Hypoallergenic diets for itchy pets
If your pet suffers from recurrent bouts of ear or skin disease, you’ll know how frustrating the issue can be – not to mention uncomfortable for your poor pet!
Ear or skin disease that recurs with no seasonal pattern can suggest a potential food allergy (also known as an adverse food reaction). Most commonly, pets develop an allergy to particular types of protein – with beef, dairy and chicken being some of the most common triggers.
Unfortunately, pets can develop allergies to proteins they have previously been fine with, which can make diagnosis tricky!
Hypoallergenic dietary trial
If your pet is showing symptoms suggestive of a food allergy, we’d advise booking a consultation with one of our vets. We will generally perform some diagnostic testing to rule out other common causes of skin/ear irritation (such as mites or fleas), and check for secondary bacterial or yeast infections which can complicate allergy symptoms.
Our vets can then guide you on how to perform a hypoallergenic dietary trial. This can be done via:
A novel protein diet – this involves feeding a single protein source that your pet has never eaten before, combined with a single carbohydrate such as potato. This is generally a home-cooked diet, as many commercial pet foods can contain proteins that are not listed on the front of the packet!
A hydrolysed protein diet – this is a prescription commercial veterinary diet containing proteins that have been altered to make them unlikely to trigger any inflammation in your pet
A properly-performed hypoallergenic dietary trial (followed by a staged “rechallenge” with suspect trigger proteins) can confirm if your pet has food allergies and, if so, what specific proteins they’re allergic to. In the long term, this means you may be able to eliminate your pet’s symptoms just by avoiding certain trigger foods.