Myth – Food allergies are common in pets.
Truth – Less than one in ten animals with any type of allergy will be allergic to their food. The other nine are likely to have an environmental, flea or contact allergy. Dogs have a higher chance of food allergies as compared to cats.
Myth – Pets are commonly allergic to grain or gluten.
Truth – While exhibiting an allergy to any food source is uncommon, grain or gluten allergies in dogs and cats are exceedingly rare. If an animal exhibits a food allergy in the first place, the more likely culprits will be beef, chicken, or egg.
Myth – Pets can be allergic to a new food source.
Truth – While it is possible that a pet can be allergic to a new food, more often than not, food allergies develop from repeated exposure to the same proteins. If a pet develops an allergy to a food source, it is likely the result of having been exposed to this source for a long period of time.
Allergies in pets can be quite common depending on the area in which you live. In general, environmental or flea allergies are the most common. Determining the root cause of allergies can be very challenging, even for your veterinarian. Food allergies are generally suspected when other forms of allergies have been treated and signs of relief have not been obtained. Symptoms of a food allergy can range from itchy skin to chronic ear infections to vomiting or diarrhea. Food allergies often develop in pets that have been eating the same diet for many years. This is because the body has had prolonged exposure to the same protein source, allowing the development of the allergy.
There is no good and reliable blood or skin test available for food allergies. The only way to pinpoint a food allergy is by following very strict diet recommended by your veterinarian. In order for this food trial to yield reliable results, it is imperative that the animal adheres to the prescribed diet. This includes no table scraps, treats or flavored chew bones. A food trial is generally a minimum of 6-8 weeks, which is needs full commitment by the pet’s family.
Treatment of food allergies is easy in a sense- avoid the source of the food allergy. In dogs, however, this can be quite challenging as it limits the ingestion of some oral medications, treats, bones, and table scraps, which many owners enjoy giving their pets. Also, not all allergy foods work for every pet. It may take more than one food trial to find the right diet for your pet. If you think your pet has an allergy (food or otherwise) it is best to speak to your veterinarian to explore all diagnostic and treatment options.
Established in 1981, Palm City Animal Medical Center is dedicated to providing the best possible care for your pets. With focuses on compassionate care in surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation, preventative medicine, extensive diagnostics, and emergency service, Palm City Animal Medical Center combines exceptional medical care with a caring philosophy for pets and their owners. For more information, call 772-283-0920, visit www.palmcityanimalmedicalcenter.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PalmCityAnimalClinic.