnostics such as a cytology or skin scrape to rule out dermatological related causes.  

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 will need to remove yogurt 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 yogurt to your cat again and his symptoms reappear almost immediately, you have your culprit.

Treatment of Yogurt Allergy in Cats

There is no exact treatment for a food allergy.  Instead, your veterinarian will treat his symptoms as they develop and progress.  If he is experiencing pruritus 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 has developed a secondary skin infection, she will prescribe oral antibiotics to treat it.

If he is experiencing any gastrointestinal upset from the yogurt, your veterinarian can offer medications and therapies for it as well.  There are anti-vomiting medications, anti-diarrheal drugs, and calming medications for the irritated 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 yogurt causing your cat’s symptoms, you can remove it from his diet and prevent his symptoms from continuing.  Not offering your cat yogurt is the best way to treat his condition.

Recovery of Yogurt Allergy in Cats

The severity of your cat’s symptoms will determine his recovery.  If he is experiencing mild gastrointestinal symptoms and skin related symptoms, he should recover very well with proper treatment.  If his symptoms are more severe, she will be able to provide him with treatment but it may need to be extended compared to a mild case of allergic reaction.