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Food allergies aren’t just endured by people; animals can have them, too. It is estimated that around 10 percent of all cases of pet allergies are related to the food(s) they eat. A less severe type of food allergy is called a food intolerance. Do you suspect your pet might be suffering from one of these conditions?
The following are some of the top signs and symptoms that can indicate your pet has an allergy related to their diet:
The main source of food allergies in pets is their own genes. Like people, having a parent or other relative with allergies can mean it’s more likely that offspring will have them. However, environmental factors can also play a role.
Just as with human infants, the immune systems of baby animals must go through an “educational” process during the first weeks of life. If an animal is treated with antibiotics for a health reason, it could impede this process. Later, if the animal is exposed to a substance for which it never developed immunity, an allergic reaction could be triggered. The gut microbiome can also be changed by exposure to antibiotics.
Many animals with allergies will be triggered by more than one type of food. Some of the most common food types that trigger pet allergies are the following:
Any animal can have allergies, but the dog breeds most commonly affected are German shepherds, retrievers, cocker spaniels and Dachshunds. When it comes to cats, rex cats seem to have the strongest predisposition toward allergies.
One of the ways to determine the exact cause of a food allergy is through an elimination diet. That is, the suspected foods should be removed from the diet to see if it makes a difference. If the allergic symptoms abate, then the eliminated food was likely the culprit. If numerous foods were eliminated, they can gradually be reintroduced one by one to see if symptoms reappear.
The Winnipeg veterinarians at Southglen Veterinary Hospital can assist with diagnosing pet allergies and providing ideal veterinary care to help restore quality of life. Another option for allergy assessment is through skin testing, but this is usually reserved for environmental allergies.
While there is little that can be done to prevent pet allergies, reducing exposure to antibiotics can help. Finding the ideal healthy diet is key to pet well being. Probiotics for animals can also make a difference. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of high quality pet foods and diets available today for both dogs and cats.
If you suspect your pet has a food allergy, consult your Winnipeg veterinarians at Southglen Veterinary Hospital. We can help determine if your dog or cat has a pet allergy, then make recommendations about diet and veterinary care going forward.