Food alergy

Food alergy

Food allergy is the result of a negative reaction of the immune system to a food ingredient/ingredients (it is a hypersensitivity reaction) and should not be confused with food intolerance (i.e. a metabolic disorder).
It can occur at any age, also on the food previously consumed.

The «cause» of food allergies are glycoproteins (i.e. protein and sugar particles).
The most common food allergens include: beef, milk, lamb, eggs, soy, wheat, and corn.
It is not uncommon for allergies to affect many food ingredients.
Food allergy manifests itself with itching, the «map of changes» of which includes:

  • face (around lips)
  • auricles
  • ventral surface of the neck
  • armpit and groin area
  • interdigital spaces
  • crotch

At a later stage of the disease, as a result of scratching, excoriations, scabs, scars, hyperpigmentation (skin discoloration) and lichenification (thickening of the skin as a result of chronic inflammation) appear on the skin.
Then, secondary bacterial infections (Staphylococcus intermedius and pseudointermedius) and fungal infections (mainly Malassezia) occur.
It is often accompanied by otitis externa.

How to distinguish food allergy from atopy?

The key question concerns the quantity, quality and frequency of bowel movements.
A thorough interview should be conducted regarding problems with gasification of the gastrointestinal tract, the symptom of «overflowing» of food in the abdomen, the presence of mucus in the stool, and even the method of defecation.
There are no gastrointestinal disorders in the course of atopic dermatitis.
Moreover, in the course of food allergy treatment, there is usually resistance (i.e. no improvement) to the glucocorticoids used (steroid drugs that, depending on the dose, have an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive effect).
Breeds predisposed to food allergies are:

  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • HE
  • Collie Sheepdogs
  • Spaniels
  • Dalmatians
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Miniature schnauzers
  • Retrievers
  • Shar-Peie
  • Dachshunds

In addition to a thorough interview, a detailed clinical examination and additional tests, the diagnosis is based on the introduction of an elimination diet and then a provocation test.

The elimination diet is introduced for a period of at least 6 weeks (preferably 10-12 weeks). It should be based on foods that have not been served before or you can use a commercial diet with hydrolyzed protein. The new diet should be introduced gradually over 5-7 days. After obtaining a satisfactory clinical condition, we move on to the second stage, i.e. a provocation test. Slowly, one at a time, we introduce the ingredients that the animal has eaten before. Symptoms of an allergy to a given ingredient in food generally appear within 48 hours. after consuming it. However, subsequent ingredients should be added approximately every 14 days. This is a long-term process and requires consistency and commitment on the part of the Guardian.

Food tests can be performed all year round. If the result is positive, the allergen should be excluded from the diet.

Check out our YouTube channel Poradnik Psa i Kota and watch the interview with the doctor. vet. Ilona Blanc,
who discusses issues related to food allergies in pets.

Zajrzyj na nasz kanał na YouTube Poradnik Psa i Kota i obejrzyj wywiad z lek. wet. Iloną Blanc,
która omawia zagadnienia związane z alergią pokarmową u zwierząt domowych.

bow. vet. Ilona Blanc, Dog and Cat Disease Specialist

7 июля 2023