How to manage Adverse Food Reactions In Cats
If your cat has excessively itchy skin, it is generally a sign of a potential primary skin issue, or even a food allergy. A cat with a healthy coat and clear skin is typically a healthy cat, so if you’re seeing red, inflamed skin on your cat, there could be a number of potential causes to blame. Surprisingly, food allergies are the third most common type of skin allergy in cats, falling slightly behind flea bite allergy and environmental causes. Luckily however, there are many options available that can help to manage your cat’s allergies and ease the likelihood of your cat experiencing bad skin reactions.
What is an Adverse Food Reaction?
Adverse Food Reactions (AFR) are simply the immune system’s negative response to a protein that has been eaten in the diet. These reactions usually show up as skin problems including red and itchy skin, but we can sometimes also see gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting or diarrhoea. Food allergies can sometimes be a little tricky for your local vet to diagnose, but a food elimination trial is the best way to confidently pinpoint what exactly your cat is allergic to. Food elimination trials work by removing every potential protein allergen in your cat’s diet over an 8 – 12 week period, by feeding them either a special hydrolysed protein diet, or a novel protein diet. To find out more about food elimination trials and how to go about them, have a look over at our “Dealing with food allergies in cats” blog for some helpful tips.
What is a hydrolysed protein diet?
As an AFR is the body’s response to a dietary protein source, a hydrolysed diet works by breaking down a specific protein into tiny particles so that it becomes unrecognisable to the immune system. Proteins are typically large, complex structures composed of individual amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and the process of hydrolysing splits large structures into very small units and even individual amino acids, into smaller cells so they are unlikely to trigger a reaction. A novel protein diet involves using a protein source that your cat hasn’t ever been exposed to, so they’re less likely to be sensitive to it. ROYAL CANIN®’s Anallergenic diet uses both of these methods to help your cat during a short-term food trial process, or as a longer term dietary option if a food allergy is confirmed.
Anallergenic diet benefits
Our Anallergenic diet uses relatively novel protein source that has been very highly hydrolysed in to tiny pieces. The diet is formulated using a unique feather protein, which is an alternative protein source rarely used in pet foods. Feather protein has hardly any allergenic risks, so it is a great option to choose if you’re needing to complete a food elimination trial for your cat. On top of this, the diet also contains purified maize starch, ensuring no protein from this source, and this ensures your cat isn’t exposed to trace proteins from other ingredient sources. These particular ingredients are ideal for food elimination trials as well as for long term feeding of food allergic cats.
To help with the dermatological issues that are usually associated with food allergies, this diet includes a complex combination of B vitamins and the amino acid histidine, that have been shown to help minimise the water lost through your cat’s skin by strengthening the barrier effect of their skin.
Complete, balanced nutrition
As the ROYAL CANIN® Anallergenic diet has a number of added benefits to your cat’s overall health, such as supporting their digestive and urinary tracts, this diet can be used as an ongoing nutritional management solution throughout your cat’s life. Just like any other health issue in your cat, it’s a good idea to first head to your local vet to have a full physical exam and diagnostics on your cat, as this will help to guide them towards to best approach to manage your cat’s food sensitives.