How to Treat Your Cat’s Food Allergies
When your cat’s unique immune system finds a protein or carbohydrate in her food it doesn’t like, lookout. Head and neck scratching that started out intermittently ramps up to non-stop self-battery, often causing lesions followed by bacterial infections. When frequent scratching is combined with diarrhea and vomiting, you know you have a cat with food allergies (only 10 to 15% of cats exhibit gastrointestinal distress, however.) Allergies cause inflammation, and when the digestive tract gets inflamed, gastro issues follow.
Common foods cats are allergic to include: beef, fish, chicken, dairy products, and eggs. Cats allergic to food are also often allergic to environmental allergens like pollen and dust as well. Cats can develop allergies at any age, even after being on the same food for years. Mysteriously, an allergy can seem to spring up overnight. Rest assured the immune system has been mounting a defense against that substance for months. Symptoms emerge once the immune system overcomes the body’s healing process and sends it into inflammation and irritation.
Food allergies arise when the body suddenly registers a protein or carbohydrate as particularly harmful. The immune system tries to fight off the substance as if it were a virus or bacteria. The swelling and itching are fallout from the attack by the immune system.
Alleviating Those Food Allergy Symptoms in Ways Old and New
Allergies cannot be cured.
The first step you will most likely take (with or without your veterinarian’s guidance) is to create a diet comprised of proteins and carbohydrates your cat has never encountered before. A cat accustomed to a chicken and rice diet switches to one with salmon and potato. The immune system hasn’t had a chance to build up an inflammatory defense against these new foods.
Cornell University Feline Health Center recommends keeping the cat on a diet free of any of the familiar proteins or carbohydrates for eight to 10 weeks. The allergy symptoms should subside. With this process complete, the owner then reintroduces the former diet components one at a time for a week at a time. He or she must watch carefully for symptoms to recur. Of course, the next step is then to avoid that food at all costs.
Some cats, however, are severely allergic to different allergens that are almost impossible to avoid. In these cases, your veterinarian may recommend allergy shots, steroids, and anti-inflammatory supplements like tea tree oil, omega-3, and yucca.
CBD’s Potential Impact on Inflammation and Immune Function
To this point, western veterinary medicine has developed effective treatments for cat food allergies. But what if just a minor boost to an already well-functioning, physical system can help get the body into a better balance? With the reported anecdotal effects that the cannabis oils are having on humans, millions of dollars are now pouring into veterinary research as well.
Cannabidiol, one of the 80 identified cannabinoids found in cannabis, can have the potential to enrich the lives of both humans and animals. Another of these 80 cannabinoids, named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is psychoactive, causing mind-altering effects. Those looking to get high seek want THC. The other 79 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, do not create psychoactive effects. Still, cannabidiol impacts a cell signaling system researchers only discovered in the 1980s. Called the “ endocannabinoid receptor system,” it passes messages throughout the body, helping to regulate immune and central nervous systems. Proper messaging throughout the endocannabinoid system may help keep inflammation, anxiety, appetite, and pain perception all stay balanced.
CBD may be used to boost the efficiency of this system, to promote a sense of overall well being. Manufacturers, including Frenchie Fries Co., have made it easy to get CBD into pets’ systems by creating hemp-derived, CBD oils and chews. Just a few drops every day support your cats’ wellness.
How CBD May Fight Inflammation due to Allergies
The CBD the cat ingests via oils dropped directly into the mouth or onto food indirectly activates the endocannabinoid system. In turn, this system regulates the inflammatory response. Cannabinoid receptors have been found inside immune cells, indicating they help regulate immune function.
To be clear, preliminary research indicates cannabinoids, like CBD, may help suppress immune hyperactivity causing allergies.
Food allergies inflame the skin around the face and neck as well as the gastrointestinal system, causing diarrhea and vomiting. With inflammation in check, scratching diminishes and intestines function more normally.
Many pet owners have reported that CBD oils and chews may be more effective than popular natural anti-inflammatory substances glucosamine, fish oil, yucca, and more. Given that a 2017 World Health Organization report concluded that cannabidiol in its pure state is safe and well-tolerated by animals, most pet owners don’t hesitate to give it a try.