Food allergies and food intolerances in pets
Food allergies and food intolerances in pets: How much do we know about them?
It has become clear to everyone how food related allergies and intolerances are part of the daily lives of all of us and our pets. How is it possible? Is it that these disorders have always existed and simply went undiagnosed? The answer is easy! Food intolerances in pets basically didn’t exist before the 70’s and allergies were less widespread. As a veterinarian, I can talk about cats and dogs but as a man that deals with lots of people, I can testify that it’s the same with humans. Allergies and intolerances expanded tremendously during the 70’s, increasing year after year. In the canine and feline population of those years, allergies appeared during the first year of life or they never did. Today, they are suffering from food allergies or intolerances at all ages, even at 15 years old and more!
The distinction between food allergies and food related intolerances
Allergies are the result of exaggerate reactions of the immune system, which recognizes as enemies even the most common substances, thus triggering all those problems we know from personal experience or from having seeing them in our dogs and cats: rhinitis, conjunctivitis, cough, asthma, itching, allergic skin reactions, gastrointestinal disorders up to anaphylactic shock, a heavy and sometimes fatal reaction that is caused by contact with a particular substance.
The immune system constantly under attack
The reality is that every day our immune system is under attack of many and varied chemical and pharmaceutical substances, and it reacts in two very different ways: by getting depleted or by altering its functions.
- Its depletion leads to invasion by fungi, germs, virus or to the exaggerate and harmful development of saprophytes, essential germs that keep external enemies under control.
- Its alteration leads to abnormal reactions such as allergies and auto immune pathologies, and both of them could comprise health or even be deadly.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are the body’s defense mechanisms: recognizing a food or substance it came into contact with as a toxic, the body triggers a series of processes to get rid of it as quickly as possible or to destroy it in its “incinerator”, the inflammatory process. The body rids itself of toxic substances through different means, such as vomit, diarrhea, body secretions and dandruff: mind you, though, the inflammatory process is a healing process that can manifest itself in any organ (especially the skin and intestine), and it’s recognized as such by traditional medicine.
Why do adverse reactions occur so frequently (allergies and intolerances)
In my forty years of experience, among the many doubts that I have, I've come to a realization: what triggers allergies and intolerances in pets are rarely foods or allergens, instead it’s the chemistry that accompanies each element getting into contact with the industrial process. Of course, chemistry helped us increase dramatically industrial production, making foods available at low prices, but the final price is way higher than money, it’s our health. It’s undeniable that we live longer, but find me just a cat or a dog who has never suffered from or has to live with one or more inflammatory processes, or that hasn’t got problems with some foods.
Do is all chemistry dangerous?
There are, of course, chemical elements that are not harmful, but it’s hard to prove it, especially because we are in contact with hundreds of different products, and every one of them contains residues. For the vast majority of products, their toxic effect is individual and cumulative over time. It can sometimes take months, or even years, in pets and decades in humans for toxic symptoms to kick in, with nearly impossible odds to prove causation. But surely, all diseases studied have occurred after chemistry invaded goods manufacturing. Have you ever tried to read any label? Try it, there's to be afraid.
The most common food related disorders in cats and dogsI call them disorders, but they are defense mechanisms to get rid of harmful substances. Let’s see the most frequent ones: constant tearing, chronic conjunctivitis, relapsing otitis, nocturnal vomit on an empty stomach, chronic diarrhea, flatulence, paw licking, itching to the neck or at the back, skin sores with uncontrolled itching, dandruff, loss of hair, anal glands inflammation.
There’s only one solution: to keep causes away
In both cases, allergy or intolerance, the best treatment is to remove the cause, that is an hard goal to achieve for environmental allergens, but relatively easy if the cause is food related.
The surprising cause of the vast majority disorders
I’m pleased to say that the Research and Development Department which I’m in charge of, has discovered the main cause of food related disorders: the bone. It is the deposit organ of any chemical substances, even the most toxic, and to solve these disorders we have to avoid it and any foods that contain its residues, especially if they are from intensive farming.
Use Italian foods!
If you’re using pet food, choose Italian companies of medium-high level that research into food related pathologies and also use alternative protein sources.
However, you have to know that the most important Italian producers of meat coming from intensive farming (especially chicken, turkey and pork) don’t use pharmacologic toxic substances anymore. And, therefore, even foods coming from these animals don’t cause health disorders.
A safe method to understand if a food is healthy or not
Be aware that the body of our furry friends, way better than ours, immediately reacts to the presence of a toxic substance, by developing in a few hours one or more of the symptoms that I’ve described before. If no reaction compares, you have a good probability of having chosen a healthy food.
Forza10 Founder and Head of SANYpet’s Research and Development Department Veterinary surgeon and international expert in food-borne diseases
Urinary Tract Infections in cats, also known as “UTIs” are caused by colonized bacteria in the urinary tract. The UTI can affect the cat’s urinary system, bladder, and urethra. This type of infection can be particularly painful for your cat and symptoms can sometimes be associated with other health concerns such as kidney failure. It is very important to recognize the symptoms early as some cases of this condition can be fatal.
How To Tell if Your Cat May Have a UTI
If you think that your cat may have a urinary tract infection it is important to find out in order to have it treated as soon as possible. We have included a list of symptoms for you to watch out for. If you recognize these symptoms you should seek veterinary assistance. While UTIs affect both male and female cats, some cats may be at higher risk than others such as cats that are older, overweight, or have diabetes.
UTI Symptoms and Warning Signs for Cats:
- Urinating is done in short bursts rather than a continuous stream
- Spending more time than usual in the litter box
- Difficulty urinating
- Crying or whining while urinating
- Your cat is urinating before it can get to the litter box
- Urine with any trace of blood
- Excessive licking of the genital area
- Unusual discomfort around the rear area when touched or pet
- The cat is lethargic
- Urine smell is stronger than normal
Why Is My Cat Having Frequent Urinary Tract Infections?
There are many reasons why your cat may be suffering from repeat UTIs, some may be preventable. While there is no way to guarantee your cat will not have another UTI, there may be some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it happening. In some cases the cause could simply be the age of your cat. While there is nothing that can be done about that, other variables like the cat’s diet can be modified to help.
Other causes of UTIs in Cats:
- Poor hygiene near the genitile area
- Bladder stones
- External or Internal Injuries
- FIV, also known as feline immunodeficiency virus
What Can I Do To Prevent Or Reduce The Likelihood of a UTI in my Cat?
No cat owner wants to see their beloved pet suffer from a UTI. To keep your cat feeling great and reduce the chances of a UTI occurring, follow these guidelines:
- Always provide your cat with fresh water
- Ensure your cat’s litter trays are clean and easily accessible
- Keep an extra litter tray available
- Maintain a stress-free environment for your cat
By following these guidelines you can do your part to help keep your cat healthy, happy, and free of urinary tract infections. If you suspect any symptoms, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior, if symptoms persist or worsen, contact your vet.
Which Remedies or Treatments Can Be Used When Your Cat Has a UTI?
While the severity of the infection plays a key role in what treatments may be used to help your cat when it has a UTI, a minor infection may be treatable at home.
Due to their acidity, cranberries, just like in humans, may be used to help cure a urinary tract infection. The acidity in the cranberries can be effective at lowering the pH of your cat’s urine, helping to reduce the symptoms, or beat the infection altogether. While you may be tempted to treat your cat’s UTI with cranberry juice, it may be better to use cranberry pills or powder due to the high sugar content of cranberry juice.
Another treatment option for your cat’s UTI is apple cider vinegar. This also helps reduce the pH in your cat’s urine. Since your cat will most likely not want to eat the apple cider vinegar on its own, you can try adding a half teaspoon to their food each day or mix it with an onion-free broth.
Before giving your cat cranberries or apple cider vinegar, test their urine for alkaline levels with an at-home kit or specialized cat litter. You can also have the test done professionally by your veterinarian.
Here are some other products that you can use to help support urinary tract infection in your cat:
If your dog just started throwing up and refusing to eat, it may be nothing to be too concerned about, but just in case, it is good to know the warning signs for pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a condition that will need to be treated, sometimes at home but certain circumstances mean it is time to take your pet to the vet.
The pancreas is a gland within the abdomen that helps digest food and control blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, this is known as pancreatitis. It is important to be aware of the two types of pancreatitis in dogs, acute and chronic pancreatitis. While acute pancreatitis can be reversed it can come on strong and lead to extreme illness. Chronic pancreatitis occurs when permanent changes have occurred in the pancreatic tissue.
This means that while a case of pancreatitis can pass on its own after a short period of time, sometimes it can be a lingering issue.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Low body temperature
- Breathing difficulties
While some of these symptoms can pass on their own and do not necessarily mean your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, if you see them lasting for more than a day it may be time to consult your veterinarian.
Although your vet may be able to diagnose your dog based on symptoms, they will most likely need to do some testing to be sure. These tests usually consist of either bloodwork or an ultrasound which will allow the vet to see what is going on within the dog’s digestive system.
The Potential Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs
Now that we have a better understanding of the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs, it is time to look at what causes it. While the cause of pancreatitis is often unknown, here are some factors that it can frequently be associated with:
- A high-fat diet - the likeness of this being a contributing factor is even higher in dogs who eat one large serving of fatty food in a single sitting
- A poor or unbalanced diet
- Excessive consumption of human food
- Dog is overweight
- Severe blunt trauma near the abdomen
- Diabetes mellitus
- Some medications and toxins
- In some instances it could simply be genetics. Some breeds such as Miniature Schnauzers and small terriers may be more likely to suffer from pancreatitis than others.
It is important to keep these potential causes in mind and to do what you can to avoid any habits that could contribute to your dog developing pancreatitis. Beyond that, veterinarians agree that a diet rich in fiber along with probiotics can be effective in reducing the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs. It may even help them recover sooner in the event that they are already dealing with it.