Reliable Food Trials Require Rx Diets
Question:
We have a 13 year old female cat. Recently she started itching above her eyes and has removed most of the hair. Our veterinarian scraped the area and did a culture. The test was negative so we were told it was probably a food allergy. She currently eats BLUE/Mature/Healthy Aging Cat. She gets sick to her tummy, often vomiting undigested food. She seems to be getting very thin. She acts fine, plays, cuddles, etc., but she is constantly itching.

Dr. Nichol:
The skin scraping and culture were important diagnostic starting points. I agree with your veterinarian that a food allergy should be considered among other possible causes for your cat’s itching, vomiting, and weight loss. A diet trial would help answer the question.

Prescription diets, containing a novel or hydrolyzed meat protein, are ideal for this purpose. To be a reliable trial your kitty must eat only this food for 8-10 weeks, avoiding everything else. Many commercially available cat foods are of fine quality but lack diagnostic value because they may include trace amounts of other meat that can trigger the allergic cascade in a sensitive pet. Your cat’s doctor can dispense the right diet.
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My research into the early diagnosis of canine dementia (cognitive dysfunction syndrome – CDS) is on the home stretch. The owners of 21 elderly dogs, who had passed on from CDS, have allowed me to conduct MRI studies of their pets’ brains.  The microscopic evaluations, using specialized staining techniques, are the final step. Now I need a little more help. The staining of 84 slides at $12 each will cost $1008.00.

My time and the energies and expertise of Dr. Laurel Sillerud of the UNM BRaIN (cq) Institute have been donated. So far, our costs have been covered by a grant and a contribution from the Nichol family. This is not a registered not-for-profit; I’m just trying to finish my research.

Learning more about CDS in dogs will help us care for our aging pets. It may also advance our understanding of Alzheimer’s – the degenerative brain changes are almost identical to those found in dogs and cats. If you would like to donate I will be most grateful. Go to: gofundme.com/h8xdv4