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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about feeding raw with allergies

Hi there I did a few searches on the forum and was not able to find exactly what I was looking for. I hope this isn't a duplicate question - my apologies if it is. I'm having a very hard time weeding through all the abundant info online for cases like this.

My boo is 7 years old and was diagnosed with food allergies 2 years ago. He's had a blood panel done, but the vet put him on hydrolyzed protein kibble right away instead of an elimination diet. I've had him since January and began his elimination diet in May of this year after he started reacting severely to an unknown source. He's also been on raw since May. We started out with commercial frozen nuggets (Nature's Variety), but his reaction didn't seem to settle down (I think it was the pork in their rabbit formula), so I moved him to a limited ingredient canned diet towards the end of June for a couple weeks while I figured out what to do next.

I finally got a hold of his test results and they were negative for turkey, so I put him on Primal turkey nuggets for a week or so, then gave him some 'treats' of ground turkey from the butcher. Once I was convinced he would eat ground, I switched him over and started adding supplements using the recipe from cat-info.org. He was totally fine while on Primal turkey and at the very beginning of the ground turkey, but the last few days he's been getting significantly worse. I'm wondering if maybe it's the egg yolk? Can that be substituted with something else? Or would you just go with a whole new novel protein for this portion of the elimination?

Also, once I have him on something without the egg yolk, how long would you keep him on it before expecting to see improvement? If there's no change in a month, would you say he's reactive to that protein?

His blood test showed off the charts positive for lamb, beef, venison, pork, soy, milk and some grains (I don't have it with me to reference). He showed moderate reaction to rabbit and pork. He showed completely negative for turkey, fish, chicken and eggs. I realize that once his system is calm and we're on a regular rotation of a few proteins, he may be able to tolerate some of these problem proteins in raw form, but for now I'm not even going near them.

In my experience with him, I can safely add chicken and possibly and duck/rabbit to the allergy list and I can confirm the pork and lamb allergy. I'm really nervous to try other red meat considering most of his positives are red - am I being too paranoid about that? Some items that are readily available in my area are bison, elk, bear, rabbit, goat, pheasant and maybe quail. It's hard not to panic and think my choices are getting too slim to manage.

I really appreciate any input you can give, and I'll be happy to add more info if needed. Sorry about the wall of text

Last edited by sweetp; 08-04-2014 at 03:16 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 06:34 PM
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Sweetp,

While I'm far from being a real expert on food allergies, I think a lot of vets are too quick to prescribe RX food. When my cat G was throwing up on raw a few months back, I had to revert him back to a canned only diet. He did fine, but after a bit more diagnostic tests (due to loose stools), my vet prescribed Hills z/d diet and some antibiotics even though it was clearly found the root cause of his illness was not food intolerance but microorganisms found in his GI tract.

Anyway, it seems that blood tests are not very accurate way to diagnose food allergies in felines, if it is done, it's usually the intradermal route. However, after some reading, it seems that the only true way to diagnose food allergies are to feed your cat hydrolyzed protein diet anywhere from 6-12 weeks and then do a process of elimination of foods as you've been doing in raw. You just have to be very, very, tedious on what foods Boo is exposed to, as even the teeniest, tiniest amount of food ingested can skew results.

I think what you're doing is the best way to know for sure which foods Boo is most sensitive to, so you ARE on the right track, and raw allows you to control all of the ingredients, so that is great, as long as he likes eating them, too.

Regarding egg yolk, I suppose cats can be allergic to egg yolk, but it seems very beneficial (lots of amino acids & fats) as long as egg whites are excluded. I've heard that liver can be a suitable alternative, with some B vitamins included as supplementation (especially B12) if you can't get him to consume it fresh. Maybe adding some omegas like unsalted, water-packed sardines fed once or twice a week can help if there is constant itching for him? Omega-3s are also anti-inflammatory, which can help his skin/coat condition too.

Hope others can add on or correct me if I've mentioned something that isn't right. Healing wishes to Boo, your beautiful black kitty...
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 01:05 PM
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In my experience the thing to do is find a single protein you KNOW will work, and feed only that for at least a month.

Here's a quick rundown of my experience with Jitzu:

When I took over Jitzu's care she was 2yrs old, unspayed, and cranky/untrusting and generally awful. The girl who was 'looking after her' was feeding her whatever was cheapest at the grocery store. When she remembered to buy cat food. (I got quite a few pets when she moved out and 'couldn't take them with her'. *glowers* Some people should NOT be allowed to own pets!)

At that point, and for the next year or so (until I learned better) she continued to be fed grocery store food, although I bought what looked like the best stuff there. (Yeah, we all know how reliable labels can be, lol.) She was also throwing up as much as 3-4 times every day.

Once I wised up and started feeding her a higher quality kibble she did ok for a bit, only throwing up 1-2 times a day for the first 4 months. Then it went right back to awful. I asked a few vets, and they all said cats throwing up were 'normal' but I could try their special cat food if I wanted.

Long story short, we tried a LOT of vet foods, meds, and many other kinds of kibble - grain free included - before I did a bit more research (found CF ) and switched to all grain free wet. She did ok on that, but after about 4 months she was getting sick again.

A bit more research and I finally decided to give raw food a shot. Switched all 4 cats (since I'd accumulated Torri and the boys along the way) to raw. After 1 month on raw (we were doing a meal plan, chicken breasts/thighs mixed with this nutrient powder stuff) her personality improved a TON.

Jitzu went from being a gigantic PITA who growled and chased the other cats, guests, and even me, to actually being nice sometimes. I eve caught her playing and grooming Doran! HUGE difference. That's when I decided I'd never switch her back to processed foods.

Now, 6 years later, she's still got a picky tummy. She'll get sick if she licks plates left dirty in the sink, or if she steals food, or if I feed her the wrong things...but I'm way better at managing her diet and her attitude kept improving once she started feeling better.

The biggest thing I found with her is that she was still really reactive to new food up to 1 year after the switch. So, I started gently. We fed mostly chicken and pork for the first year (with me making their meals myself - frankenprey model raw), and after that gradually introducing other meats. Anything too fatty will set her off, so will eating too fast. But now she gets sick a max of once a week - usually because she's stolen something or eaten too fast.

I'd suggest picking one thing and really sticking to it. Long term that isn't manageable on raw, but with allergies priority 1 is to get their digestive tract soothed. When they've been constantly exposed to allergens it keeps their system on high alert, and that means more likely to reject foods that they aren't actually allergic to. Once the system is given time to calm down you may find you can feed a broader variety of raw meats. But you HAVE to give him time to calm his digestive tract first.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for this. I desperately want his system calm, I just have no idea what to put him on to do it. If I switch proteins again, how long should I expect before seeing some improvement? He is obviously reacting severely right now. I'd hate to switch him and keep him on something that he is reacting to. Those blood test results make me hesitate to try red meat, but my experience with him makes me hesitant to try fowl.

I keep telling myself to just keep working on it, this phase cannot last forever. I don't know what I'd do if I ever have kids lol
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 04:24 PM
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Good meats to start with include chicken (even if he reacts to chicken in kibble! Raw and kibble are very different), turkey (although it seems like that's not working for you), and pork.

The trick is that you HAVE to stick with it for at least 2 weeks, otherwise you can't be sure that it's the new protein he's reacting to, or if it's the other stuff still irritating his system. That's the hard part

You can give things to soothe his system though, probiotics are great and so is canned plain pumpkin. In a pinch I'll also use cooked white rice, but the pumpkin is preferable if you can get him to eat it.
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