Food allergy diets and ingredients

       Chicken? Soy? Wheat? Food allergy is a “disease” often bandied about by the lay public as a common cause of a pet’s poor skin condition. According to Dr. Wayne Rosenkrantz of Animal Dermatology Clinic (Tustin), “Food allergies are not as common as one would believe based upon the numerous specialized diets that are now available to the public.”
      If a food allergy is suspected, one of the keys to identifying the allergen is to undergo a food elimination trial. The process requires that all previous fed foods, treats and supplements are eliminated from the diet and the pet is then fed a novel diet. “Novel” means a food which contains proteins that have not been previously fed.
      Some pet owners attempt to take on a food elimination trial by simply changing commercial diets or “eliminating” a specific ingredient to help isolate a possible food allergy using retail pet diets. This is not a sufficient testing approach.
(Photo:  Food allergy patient)

        According to a recent study of food antigens in pet food, the source of the product may affect your results (“ELISA testing for soy antigens in dry dog foods used in dietary elimination trials” C. Willis-Mahn, et al.)
This study tested for soy in four dry pet foods carrying the claim “made with no soy”.
      Samples of each were sent to an independent laboratory. Three of the four diet “no soy” samples tested positive for soy antigen. The conclusion of the study was that dog food diets that claim to contain “no soy” may contain high concentrations of soy protein antigen and therefore should not be considered for soy elimination trials. This is likely the same for other ingredients in many other foods as well.
      Similarly, consideration must be taken in manufacturing processes where cross contamination may occur. Packaging for all OTC products generally take place on the same machinery and residual food product may be placed into packaging for another specialized diet.
      Your family veterinarian may sell prescription diets and can offer guidance to ensure that your pet receives a nutritionally balanced diet during the food elimination trial.
(Photo:  Same food allergy patient many months later after undergoing food elimination trial.)

Pet food mix, just add meat for balanced diet

      There are many pet owners that are happy to create a home cooked meal for their pet whether it is for a food allergy or the simple satisfaction of creating a home cooked meal for their pet (see accompanying story “Britney”).
      Products available from a company run by board certified veterinary nutritionists and through ADC offer the benefit of a complete and balanced diet and a home cooked meal for your pet with some added convenience.
      Balance IT Original Blends® are uniquely fortified potato flakes or oats that allow you to quickly and easily prepare fresh meals with your choice of meat, poultry, fish or vegetarian protein sources. Some owners add fresh vegetables for appearance or added flavor (never add onions or garlic).
      Certain special diets may be prescribed for pets that are undergoing a food elimination trial, or if using Balance IT® supplements, for pets that have multiple health conditions that cannot be managed with available commercial foods.
      Two Original Blends for canines are available (pictured above) that can help you to cook a complete and balanced fresh dog food. Each package is enough for one month based on a 35-pound dog.
      To learn more about using Balance IT Original Blends® or Balance IT® supplements and recipes to feed your pet fresh food, please visit their website at or ask your ADC dermatologist.

Food allergy patient
loves home cooking

       For years Patti W.’s bulldog “Britney” suffered from itching and skin problems. She had been maintained on chronic corticosteroids to control the itching but that began to lead to a complication condition called calcinosis cutis. This is an accumulation of calcium in the skin generally caused by excess steroids in the system. These complications led to additional skin infections with many visits to her veterinarian. One episode was so severe that it required Britney to be taken to Animal Emergency Clinic in Grand Terrace, CA. The doctor that examined Britney recommended that Patty take her dog to a dermatologist.
Patty never knew that veterinary dermatologists existed, but she made an appointment to see Dr. Rusty Muse (Tustin).
      Once the doctor got Britney’s infections under control, work was started to uncover the primary cause of her misery. Dr. Muse suspected a food allergy based on her history of nonseasonal year round itching and Britney was placed on a home-prepared food elimination trial.
      Ultimately after a lengthy process of test diets and rechallenges with various proteins and carbohydrates the perfect menu was found for Britney. “We found that Britney can eat pinto or refried beans, canned yams and lamb. But not canned lamb because that seems to cause her problems,” says Patti.
      “I cook her meals a week in advance. People who hear this story for the first time cannot believe that I do this, but I would do it again and again,” she said.
      Britney’s last check-up found her condition to be completely controlled and has been for a long time. No itching and no steroids. Don’t feel sad for Britney, owner Patti says that she still gets treats in the way of canned green beans. Yum!

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