Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Food hypersensitivity

Contributor(s): Ian Mason, Philip K Nicholls, David Scarff

Introduction

  • An adverse reaction to ingested antigens.
  • Incidence: 1-6% of all feline dermatoses.
  • Strict definition excludes food intolerance, eg diarrhea due to sudden dietary change or excessive lactose, however the term tends to encompass any abnormal reaction to a specific food.
  • Cause: commonly proteins, but any component of diet can be implicated.
  • Signs: skin, gastrointestinal signs; rarely, respiratory and CNS signs.
  • Diagnosis: exclude differential diagnoses, elimination diets.
  • Treatment: avoid foods which trigger reaction, hypoallergenic diet.
  • Prognosis: good if offending food is identified and eliminated.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Proteins, lipoproteins, glycoproteins, lipopolysaccharides, carbohydrates; most commonly proteins.
  • Most common allergens - fish, beef and dairy products, ie common constituents of diet.

Predisposing factors

General

Pathophysiology

  • Seen in cats that have been fed the same diet for months - years.
  • Changing from one brand of commercial food to another rarely has any effect as most commercial diets contain similar ingredients.

Timecourse

  • Immediate hypersensitivities: within minutes to hours.
  • Delayed hypersensitivities: several hours to days.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Leistra M & Willemse T (2002) Double-blind evaluation of two commercial hypoallergenic diets in cats with adverse food reactions. J Feline Med Surg (4), 185-188 PubMed.
  • Hill P (1999) Diagnosing cutaneous food allergies in dogs and cats - practical considerations. In Pract 21 (6), 287-294 VetMedResource.
  • Carlotti D N, Remy I & Prost C (1990) Food allergy in dogs and cats - a review and report of 43 cases. Vet Dermatol (2), 55-62 VetMedResource.
  • White S D & Sequoia (1989) Food hypersensitivity in cats - 14 cases (1982-1987). JAVMA 194 (5), 692-5 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Rosser EJ (1996) Food hypersensitivity - new recommendations for diagnosis and management. In: Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine. 3rd Edition. Ed: August. W B Saunders Co, Philadelphia. pp 209-213.


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