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Cat with protein allergy?? What food to feed him??

beckiandthetrio
December 24th, 2007, 08:23 PM
Hi all--

since ive gotten such great advice here before thought id ask another question. I recently took Panda to the vet because he was licking his belly raw to the point of chapping his skin. My previous vet said that this was physchogenic in nature and there is nothing i could do about it.

well this vet seemed to have all the ansewers. She took skin scrapings of his belly(which almost made me cry cause he looked to miserable) gave him depo-medrol (which was "to make him feel better") a dose of revolution because even though hes an indoor cat and the skin scrappings were negative this was still needed??

then the kicker is that "maybe he just has protein allergies" so in turn they want me to feed him the hypoallergenic stuff from Science Diet (Z/D i think). I told the vet that i really didnt want to feed SD because of its low health benefits and quality. Which they asured me was totally wrong as the SD was a very high quality food. So, with little choice left and my babies comfort in mind i bought a small bag and some canned food which in its self was a small fortune!!! So, my question to you is this my only option?? The vet wants me to try it out for 3months to see if it works, but could the depo-medrol be masking that allergy anyhow so it wouldnt pay to do the "food test" untill after that wears off?? sorry if i have confused you but im hoping somebody has some knowledge/advice on this situation.

Thanks,
Becki, Panda, Zoey and Janie

growler~GateKeeper
December 25th, 2007, 12:51 AM
Have you tried a second opinion?

I would definately stay away from the SD :yuck: & all other prescription foods :frustrated:

I think it would be best if it is a protein allergy to find out which one he was allergic to, rather than just ignoring it & putting him on a broad based "hypo-allergenic" diet.

Sugarcatmom is very knowledgable about foods & her kitty Aztec is a OCD belly licker - so perhaps you could exchange notes about behaviours & when she is back on (being holiday season & all) she could give you some pointers about finding out which protein through elmination. Some members have found their cat/dog is sensitive to a certain protein in processed food but not raw or home cooked.

Have you tried feeding only one protein source for 2 weeks to see if there is any change? Like for example start with Chicken - easiest to digest - but the food has to have only chicken in it - read the ingreadients really really well, any other protein source parts may affect the results

good luck & keep us posted

Mamakicia
December 25th, 2007, 03:15 AM
Have you tried feeding only one protein source for 2 weeks to see if there is any change? Like for example start with Chicken - easiest to digest - but the food has to have only chicken in it - read the ingreadients really really well, any other protein source parts may affect the results.

It would be helpful to know which food you have been feeding Panda - what meats/protein sources are in there? With so many foods out there, you should be able to find some premium ones that don't contain certain ingredients (or that have just a single meat protein), like Growler mentioned.

Nutritionally, the Prescription Diet z/d is junk, not to mention it uses crappy preservatives; at the end of this post I have pasted some info from their website. The philosophy behind z/d is that it doesn't contain beef, dairy or fish, which they say causes most protein allergies in cats. To my knowledge, most of the better cat foods don't contain dairy, and some do have beef but it is usually specified on the front label. It's pretty easy to spot fish formulations. Although a lot of foods now have fish oil in them, this is pretty much purely fat and not protein. The z/d formulation uses hydrolyzed chicken protein (protein that is broken down into smaller parts) and grain sources of protein - their product isn't really rocket science. By reading some labels and with the help of some other mamas and papas of allergic kitties on this forum, you should be able to find a nutritious food while addressing the allergy issue. And when you do, bring the z/d bag back to the vet and get your hard-earned money back!

The Depo-Medrol is a steroid which works by suppressing the immune system. If the reaction on Panda's skin is from an allergy, the Depo-Medrol will blunt his/her immune system, allowing the skin condition to improve. Although it might make Panda more comfortable in some respects (it also has side effects), you're right in that it may make the food trial difficult to interpret. Having said that, though, if it truly is an allergy, you will want to try to eliminate the allergen while Panda is on the steroid, so that Panda's skin doesn't flare up once the Depo-Medrol wears off.

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah to all!

"z/d® Low Allergen Feline

For the Nutritional Management of Cats with Food Allergy and Intolerance Food allergy and intolerance, also called adverse reactions to food, can cause serious skin and stomach problems in your cat. This condition is usually an abnormal response to a specific protein in food. Only Prescription Diet® z/d® pet food is formulated with Hill’s Hydrolyzed Protein System™, a process that eliminates animal intact proteins and significantly reduces the possibility of an adverse reaction to food. For cats, most allergic reactions occur as a result of beef, dairy products and fish. z/d® Low Allergen Feline cat food contains none of these allergens. The nutritional formulation of Prescription Diet® z/d® Low Allergen may also be useful for pets with a variety of conditions.

Additional Information
The hydrolyzed animal proteins in Prescription Diet® z/d® ULTRA Allergen-Free Feline have an average molecular weight less than 3,000 daltons.This allows them to escape detection by the immune system, which helps avoid adverse reactions.
• The hydrolyzed animal protein source and a refined, highly digestible carbohydrate source (corn starch), help avoid common food allergens.
• Pruritic dermatitis, eosinophilic granuloma complex: Adverse food reactions in cats typically occur as non-seasonal pruritic dermatitis. Some cats with adverse food reactions have clinical signs of eosinophilic granuloma complex.
• Chronic gastroenteritis, chronic colitis: Adverse food reactions can result in chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea associated with gastrointestinal inflammation. Mildly affected cats may only show an increase in the number of bowel movements or may have only occasional vomiting.
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Adverse reactions to food may potentiate IBD. z/d® ULTRA Allergen-Free Feline may aid in the nutritional management of inflammatory bowel disease in cats

Ingredients
Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Soybean Oil (preserved with BHA, propyl gallate and citric acid), Calcium Carbonate, Powdered Cellulose, Calcium Sulfate, Glyceryl Monostearate, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement,) Dicalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Iodized Salt, Ethoxyquin (a preservative), Beta-Carotene."

beckiandthetrio
December 25th, 2007, 09:10 AM
Thank you both for your replies. I currently feed them Wellness canned grain free and Felidae for overweight cats for kibble. Im interested to see what sugarcatmom has to say also but you both gave me some great info.

i think im gonna hold off on the z/d for right now and try the single meat source as your suggested. What brands of kibble are single meat source? I think the wellness chicken is just chicken but ill have to check that to make sure.

Becki and Panda

Cassiopeia
December 25th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Nature's Variety "Instinct" has canned formulas with one source of poultry or meat, chicken, duck, venison, rabbit, beef. The Instinct canned are grain-free, as well. They do contain eggs, so if eggs are the culprit, would not be a good choice.

SARAH
December 25th, 2007, 05:16 PM
I can't help but wonder how a cat, which is a carnivorous animal, can be allergic to the very food nature designed it to eat and survive on. Maybe there is something non-proteinic in the food you used, or there is one particular animal protein your cat reacts to (like lamb and would be ok with chicken, or vice versa).

It just sounds weird to me, against nature, a way to peddle the vet's food ...

beckiandthetrio
December 26th, 2007, 10:57 AM
Sarah-- I totally agree with you, I was thinking the same thing about the whole carnivore thing. The depo-medrol is helping as I can see new hair growth on his belly. I just am kinda lost right now???

SARAH
December 26th, 2007, 11:14 AM
I'd feel lost too. But I think I'd ask another vet too. I mean, it's like saying a cow is allergic to grass really isn't it!?

The protein your cat was getting, was it dry/canned, commercial stuff? If so, it's most likely not the protein the poor animal is reacting to, but all the additives they say are harmless (yeah, and I'm the Queen of England!).

I'd give clean, raw food a try. A chicken breast will go a good way for a cat. Just portion it out and freeze the portions so you have fresh meat every day. Same with beef and lamb too (except lamb is rather pricey) and you can also get liver and ... hm, do they sell hearts, lungs, gisards etc where you are? Anything raw and affordable for your budget basically. My cat also loves raw egg yolk, lots of protein in that ;) but no grains, no additives, unless the mother hen was pumped on antibiotics :mad:

sugarcatmom
December 26th, 2007, 11:45 AM
I currently feed them Wellness canned grain free and Felidae for overweight cats for kibble.

My feeling is that if it is an allergy, it's more likely to be from something in the Felidae kibble. There are an awful lot of ingredients in there:

Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat, (Preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Herring Meal, Eggs, Flax Seed Meal, Psyllium Husk, Sun Cured Alfalfa Meal, Sunflower Oil, (Preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Chicken, Kelp,.....

It might be a good idea to try a very simple canned food such as By Nature Organics (http://www.bynaturepetfoods.com/productpages/organiccannedcat.php). There are no grains or vegetables, and if you pick either the turkey or chicken, there is only one meat source. Now if it's turkey or chicken that Panda happens to be allergic to, you could track down some Innova EVO (http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1663) canned 95% meat (duck or venison). These don't contain any eggs or vegetables like the Nature's Variety Instinct does.

In the meantime, do try cutting out the dry and see what happens. I think more cats develop allergies from dry food than anything else due to the high grain content and the unnatural state of the proteins from over-processing.

Let me know how Panda does.

beckiandthetrio
December 26th, 2007, 12:14 PM
thanks sugarcatmom for the advice. Im gonna try the nature orgaincs first i think but the place im gonna get it from sells both EVO and Nature Organics. Im gonna for sure take back that crap SD Z/D to the vets and use that money to buy the good stuff...lol. Just one thing. do you think i should wait a bit untill the effects of the steroid have worn off so i know if the food change is really working??

becki and panda

want4rain
December 26th, 2007, 04:51 PM
i would unquestionably start the new diet now so that if it DOES work, you have all the 'old' stuff out of his system before the drugs ware off.

i would strongly suggest either a home cooked meal or a raw meat only meal. i think just BANG saying that your poor cat has a protein allergy before ruling out grains and veggies is just plain silly. id like to know why your vet said protein instead of grains or veggies.

if you go with home cooked, start off with 70% chicken, 10% single source veggie or no more than 2 sources pureed really well (carrot and green beans are great) and a single source of grain with the strong suggestion it be rice because it is basically hypoallergenic and one egg mixed in WITH the shell on.

if you go with raw meat only (what i feed all of my cats successfully!!!) i would buy a whole chicken and start with the breast, lightly cook one side (without the bone on it) and slice it into 1 inch strips. feed a heart lightly LIGHTLY cooked (for taste) and a liver per whole chicken (ie whole animal idea.. no chicken has two hearts right?!) and an egg per 10lbs 2Xweekly. that is a totally complete diet, no additives needed, no extra grains or veggies.... another animal source would be nice but its not needed.

pick one of your choice, do that for 2 weeks and see if things dont clear up. if it does boy it sure wasnt a protein allergy huh?? if things look ok after 2 weeks, give it another 2 to be sure.

if it HASNT cleared up, i would strongly suggest the whole prey raw meat diet and see if THAT doesnt clear it up.

failing that.... for with a more expensive meat source like rabbit or duck and 2 totally different veggies and oatmeal or the whole prey rabbit or duck. muscle meat alone is not enough. there has to be bone, heart and liver for nutrition.

-ashley

sugarcatmom
December 26th, 2007, 10:04 PM
Just one thing. do you think i should wait a bit untill the effects of the steroid have worn off so i know if the food change is really working??

becki and panda

No, you might as well start introducing the new food as soon as you can. Not sure if Panda has a sensitive digestive system but with some cats it's a good idea to do a slow transition so that they don't end up with GI issues. In Aztec's case, I can switch him cold turkey with no problem, but he doesn't always like new flavours the first few times I offer them. At first he wasn't overly impressed with By Nature, but now it's one of his favourites. Hopefully you'll have good luck with Panda. So does this mean you're going to take the dry away?

Oh, and as want4rain suggested, a raw diet is great for dealing with allergy issues. If you're not ready to go that route yet, try the diet modification first and see what happens.

beckiandthetrio
December 27th, 2007, 07:38 AM
thanks Ashley and Sugarcatmom for the advice. Ashley--Id love to go the whole raw food route but Im almost a full blown vegitarian. Raw meat gives me the heebie jeebie's so to say, so at this point Im not ready to do that even though I know it would be better for my babies.

So, In compromise i want to give them the best I can afford as I plan on switching all 3 of them to this new diet. Im going to the pet store that has these specialty brands tonight. I live in Wisconsin so the pickins are slim as far as variety goes so Im gonna get the best I can find.

Sugarcatmom--yes i think im gonna take away the kibble. they dont really like it all that much now that ive been giving them wet on a regular basis. i think they pick at it maybe in between feedings so I may as well take it away completely.

Ill keep you all updated. Thanks for all the great advice again.

PS. On a different note--Ive convinced my mom to switch her cats diet also. She feeds SD now. She though is unwilling to pay more than what SD costs which is still a good amount of money. Any suggestions at all for her. She lives in Chicago so there are more options as far as brands and such. Duke (the cat) is a 5year old neutered male on the bigger side but not grossly overwieght and has a sensitive stomach. Thanks in advance.

Becki and the trio

want4rain
December 27th, 2007, 12:37 PM
heck im a meatatarian and raw meat gives ME the heebie jeebies!!!

im not really sure what to say.

It might be a good idea to try a very simple canned food such as By Nature Organics. There are no grains or vegetables, and if you pick either the turkey or chicken, there is only one meat source. Now if it's turkey or chicken that Panda happens to be allergic to, you could track down some Innova EVO canned 95% meat (duck or venison). These don't contain any eggs or vegetables like the Nature's Variety Instinct does.

is sound advice and probably the best given your situation.

if you are looking towards a homemade diet now or any time in the future, check out this page-
http://www.geocities.com/Petsburgh/Zoo/5650/defic.html

good luck and keep us posted! i hope you find a solution although i suspect its going to take a great deal of trial and error with different foods.

-ashley

beckiandthetrio
December 27th, 2007, 09:19 PM
well i went to the speciality store in the next town over and boy did i have good luck. the owner is very knowledgeable and gave me some ideas, she has 8 cats herself!!! which by the way Ashley she feeds all raw...lol. She has a homeopathic anxiety remedy that im gonna try on panda. after a lengthy convo about his "issues" she thought that would be the easiest route to start off with it. Panda and his sister have dominance issues sometimes so she thinks its somehow related to that. the other good news is that her wellness food is alot cheaper than the other place i was getting it from, worth the drive for me!!!

the funny thing too was that when i was looking around at all the different brands she had they were ones ive heard from here....it was kinda funny. A couple of months ago i was a science diet girl and then i came here and learned a whole different side!!! thanks everybody for the advice and i will give an update to see how the anxiety stuff is working.

-becki and panda

want4rain
December 27th, 2007, 09:26 PM
she give you Feliway?? few members here have had great results with that. i dont know of any who had no results or negative ones. :) good luck!!! and please keep us posted!

YAY for raw!! im the last person to champion somethign other than my children/marriage but ive seen with my own two eyes.... huge results with raw and my cats.

-ash

sugarcatmom
December 28th, 2007, 06:58 AM
she give you Feliway??

My guess is that it's probably something closer Rescue Remedy than Feliway. Feliway isn't homeopathic, it's a synthetic version of feline pheromones, where as Rescue Remedy (http://www.rescueremedy.com/pets/) is a combination of 5 Bach flower essences which can be used on people or pets during stressful times.

beckiandthetrio
December 29th, 2007, 07:39 AM
your right sugarcatmom. though unfortanetly the lady had sold out of it so im waiting for her shipment to come in. Hopefully by today!! She said I just put some in his mouth once a day. We will see...the wonderful world of cats!!!

Becki

sugarcatmom
December 29th, 2007, 12:03 PM
your right sugarcatmom. though unfortanetly the lady had sold out of it so im waiting for her shipment to come in. Hopefully by today!! She said I just put some in his mouth once a day. We will see...the wonderful world of cats!!!

Becki

Rather than putting it in his mouth, I'd recommend rubbing some on the inside of his ears. The base of Rescue Remedy is alcohol, which cats hate, so I'm not sure how well it will go over if he's forced to taste it. If you get the spray bottle kind, you can give his bedding or other areas he hangs out in a couple of squirts a day. A couple drops in his water or food could also work (it gets diluted enough not to have a taste).