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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so just a brief history reminder, since most of you know my story. Kitties have allergies to chicken, so I started to feed whole raw rabbit meat, and things got so much better! I had a major problem with #1 rabbit meat supplier, so for about 6 weeks or so I guess, they had to go back on Nature's Variety Raw Rabbit, which has eggs in it, and it makes them itch.

I found rabbit meat supplier #2, and started them on it again about 2 1/2 weeks ago, maybe 3......not sure. I mixed 1/2 lb of beef in with the rabbit portion, and suppliments. They started to get worse, much worse, and the itching and shedding intensified, long haired kitties hair looked flattened. Coats felt GROSS! It was looking similar to before we found out we had an allergy problem.

So thankfully, I had only made 2 small batches with the beef, and it was nearly gone. Last saturday I mixed up 2 more batches (with supplements added) without the beef in, and started to add a natural fish oil made for pets. I was expecting them to improve as the days went by, and at first they did seem to be, but now they are itching more again, shaking the heads, and shedding........good grief are they shedding!

I don't remember what happened exactly the first time I put them on whole raw rabbit meat, but I don't recall them getting worse, and the symptoms intensifying. I more remember the feeling of relief because they were getting better.

Could different types of rabbit make a difference? Or is this normal, getting rid of whatever makes them itch, from their systems?

I'm getting that frustrated feeling back again, and I'm NOT happy about it!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No I don't know what they would have been fed. :(

I have another question..........I wonder if this would make a difference. I had two websites saved with a recipe, and for some reason, I didn't pull up the same one I did before. The first time I made the rabbit, when they did get better, I used 4.5 lbs of rabbit, and for some reason I used the other recipe that calls for 3 lbs. Same amount of supplements were used for both recipes.

How much of a difference would that make??
 

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I don't know that the amount would make a difference. I do think that what the rabbits were/are fed can make a difference. Do you know anything at all about what they ate? Are they organic or not organic etc.....?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Coming back to this with a small update.

I was thinking that it was maybe that my minerals were off, but after thinking about it, nothing changed from when I started with the RAW rabbit the first time. When I started them on that first batch of meat, they did awesome, and looked awesome. Now, even on this batch of rabbit RAW from the new supplier, we're still itching, and biting feet. I'm really thinking it has something to do with the rabbit meat itself, and what he must be feeding, like was mentioned earlier.

I ordered some ground rabbit with bones today from Hare Today, so we will see what happens with this batch. Holy moly, talk about expensive after shipping! It comes out to over $6 a lb, and that's the cheap shipping!!!!!!!!! Dave would kill me if he knew what I spent on it today!
 

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Lord Geri I cant beleive the journey your on to solve this. My heart goes out to you. I hope I never have to deal with a food allergy in my cats.

One of my friends whose cat had IBD and another with allergies realized she had tried over 50 different brands of food trying to solve her cats problems. It was crazy. She was devoted as you to solving the mystery of what would work and what wouldnt. I never ever want to face that.

There is such a big movement to support local organic farmers, maybe there is one in your area that organic feeds their rabbits so you could control what is fed to your cats???? Might be worth a try to network to see who is out there in your area. And save on shipping so Dave wouldnt know..8)
 

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Geri...I have to admit that I haven't followed this saga closely so you may have already addressed the things I'm about to say. But it seems weird to me that 2(or is it more?) cats have the same identical allergic reactions at the same time. That's just too much of a coincidence for me and makes me think it's not a food allergy. Unless....are they siblings? I could see siblings having similar allergic reactions, although I still don't see it it being likely that the response would pop up at the same exact time.

Not sure what to suggest other than a vague "something in the environment", but I'd recommending exploring possibilities beyond food.
 

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But it seems weird to me that 2(or is it more?) cats have the same identical allergic reactions at the same time. That's just too much of a coincidence for me and makes me think it's not a food allergy. Unless....are they siblings? I could see siblings having similar allergic reactions, although I still don't see it it being likely that the response would pop up at the same exact time.

Not sure what to suggest other than a vague "something in the environment", but I'd recommending exploring possibilities beyond food.

I'm curious about this too. My other question regarding the food would be if you've been using the same supplements this whole time? It could be that whatever you are mixing into the food is causing the reaction versus the meat?

Lastly, if you've explored all the other options, I would ask whether you are feeding your cats the same food at every meal? I know people and/or animals are known to develop allergies to a food if they eat it too often. I don't know what the magic amount of time is to become allergic to a food though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Merry, I appreciate the good thoughts. My husband is actually ready to start raising our own rabbits pretty soon, if I can't get this figured out, and honestly, I'm not at all opposed to this, simply because I would know every detail that went into the food.

Doodlebug. Believe me, I asked all these questions to the vet at UW Madison Vet Clinic, and yes, all the cats can have the same allergies at the same time. One of the things that severly effected this, is that because no one could help us, or knew what it was, they were on ivermectin for soooo long when the thought was parasites. The last vet I saw said in no way is this parasites, simply because of their lack of effect on their coats......ie: hair loss, and negative multiple skin scrapes. They shed terrible, but no real patches where loss has occured. They've also ruled out bacterial. But because they were on ivermectin for so long, it severly effected their immune system, which in turn can cause stress, and cause allergies because of the depleted immune system.

We have had our carpets cleaned, our air ducts cleaned, both professionally. I use all perfume free/dye free soaps on my clothes, all blankets, and in the shower. Their dishes are cleaned every time I feed. I scrub the floors at least once a week, again, very non-harmful chemical cleaner. I vaccum at least 3 times a week, and all of this was being done before, during, and after the initial improvements on the first batch of raw rabbit. Believe me, I've been down this road. The only time we saw ANY relief, was when they went on the raw rabbit meat from the very first supplier. They were doing phenominal up until that ran out, and then the quality I got from them just went down the s**t hole, and I had to cut ties with them. I had to put them back on Natures Variety Rabbit for about a month, and they itch on that also, because there is like 3 different types of bird eggs in there, one being chicken. Then I started the new supplier, and it got slightly better, but not much, and I realized that the added beef I put in didn't agree with them either. Next batch I made, I left out the beef, and they did better, but they are still itching. With the rabbit from the first supplier, it was within 1 1/2 weeks of starting it that Lucy, who I use to pretty much tell me how things are going, was shedding less, much less itching, and she was starting to get really full and fluffy again. You could just tell it was working, and progressively getting better up until I ran out of that.

Oh, also, all of my supplements are the same from first batch of rabbit except one, my fish oil, and I'm doing a test right now to see if that could be a possibility. I took one of them completely off of it. After speaking with a natural food professional, she said that the way some of these companies process this stuff, is just horrible, especially the one I had bought. I went the cheap route, rather than buying the expensive good stuff. Otherwise nothing has changed. Honestly, I don't think this is what it is though.

The next step would be to actually do the allergy testing at UW Madison, but they are 4 hours away from us, and to do the testing is a minimum of $2,000, on top of the over $2,000 I've already spent. I never went through with it for 2 reasons, one being, Dave said NO, and at that time is when the first batch of raw rabbit was progressively making things better.

I'm not ready to give up on the food allergy thing yet, it's the only thing that made any positive changes for them. If worse comes to worse, I am going to go back to the first supplier, and I will go there myself, and stand side by side with that old man as he processes my order, to make sure it's done right! :p
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stupid edit restrictions! :?

I ordered enough rabbit from Hare Today to make 2 batches, which will last me about 2 1/2 weeks, and it will be interesting to see what happens on that meat. If I see good changes, then I will know there is something wrong with the meat from supplier #2. We shall see......it should be here friday, as they are not shipping it until wednesday.
 

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Goodluck with the new meat, I hear Hare Today is an excellent source.

Maybe they are allergic to processing? Or.. maybe something given to the rabbits/cows/etc? Maybe raising your own and knowing what you're feeding is a good idea.. because you can also control what the meat eats (high quality feed).

Rooting for you!
 

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Thanks Kelly! Appreciate that! :) I got a UPS notification today that the Hare Today order shipped one day early, so I should have it by thursday now! Yay! I'm really hoping for positive results. They aren't as bad as they used to be months ago, but they still itch, and bite at their feet. It needs to be resolved. I've got a couple things I want to resolve first, just to know that I have tried everything I can, and then I'll need to take the next steps if it doesn't change anything. I'll have to sell some camera equipment or something to pay the UW bill if hubby still says no.

When I still lived at home with my mom and step-dad, my step-dad always raised animals for meat, and particularly rabbits, so I'm used to it. If it does turn out to be the meat processing, or what the rabbits eat, I agree, if I'm going to have cats with allergies, raising our own meat source would be best.

Will come back to update after I've had a chance to try Hare Today meat.
 

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Got the order from Hare Today, it was still frozen solid, probably because it is winter. Just made my first batch with it, and will do another one later today. I have to say, the meat is so clean! Processed very well, though some of the bones are a bit bigger than the stuff I have now. It will be fine though, and I'm axcious to see the results, because it actually looks different than the meat I have been feeding lately. The Hare Today meat is cleaner, lighter colored, which looks like the first batch of rabbit we first fed. The meat we've been feeding the last few weeks is darker, with dark chunks in it.
 

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Got the order from Hare Today, it was still frozen solid, probably because it is winter. Just made my first batch with it, and will do another one later today. I have to say, the meat is so clean! Processed very well, though some of the bones are a bit bigger than the stuff I have now. It will be fine though, and I'm axcious to see the results, because it actually looks different than the meat I have been feeding lately. The Hare Today meat is cleaner, lighter colored, which looks like the first batch of rabbit we first fed. The meat we've been feeding the last few weeks is darker, with dark chunks in it.
Rabbit goes bad very quickly, and even more so if any of the organs/entrails are left in it.

I've bought from Hare Today twice and will keep ordering from them regularly. The rabbit meat does seem expensive, but when I bought my last batch, I calculated that it was just a wee bit less than the same amount of canned cat food would have been at $1.65 per 5.5 oz can (but I bought a full 48 pounds).

Have you by any chance listed what supplements you use somewhere? I'd like to take a look, if you'll point me to the thread.

I sure hope this batch of rabbit does the trick for you!!!!!

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #16
AC, I'm using the recipe from the site in your signature, with a couple changes. I don't add eggs, psyllium husk, or fish oil to the mix. I haven't been adding fish oil at all lately, but we will see how things go with this meat as I'll be watching for constipation.

Making Raw Cat Food for Do-It-Yourselfers Page 2

I use the whole rabbit with head, bones, organs, and muscle meat. I do have a question though. In the paragraph down below, the sentance in red. It's says 4,000mg taurine. Where does that number come from, because the recipe calls for 2,000mg. Which one is right? I've been adding 2,000mg.

4.5 lbs whole rabbit meat, ground
3/4 cup bottled water.
2000 mg Taurine.
800 IU Vitamin E
200 mg Vitamin B Complex
1 tsp Lite Iodized Salt


Whole Rabbit Grind

Hare Today offers whole ground rabbit, this includes the head, which is a very good thing even though it may not sound appetizing! When using this grind, omit the liver and heart since the organs are already there in the grind. You can also omit the fish oil, as the Omegas are supplied by the eyes and brains from the head. That's the reason including the head in the grind is a good thing. My cats absolutely love the rabbit! They will eat it first every time if given a choice. Add the 4000 mg taurine even though the rabbit organs are included, just to be sure. Some taurine may be lost by freezing or by grinding, so it can't hurt to play it safe. Taurine is water soluble, so you don't have to worry about your cats getting too much.
 

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Whoops, I'll let Margaret know there's a typo in there, thanks!

Taurine is water soluble, though, so it really doesn't matter how much you put in. Since we know ground rabbit is low in taurine, to be on the safe side, I'd add the 4000 mg until we know which amount was meant.

Hmm, I've never heard of a need for salt in a cat's diet. Could you maybe cut that out for one batch and see if that causes a change?

For that matter, it'll do no harm to make a batch of food without any of those supplements at all (except the taurine), just to see if there's a change for the better. If not, you can add them all back in the next batch; but if so, you can add them back in one at a time and see which one causes a flare up. Since there are only three, this is an easy check.

Just for peace of mind, this might be a good idea. It might not even be the particular supplement as much as that brand of that supplement, but eliminating the question entirely would make sense to me.

Regards!

AC
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think I'm going to do that AC. I know the first batch I made without any supplements, because I got my rabbit order before my supplements order, and without any supplements was terrible. I will start with just taurine though, and see how it goes. I really have my suspicions that it may have something to do with the B-complex vitamin though.

I've got an order in for more of the good fish oil too, just in case I need it.
 

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I agree with AC, while suppliments make us feel as if we're "doing as much as we can" really.. meat has most everything it needs! By using rabbit, and grind at that, we know the recipe is super low in taurine - so adding 4000mg per batch is not a bad thing... and fishoil is another I would add, but other than that, I'd keep it nice and simple. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm really feeling like it has to be the minerals that are off like you are both saying, whether it be from the supplements, or something within the bone/meat itself. I know from feeding horses, especially when adding a beet pulp or oats to their diet, it's high in calcium, and you have to balance it out with specific things, which can really effect the calcium/phosphorous ratio. I think it's all a balancing act, and I just have to get the correct tweak.

I just ordered more meat from Hare Today, and I ordered a little bit of boneless lamb this time. I know they didn't do well on the beef, so I'm going to see what lamb does, and hopefully that will help with the rabbit being more lean. I'll see what works better, the Nordic Naturals fish oil, or the lamb. I'm going to make a small batch of each. I'm kind of wondering also, if rabbit has a higher bone to muscle mass ratio, if adding a little lamb in will dilute the bone amount a bit per serving. Could it be a higher calcium issue also?

So, question for you. When I first started on the rabbit, my order of meat arrived before my supplements did. I made the first batch without any supplements, and they did aweful, lots of itching. Once I added the supplements to the next batch, they did great. Could the itching from feeding the batch without supplements, been due to the lack of taurine?

I think I'm just going to have to do a series of trial batches, and see what works.
 
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