Using Elimination Diets to Determine Allergies in Your Pet

Little dog maltese and black and white cat eating natural, organic food from a bowl at home

If your pet eats a varied diet and suddenly develops an allergy, it can be a difficult process to find out which particular food is the culprit. Food allergies in pets can present in different ways such as itchy skin, hair loss or hair pulling, gastric upset, and patches of irritated skin called hot spots.

If you can remember introducing a new food to your pet recently, it can simply be a matter of removing that food to see if it makes a difference, but often it’s not that easy. The only way to isolate the offending food is to use an elimination diet for as long as it takes to find it.

What’s An Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet is a restricted diet your pet eats until you find the food that’s causing the allergy or sensitivity. Another benefit is that it gives you a list of all the foods your pet can safely eat.

You’ll need to make a list of all the different foods your pet has been eating, commercial and home-cooked, including the separate ingredients of prepared foods. In this list is the ingredient that’s causing your pet’s allergy. Now we have to find out which one it is.

Common Foods that Cause Allergies

Some of the common sources of food allergies are the protein sources in your pet’s food such as chicken, beef, dairy, egg and soy. Commercial foods can also contain nasty chemicals such as dyes and preservatives that cause allergies. That’s why you need to write down all the ingredients from these foods.

New Foods

You’ll need to find a source of protein and a source of carbohydrate that your pet has never had before. Feeding these should lessen the allergy symptoms since they’re not on the list of possible allergens. Once your pet is feeling better on their new diet, you can begin to introduce the things on your list, one at a time, back into their diet and wait to see if the allergy reappears.

The Forbidden List

If the symptoms reappear and you need to wait a couple of weeks for each food you introduce back into the diet, you can put that food on the forbidden list. If your pet seems fine after adding each ingredient, then you can add that food to the safe list.

Keep adding foods from your original list, one by one, until you’ve gone through them all. You should now have two lists; one with the safe foods on it, and one with the forbidden foods that your pet has a reaction to.

Veterinarian Rockingham

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority. Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for help and advice on allergies and food sensitivities in your pet. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

What are Cat Abscesses?

Cat with bite wound

The very nature of cats makes them prone to abscesses, and most are invariably caused by other cats. An abscess forms after the skin has been broken, usually by another cat’s teeth, and the wound gets infected. Cats have a lot of bacteria in their mouth, and the site of the bite almost always forms a localised swelling that’s very painful and can make your cat feel quite ill.

The Abscess

Since cats are secretive creatures, they won’t often let you know if they have an injury. The first thing you’ll notice is the large, tender lump, often on the face or neck of the cat. Occasionally, you’ll see the bite mark before it turns into an abscess, and your vet can treat it to ensure it doesn’t get worse. However, once the wound becomes infected, the pressure starts to build and a pus-filled lump will form.

Be careful and try not to touch it. You’ll not only create more pain for your cat, but you might burst it, and the resulting smell is extremely foul.

Treating the Abscess

Sometimes, the abscess will burst by itself, and the cat will do its best to clean the wound. However, since they’re often on the head, face or neck, it’s inaccessible. If it has burst, you’ll see a large, open wound that oozes pus and possibly blood.

Whether the abscess is intact or not, your cat needs to go to your local vet clinic as soon as possible. Your vet will drain the abscess and clean it up, and write a prescription for a course of antibiotics to ensure it heals and doesn’t recur.

Severe instances may need to have drains inserted for a time, and your cat may have to wear an Elizabethan collar – plastic cones that stop them from licking the wound and pulling out drains and stitches. You’ll need to keep your cat inside while they heal, and you might want to take steps to prevent it happening again.

Abscess Prevention

Most cat fights are over territory and occur between intact males fighting over females in heat. Simply having your cat neutered or spayed and keeping them inside at night can often prevent injuries from fights, and your cat will be happier and healthier. You’ll also feel better knowing your cat is safe instead of roaming around in the night being bitten, breeding, and possibly even contracting a nasty disease.

Rockingham Vet

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if your cat has an abscess that needs attention, Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for your convenience. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.