Your pet getting allergies is a difficult time for both you, and them. The worst part is that it isn’t easy to diagnose the fact that there is a problem immediately since a lot of the signs, such as itching, are regular habits all pets indulge in. It is thus essential to keep a close eye out when introducing new elements into their diet or lifestyle. The symptoms and triggers for food allergies in pets need to be detected through proper diagnosis. A qualified veterinarian doctor would be able to ensure the right diagnosis. The article discusses the same, including details of the elimination diet.
What causes food allergies in pets?
Most pets do not have any problems with the food they consume but around 10% of them may be susceptible to allergies. While the cause of these food allergies is not very clear, it is believed that a weak immune system leads to them.
When the immune system is weak, then it tends to react strongly if it perceives any threat. Foods that pets consume tend to have a variety of proteins and sometimes the immune system treats the protein as an allergen and a risk. As a result, it may release histamines and cause other reactions to try to eliminate the allergen from the body. This leads to various allergic reactions.
What foods trigger an allergy?
Some common foods like beef, dairy products, chicken, and duck are likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Additionally, items like corn, oats, fish, eggs, and foods that have preservatives and artificial coloring can trigger allergy symptoms too.
Some of the allergic reactions that your pet may suffer from include the following examples.
- Itching and hives, causing scratching and bleeding.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
- Flatulence and pain in the abdominal area.
Diagnosing food allergies
Diagnosing the symptoms and triggers for food allergies in pets is important. While it may not be possible to treat an allergy, the food causing it can be identified through diagnosis. This ensures that the item is removed from the diet to prevent allergic reactions. It is crucial to not try to diagnose your pet by yourself and instead take them to a qualified vet. The first thing the vet would do is to carry out a physical examination to understand the symptoms. He/she would also collect information about the kind of food you feed your pet.
They would then check if there are fleas or mites causing the symptoms. Blood tests or skin tests may be used to detect allergies and the most common way of identifying food allergies is through elimination testing.
What is the elimination diet?
An elimination diet involves giving food with one protein and one carbohydrate for a few weeks to watch if there is any reaction. If there is no reaction, then the food is safe. Different foods can be tried one by one. This is done until the food that causes the allergy is identified. This is a long drawn out process and takes many weeks, requiring the aid of a vet to plan it out properly. Although time-consuming, it can be very helpful in pinpointing the exact cause of the food allergy.