Answers: Raw Diet for My Cat's Mystery Allergy?
Last Updated on Saturday, January 02, 2016 06:14 PM
Published on Sunday, May 31, 2015 03:49 PM
Written by Lyn Thomson, BVSc DipHom
My vet told me that my cat is showing allergic symptoms, but he can't tell me what she is allergic to. We don’t know if it is environmental or a food allergy. A friend told me that feeding a raw meat diet could help. How would a raw diet be beneficial if we haven't figured out what is causing the allergy?
Our aim is to rebalance the immune system by switching off the cat's tendency to "overreact." Cats should be able to tolerate pollens, grasses, fleas and dust mites. So why is it that so many of them are diagnosed as being allergic to these common, everyday environmental triggers? A healthy and normal immune system reacts to harmful threats by producing antibodies. These antibodies bind to the threat and are cleared from the body by a specialised system called the reticuloendothelial system
. When this system is overloaded, the clearance no longer occurs. The antibodies are bound up with the threatening substance and continue to circulate in the blood stream. These circulating immune complexes start to cause trouble; they are deposited in the skin, the gut, the kidneys and the joints. They then trigger local and generalised inflammation - heat, redness, swelling and itchiness - the typical signs of an allergic reaction.
Rebalancing the immune system by feeding raw, biologically-appropriate food takes a lot of pressure off a very overloaded immune system. Allergy panels commonly show cats and dogs as being allergic to corn, soy and wheat. Rather than getting caught up in the specifics and expense of allergy testing, our suggestion is to remove grains and starches from the cat's diet; foods they are not designed to eat. Feed a protein
source that the cat has not eaten before, for a period of six weeks. This allows the gut a chance to readjust. As 70% of the immune system is in the gut, the gut is the best place to start to fix an allergic animal.
It is incredible how much impact these simple measures have on calming down an overactive immune system. We are not suggesting that all allergic cats have food allergies. We are suggesting that biologically-appropriate raw foods can have an impact on reducing allergic tendencies.
Rebalancing the immune system by providing a raw diet and supporting the immune system in the gut with cat-specific probiotics
and animal-derived essential fatty acids
are the simple things that can make an enormous difference to a very frustrating problem.
Note: Feline Nutrition provides feline health and nutrition information as a public service. Diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions should always be in consultation with your own veterinarian. Feline Nutrition disclaims all warranties and liability related to the veterinary advice and information provided on this site.
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Dr. Lyn Thomson trained at the University of Bristol in England and is studying with the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. A dedicated and experienced advocate of bio-appropriate nutrition, Lyn practices in Auckland, New Zealand. Her Raw Essentials stores have grown to eight retail locations, providing a variety of raw diet products for cats and dogs.