How a cat’s diet can help with skin issues

The causes including itchiness can vary widely, but pet guardians will agree that itchy cats have a decreased quality of life due to their discomfort. Accompanying symptoms that might be noticed include ear infections, redness of the skin, wounds associated with scratching, secondary infections, hair loss or even vomiting and diarrhea.

The most common causes of skin problems are flea allergies, environmental allergies or adverse food reactions, a veterinarian can help you find out more. Nutrition can play an important role in management of both environmental allergies and adverse food reactions. For the latter, a diet change might be used to help diagnose the problem and the new food can be obtained from your veterinarian.

What exactly are food allergies?

Adverse food reactions include both food allergy and food intolerance.  A true allergy is mediated by the immune system while food intolerance is not.  A good example of an adverse food reaction that is not actually an allergy is lactose intolerance; in people and animals with lactose intolerance, the problem lies in the capacity to digest lactose but there is no actual allergy. Associated with adverse food reactions are both skin and gastrointestinal signs. Pets with skin signs can take up to twelve weeks to show improvement during a diet trial, while pets with gastrointestinal signs alone usually respond within four weeks. During the trial, a hydrolyzed protein diet or a veterinary exclusive novel protein diet might be used.

Environmental allergies: cats can be tested

They are often treated with a combination of medications, environmental changes, and also a dietary modification. Cats can be tested for environmental allergies with either an intradermal skin test or a blood test. We recommend that you ask your veterinarian about the best options for you and your feline household member. Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and allergy injections are examples of medications that will be used to treat patients with environmental allergies. Nutritional management of environmental allergies can include a combination of nutrients to help the skin barrier function better in order to keep allergens out of the skin as well as omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help with inflammation.