I guess I'll be taking my boy to the vet, but would love to know what to expect.
History: Terigo is going to be 12 this spring. I NEVER bought designer cat food of any sort -- I just didn't know, and there was less information about the poor quality or substandard ingredients in so many "regular" brands.
Now I try to get at least a better-than-average brand. But over the past year, Terigo has had a horrible itching problem. So much so that he is all cut up and scabby from his own claws.
I have changed brands a couple of times but it isn't scientific, or at least I don't know all the right answers -- like, how long would it take for an allergy to manifest after changing food? Immediately? I have had him improve right after changing foods, only to get worse again before the bag is gone.
I battle fleas with the kitties too but his itching seems unconnected. It is no better right after a flea treatment, nor worse when it's time to re-apply the Frontline.
Why would it have started so late in this kitteh? Or are cat foods getting worse?
Will the vet actually run allergy testing, and can they test down to an ingredient?
Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf
Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?
did allergy testing on my dog for the same reason, itching never really went away.. turns out he was allergic to dust, pollen and assorted airborn things, he was also allergic to corn.
My vet said if you suspect a food allergy to switch to a grain free diet and see if that helps. Taste of the wild makes a reasonable grain free food for cats that my cats like. (I switched everyone to grain free in case the allergic dog went sampling). So try out a small bag of grain free food for a month or so and see if that helps, if it doesn't the vet can pull blood and send it off to be tested more specifically. ( I think my cost was around $130 or so )
Good luck with your itchy kitty....
(wait that last sentence looks wrong)
___._/> I don't suffer from insanity.. I enjoy every
____/ minute of it! Member stick horse art lovers
//__\\<-- Don't feed the llama!
For a food allergy trial, you need to find a food with a completely new protein that the cat hasn't had before. Then you need to stick with that food for 4-6 weeks. NO other treats, food, anything in that time period. If the itching abates, then you can gradually switch back to old food and see if itching returns over a few weeks.
It is common for cats to develop food allergies after being on their regular food for years. Your cat could very well have developed an allergy to fleas as well- even one flea bite can be enough to set off a reaction.
Keep his claws trimmed back as far as possible to limit the damage he can do to himself. Keep an eye on the wounds to make sure he doesn't develop a secondary bacterial infection.
DON'T buy whatever Prescription Diet/Science Diet crap the vet tries to sell you. My vet was pushing me to try Peas & Rabbit formula- ingredients were not as terrible as the other Prescription Diet formulas, but why would anyone feed a cat something where peas are the first ingredient rather than meat?
One big problem I've run into with the high end food is that many use several protein sources in one food. My kitten had been on Wellness and Taste of the Wild dry, and Wellness and Innova canned. That meant she had already eaten chicken, turkey, salmon, venison.... very hard to find a novel protein. She is on canned EVO 95% beef now. There is nothing in it besides beef, herring oil and vitamins/minerals. No potatoes, no peas, no crazy fruits/vegetables. She does have a bit of an upset stomach right now from the switch, but she's inhaling the food. Hopefully this works!
Cammie gave you some very good information. Your vet will probably tell you she needs a novel protein and she will suggest a prescription diet. If she supports hills this means the main ingredient will be rice protein or Royal Cannin it's pea protein. I'm not sure what Purina does.
What you call "designer pet food" I would call "quality pet food". Of course not all of them are good quality. Some are really just glorified grocery store quality so you have to know how to read a label.
Natura which makes Innova also makes California Natural which is a limited ingredient diet and is great fro allergies. You could go with the herring & sweet potato for example. They just came out with a grain free but it uses chicken as it's protein source and I wouldn't recommend that for a cat with suspected allergies.
Otherwise the 95% evo in the can is really your best bet. Like Cammie said, it's just meat and vitemins and minerals. You could go with either the beef or venison as a novel protein.
Please do not do the blood test for food allergy. It is completely bogus and a huge waste of your money. All blood tests for food are highly unreliable.
As stated, the best thing to do is a strict food elimination diet trial. Pick a food or home cook a novel protein AND carbohydrate source. Do this STRICTLY for a minimum of 12 weeks. YES 12 weeks. The number one food allergy in cats is fish. Why? Because it is in everything.
Flea control is an absolute MUST. One flea bite can cause up to 2 weeks worth of itching if your cat is allergic to flea saliva. All cats/dogs and the house should be treated if you are actively seeing fleas on the pets. You may have to use the topical medications off label (ie: more frequently) until the environment is cleared.
Your kitty most likely has a secondary bacterial and/or yeast infection from all the itching he is doing. This will be needed to be treated appropriately as well. The infections cause even more itch on top of the "allergy" itch. The veterinarian must take a cytology (slide, sample, impression) of the surface of the skin, stain it and look for yeast or bacteria under the microscope.
who works for a veterinary dermatologists.
Pick a food or home cook a novel protein AND carbohydrate source.
May I ask why you recommend a carb source, and which one you would choose? I've been reading all I can about cat nutrition, and as obligate carnivores it sounds as if cats require few if any carbs. I would be interested in getting your input on this.....Good to know about the blood test, as that was recommended by the vet for my next step in trying to figure out what my kitten is reacting to.
My 9 year old cat developed food allergies about 9 months ago. All of a sudden she was very itchy, scabby, red-skinned, and lost weight. Didn't really think it was food at first, but the vet ran tests and the results told us what foods (lamb, turkey, potato, grains, etc.) she was allergic too, and how allergic. Definitely get that lab done, and then you can dive into the world of cat food and find one that doesn't have the bad ingredients. It actually took a few different brands and formulas to find one that she really thrives on, but now she's happy and not itchy!
We also made sure she was up to date on flea treatments. She was on prednisone for a few weeks at first to relieve her symptoms, but I tried to get her off that as soon as possible. Not a fan of steroids in these situations.