What food allergy causes itchy ears
Common manifestations of pruritic skin disease in cats include:
- Symmetrical hair loss
- Overt itching, scratching and self-induced skin damage
- ‘Miliary’ dermatitis – this form of skin disease is characterised by the presence of tiny 2-3 mm diameter crusts throughout the body surface. The skin and jacket may also be greasy and own excessive dandruff
- Eosinophilic granuloma complicated – see eosinophilic granuloma complicated in cats – this is a variety of skin lesions (indolent ulcer that affects the upper lip, and eosinophilic plagues or eosinophilic granulomas that can affect various areas of the body and also the oral cavity.
They are generally associated with allergies. Every of these manifestations of pruritus glance completely diverse, but can every be caused by the same things — in most instances the cause is fleas but other parasites and allergies can be involved. Some cats may own more than one manifestation of disease present simultaneously eg, indolent ulcer and symmetrical hair loss.
Tests & diagnosis
A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive. [7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]
Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.
How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air?
They set a trap. The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any 24-hour period. That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.
A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope.
It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S. states.
The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants.
As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.
Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass. Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.
The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne.
Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.
Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight.
During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.
Hay fever treatments
Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.
Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom.
Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.
Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips. [7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]
Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body.
Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.
Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source. Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation.
Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.
For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A 2017 nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.
Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.
Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.
People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.
Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses.
A 2015 review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms. [5 Myths About Probiotics]
This article was updated on April 30, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.
“Allergen-free dog food“ touts one product website, while another company advertises “limited ingredient diets”.
And the majority of companies that make grain-free diets propose that they may be helpful for pets with allergies. How true are these claims, though?
As it turns out, food allergies are not as common as numerous pet food companies and websites may love for you to ponder. And while food allergies are one possible cause for your dog’s itchy skin and ear infections or your cat’s diarrhea, there are numerous more likely causes which may own nothing to do with the food
What is a food allergy?
Food allergies happen when an animal’s immune system misidentifies a protein from a food as an invader rather than a food item and mounts an immune response.
The finish result of this response can be itchy skin or ear and skin infections in some pets, while it may cause vomiting or diarrhea in others. Some unlucky pets will own both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. However, food allergies own to be distinguished from numerous other more common causes of these issues.
What are other causes of gastrointestinal signs in dogs and cats?
There are dozens of causes of gastrointestinal issues in dogs and cats – parasites, viruses, bacterial infections, pancreatitis, eating something they shouldn’t, and numerous others.
For pets that own symptoms only on certain diets, it could be due to a food allergy, but it could also be due to an intolerance – the food may own too much fat, too much or too little fiber, or own other properties or ingredients that don’t consent with that specific pet, but aren’t due to an allergy. Your vet can assist you figure it out.
What are other causes of itching, and skin and ear infections?
The most common cause of itching, skin infections, and ear infections in both dogs and cats are fleas, allergies to fleas, and environmental allergies – dust mites, pollen, grasses. Both flea allergies and environmental allergies are MUCH more common in pets than food allergies but flea, environmental, and food allergies can every own similar symptoms.
Diagnosis of food allergies
One of the most frustrating things about food allergies is that there really isn’t an simple test.
While numerous tests – using blood, saliva, and even hair – that can be performed a veterinarian or purchased by a pet owner online (and even sometimes shockingly, through a Groupon!) advertise that they can diagnose food allergies or “sensitivities”, there is no proof that they work. None of the currently available tests own been shown to be precise – that non-allergic dogs test negative and allergic dogs (and only allergic dogs) test positive. In fact, multiple studies (including this one just published) own shown that these kinds of tests are not extremely helpful in diagnosing food allergies, despite their widespread use for this purpose.
Research results presented at a veterinary dermatology (skin) conference even showed that some tests “diagnosed” plain water and stuffed animal “fur” as having food allergies.
The “gold standard” or best method that we currently own, for diagnosing food allergies is the dietary elimination trial. This means feeding your pet a diet purchased through a veterinarian or carefully made at home that contains only a few ingredients (typically one protein and one carbohydrate plus necessary fats, vitamins, and minerals) that your pet has never been fed before or that are hydrolyzed (where the proteins are broken below into extremely little pieces that can hide from the immune system) or purified to remove the parts that are likely to cause allergies.
This diet is then fed as THE ONLY FOOD OR FLAVORED THING TO GO INTO YOUR PET’S MOUTH for at least a month but potentially several, depending on your pet’s history and type of issues. If your pet’s signs dramatically improve during the trial, then to confirm a food allergy, your pet then has to go back to the ancient diet again. A quick relapse is suggestive of an allergy to an ingredient in the ancient diet.
You then go back to the test diet until things get better again before trying one ingredient from the ancient diet at a time until you identify the specific foods that trigger the problem. Numerous people switch diets and their pets’ signs improve, but they never re-challenge, so we can’t know if it was coincidence or the diet that actually helped the pet! We see this commonly when the seasons change – pet owners assume it was the diet that caused the improvement in their pet’s allergies when actually it is because seasonal allergens – such as certain pollens – are much reduced.
The “allergy diet” myth
There are no diets that are completely “hypoallergenic”, meaning that they will not cause allergies.
The closest we own to this helpful of a diet are the hydrolyzed diets that can be purchased through veterinarians. Dogs and cats can be allergic to beautiful much any protein or carbohydrate ingredient that can be found in pet food. Feeding a diet with duck, kangaroo, lamb, or venison doesn’t prevent food allergies, it just makes it likely that if your pet develops one, it will be to that protein instead of something more common love pork or chicken. Likewise, there is no evidence that continually changing (rotating) diet ingredients prevents food allergies, but it definitely can limit diet choices to attempt to diagnose them (since every ingredient your pet has eaten before is no longer available to be used in a dietary elimination trial).
What foods are associated with the most allergies in pets?
While the overall percentage of dogs and cats that own food allergies is low, there are some ingredients that are associated with more of the confirmed cases than others.
The most commonly reported food allergies in dogs and cats are chicken, beef, dairy, and egg (and fish for cats). There is nothing particularly special about these ingredients other than they own been the most common ingredients in pet foods for the past few decades, so both cats and dogs often own been exposed to them a lot. What surprises numerous pet owners is that grains are actually unusual causes of food allergies – most pets are allergic to animal proteins! Yes, the occasional pet is allergic to a specific grain, or even another plant-sourced ingredient such as potato, or even carrot, but this is less common than an allergy to an animal protein.
Unfortunately, this information doesn’t prevent hundreds of companies from advertising their grain-free diets as being excellent for pets with allergies. Numerous companies also advertise gluten-free diets for pets. Gluten allergies seem to be extremely rare in pets, having been clearly documented only in Irish Setter dogs, possibly in Border Terrier dogs, and never in cats.
Do I own to use a diet from my vet for a diet trial?
Many companies make over-the-counter diets that they market as being excellent for dogs with allergies, but they often don’t live up to the hype. Numerous of these so-called “limited ingredient diets” contain more than 1 protein and 1 carbohydrate source.
They may contain fruits and vegetables, alfalfa, kelp, or other ingredients that could interfere with a diet trial. Even those that only own 1 protein and 1 carbohydrate as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals listed on the bag may still contaminated with other ingredients.
Several studies recently own shown that large proportions of over-the-counter diets contain ingredients (admittedly sometimes in extremely little amounts) not listed on the label, likely due at least in part to the common industry practice of running one diet after another in the same manufacturing line at the factory, without a thorough cleaning in between (this is love human foods that are labeled as being made in a factory that also processes nuts – even though they don’t contain nuts, they could own nut residues). Because of the high risk of contamination for over-the-counter diets, we strongly recommend using a veterinary diet for your dietary elimination trial (either novel ingredient or hydrolyzed, depending on the individual pet) or a carefully prepared home-cooked diet designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
The best diets for a food trial own 2-3 ingredients plus fat sources (which are extremely low risk for allergies) and supplements. Diets for a diet trial should never include fruits and vegetables (unless a vegetable love a potato is one of the 2-3 ingredients), herbs, or ingredients such as kelp because they can make it hard to interpret the results if your pet doesn’t improve on the diet.
If your veterinarian diagnoses a food allergy using a dietary elimination trial with a veterinary diet or home-cooked diet, you may be capable to manage your pet afterward with specific over-the-counter diets (once the specific allergen is identified), keeping in mind that you could see a flare-up if you unknowingly purchase a contaminated bag.
Clinical Nutrition Team
Posts authored by the Clinical Nutrition Service team are by Dr.
Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN, Dr. Deborah E. Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN, and Dr. Cailin R. Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN
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Fleas remain the most common cause of skin disease in cats, although this is not true in every countries (in some regions fleas are rare), and fleas are not the only cause of pruritus (itchy skin) in cats. Where fleas are not the answer, often a much more detailed and meticulous approach is needed to discover the diagnosis.
In some instances in cats, it can be extremely hard to differentiate between skin disease due to pruritus and skin disease induced by other causes.
For example, in humans and dogs, hair loss is almost always hormonal in origin. However, in cats, hormonal skin disease is so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Hair loss in cats is actually almost always caused by excessive self-grooming due to pruritus — but cats may be ‘secret groomers’ and often we may be unaware that the cat is grooming more frequently or more aggressively.
Severe pruritus and eosinophilic
plaques associated with flea allergy – note matting of the fur with saliva
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing.
But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.
Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]
Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.
People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.
Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»
Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said. But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.
What can cause cats to itch other than fleas?
Important causes of pruritus other than fleas include:
- Insect bites
- Atopy (house dust and pollen allergy)
- Food intolerance/allergy
- Ear mites and other mites
- Bacterial infections
Ear mites – Otodectes cynotis
Ear mites are well known as the major cause of otitis externa (ear inflammation) in young cats and in breeding colonies – see common ear problems in cats.
However, it is also possible for the mites to wander onto the skin around the head and neck and cause pruritic skin disease at these sites. As cats sleep curled up, spread of infection (and subsequent dermatitis) to the rump and tail may also occur.
Atopy (atopic dermatitis; dust and pollen allergy)
Atopy is not well characterised in cats. In humans and dogs, the term is strictly used to describe an inherited predisposition to develop allergic reactions to environmental allergens (such as pollen and home dust).
Allergies to pollen and home dust happen in cats, and may be a potential cause of pruritus, but they are hard to diagnose and it is unknown whether there is an inherited component to the disease.
In most cats, atopy is diagnosed by ruling out other potential causes of pruritus, including fleas and other parasites, and food. Allergy testing can be performed on cats (for example intra-derma skin tests) but the results are rather unreliable. Blood tests are also offered by some laboratories to ‘diagnose’ atopy and the underlying cause of the allergy, but these are less dependable than skin tests, and both untrue positive and untrue negative tests are well recognised.
Atopy is incurable and life-long medication is needed to prevent unacceptable discomfort.
Treatment with essential fatty acids and anti-histamines is successful in only a minority of cases. Numerous cats need long-term corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporin. If an allergy test has successfully identified the offending allergen, then it is possible to use a ‘hyposensitisation vaccine’ as a therapy – these rarely resolve the disease but in some cases reduce the need for drug therapy.
Insects such as wasps and bees can cause stings that lead to dramatic, painful and swollen skin. However, some other insects including fleas, midges, flies and mosquitoes may bite and the reaction to the bite (or the insect saliva) may cause intense irritation and pruritus.
Flying insects generally bite relatively hairless areas such as the bridge of the nose and ears. Notably, mosquitoes own been reported to cause an eosinophilic granuloma-like reaction on the bridge of the nose of some cats (mosquito-bite hypersensitivity).
Food intolerance or allergy
No-one knows the exact mechanisms by which certain foods can make animals and humans itch. Allergy may be involved, but in some cases, it is possible that the pruritus may result from chemical reactions to the food or to additives and preservatives.
However, it is well recognised that changing the diet to a food that cats own not previously been exposed to can cure some cases of pruritic skin disease.
Most of these are probably food allergies but the terms ‘food intolerance’ or ‘food-responsive’ skin disease are sometimes used as a specific diagnosis is often not made.
Cats may need to be fed an alternative diet for a period of 6-8 weeks to law out food-response dermatitis, and the choice of food is significant. This is not simply switching one brand of cat food for another, as the ingredients are often extremely similar. Your vet will advise you on the most appropriate diet to use – this might be a home-prepared diet, or your vet may propose a special ‘hypoallergenic’ diet for the trial period.
Numerous cats also hunt or may be fed by neighbours, which can complicate the trial as it is significant that no other foods are eaten during the trial period.
Harvest mites are a recognised cause of skin disease in cats in some areas in tardy summer and autumn – see harvest mite infection in cats. These tiny orange dot sized mites are visible to the naked eye and generally found between the toes and in Henry’s pocket of the ear flap.
In some parts of the world, the mites Noedres cati and Sarcoptes scabiei may be found on cats and may be a cause of intense pruritus.
Bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) and fungal (yeast) infections
Although bacterial skin disease in cats is unusual, it may happen and there are occasional cases of spectacular recovery following antibiotic treatment in pruritic cats.
This is unusual, but more work is needed in this area.
Dermatophytosis (infection with a dermatophyte fungal organism) is not generally pruritic, but skin infection with yeasts (Malassezia) can be a problem in some cats – this is often secondary to allergic skin disease, but the yeasts may also contribute to the pruritus.
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What is food allergy?
A food allergy is an abnormal response of the body to a certain food. It is significant to know that this is diverse than a food intolerance, which does not affect the immune system, although some of the same symptoms may be present.