Food Allergies: How Far Do You Need To Go?

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by cheeser, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    If your cat is allergic to a particular protein, do you need to eliminate absolutely everything that's related or derived from that protein source? Or does it just depend on your cat?

    For example, if your cat is allergic to chicken, does that mean that egg yolk lecithin is off the table, or a supplement that contains hydrolyzed chicken liver as an ingredient? Or if your cat is allergic to beef, do you need to avoid anything that contains any product derived from bovine colostrum, or capsules made from beef gelatin? That sort of thing.

    We're making progress as far as diet goes, but we want to make sure we don't inadvertently sabotage our efforts with any supplements or anything else that might be a little too close for comfort. :wink:
     
  2. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    Allergies are one of the most common and most misunderstood medicial issues for humans and animals. There really is not explination of why the same general allergy in two indviduals can manifest completely differently. There are also no hard and fast rules beyond "your body doesn't like it, don't expose your body to it." My doctor has not explination on why I can eat 70% of tomatoes and tomato based products but specific brands and types will cause reactions (I get so mad at restaruants who refill name brand ketchup with off brand because brands play a major factor in knowing if I can eat it or not).

    In most cases, food allergies are triggered by the specific protein. For example, a chicken allergy wouldn't be triggered by chicken fat because there is no protein in fat. Anything with the words "hydrolozyed" has been broken down to the point that the body no longer recognizes it as the specific origin protein. Eggs should be considered seperate from specific proteins. An allergy to eggs is usually to all types of eggs but an allergy to a specific protein doesn't mean an allergy to the eggs from that protein. My Dad is allergic to all poultry but has no problems with eggs. On the other hand, an allergy to a protein does lend itself to avoiding the gelatin from that in most cases because gelatin is made from processing down the bone.

    Hopefully this helps some.
     
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  3. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yep, Kieka is correct. When you separate the components of a meat animal into protein, fat, and bone, etc. down to the molecular level, a "protein allergy" is likely to be very specific. So your cat may be allergic to a molecular-level peptide in the muscle only, but would be all-right if that peptide is removed. In general though, unless you are buying purified supplements, it would be impossible for you to remove that peptide from a meat in your own kitchen. So then a chicken allergy is a chicken allergy.

    A couple of small corrections to Kieka's informative post (no offense): Fats do contain protein fibers that hold the fat together, and gelatin is often processed 100% from the hides of the animal (particularly in grass-fed, non-GMO gelatin products). Bone gelatin is an alternate source and some gelatins will use a combination of bone, ligament, cartilage and hides.
     
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  4. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    N
    No offense taken. I tend to think bone gelatin when it comes to gelatin.

    While fat does contain some protein fibers it usually doesn't trigger an allergic reaction when the allergy is to the specific protein when we are talking about commercial foods. One of my cats is allergic to chicken and chicken fat is in everything. So I've looked into this one a lot. I've been told by every vets, nutritionists and manufactures that the processing to render out the fat removes almost all I aspects of the protein that is found in fat so chicken fat is fine for 99% of animals with chicken allergies. The same is true for most fats. If you are feeding raw it may not hold as true since the fat isn't being processed prior to being fed. Of course there will be the rare occassion of an animal who will react to the fat specifically but its one of those situations where the people involved say it is a general truth with a cavaent to protect themselves against those rare cases.
     
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  5. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes, I make bone broth gelatin at home all the time, but I purchased grass-fed, pasture-raised 100% bovine hide gelatin for my cat who is on a diet (because he doesn't like the unseasoned broth I make) to increase his protein without adding many calories.

    My kitten, now 1-year old, loves cracklins as treats. I render chicken, beef, and pork fats for her and did get curious what the "bits" or cracklins were actually composed of, since they clearly aren't fat. The solid crunchy bits that remain are in fact the protein fibers. :) So the melted portion would be 100% pure fat.

    None of what I just wrote has a thing to do with allergies :oops:, but I love researching nutrition. It's interesting.
     
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  6. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Thanks ever so much for your help, @Kieka and @orange&white! I sincerely appreciate it. *hugs you both*

    I got a bit of a late start on my caffeine fixes for the day, but if I understand correctly:
    1. Just because Buddy has an allergy to poultry, the egg yolk lecithin or occasional egg yolk we give him for hairball control shouldn't be a problem unless he develops a specific allergy to eggs.

    2. Anything that's hydrolyzed has been broken down to the point where Buddy's system isn't going to recognize it as being derived from a protein to which he's allergic.

    3. If I have to repackage some of his powdered supplements into a gelatin capsule (because they taste too bitter or whatnot), it would probably be best to err on the side of caution and use a vegetarian capsule, or one derived from a protein that we know Buddy can tolerate.
    What about other substances that are derived from certain proteins, but have been processed to some degree? Or do you just have to contact the manufacturer and/or do a bit of research re: a particular product?

    The reason we even got to wondering about all of this is because we've been feeling like failures as pet parents lately. :paperbag:

    We've been told over and over how important bovine lactoferrin is for cats with FIV and FHV, but Buddy can only tolerate it for short periods of time before it upsets his tummy and he starts puking again. However, he can tolerate the 4Life Transfer Factor Classic, "a concentrate of transfer factor molecules from cow colostrum" (it just doesn't seem to be as effective for Buddy's needs). So since we've read that beef can be a common allergen, we didn't know if that had anything to do with why he can't tolerate bovine lactoferrin, or if we just have a weird cat who likes to keep presenting us with new challenges. :wink:
     
  7. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    You are amazing pet parents. You have gone to great lengths to help Buddy and do the best you can for his health. That you are even asking the questions shows how much you want to do what is best for him. Don't doubt that for a moment.
     
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  8. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Aw, that's so sweet of you to say, and very much appreciated! :hearthrob:
     
  9. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

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    #1 - Yes, I think that is correct.
    #2 - That is the theory, but hydrolyzed proteins are relatively new in treating allergies and we don't know the longer-term impact. It's still being debated whether hydrolyzed proteins are a good idea or not.
    #3 - I would stick with one you know Buddy can tolerate.

    You really are great pet parents, and I suspect you know more about allergies and intolerances than I do because you are "living it" whereas my knowledge is all from reading/research. You're doing a great job with Buddy. He's lucky to have you. :hugs:
     
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  10. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Thanks oodles, hon!

    Sometimes we feel like we're always playing a game of Whac-a-Mole with all of Buddy's health issues. Every time we think we're finally starting to make progress re: one problem, another one pops up again...or two, or three, etc. :wink:

    But by the grace of God, Buddy is still with us, and enjoying a pretty decent quality of life despite all of his challenges. :)
     
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  11. leo12

    leo12 TCS Member Kitten

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    Our cat was allergic to chicken, and or grain, so bad that he eventually had to have his leg amputated. I researched foods that do not say chicken anywhere on the ingredient label. and only came up with two. The first one he hated, the Natural Balance Pea and Salmon he will eat, but doesn't love. Since putting him on it he no longer chews or scratches himself
     
  12. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oh, dear. I'm so sorry about what happened to your kitty. :(

    We've found quite a few canned foods that don't contain chicken, turkey, or any other poultry/fowl products. The only downside is that we had to order a lot of them without being to try them out first. Fortunately, Chewy has a customer service department that totally rocks!
     
  13. leo12

    leo12 TCS Member Kitten

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    Yes they do. Most of the foods I researched said chicken in some way or form, and I wasn't sure how he would react to them even if they only had a slight amount, so I only came up with the two that didn't have the word chicken anywhere on the ingredients
     
  14. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Just to be on the safe side, we eliminated any option that contained the words chicken, turkey, duck, guineafowl, or any kind of poultry/fowl. So far we've tried:
    • Hound & Gatos: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit
    • KOHA (LID): Kangaroo, Venison
    • Natural Balance (LID): Venison & Green Pea
    • Nature's Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein: Rabbit (The rabbit from their other product lines was way too dry and cakey for Buddy's taste)
    • Redbarn (Pate): Lamb
    • Wild Calling: Rabbit Burrow
    There are some others that we haven't tried yet for various reasons:
    • Fromm: Beef, Lamb (I need to contact the company and see where the 'broth' comes from)
    • Nature's Variety Instinct (Original): Beef, Venison
    • Newman's Own (Organic): Beef
    • Redbarn (Pate): Beef
    • Wild Calling: Alley-Gator (while it's still available), Cowabunga
    • ZiwiPeak: Beef, Lamb, Rabbit & Lamb, Venison
    There were a couple of other options, but they were higher in carbs than we'd prefer.

    Of course, I know that companies can change their formulas when we're not looking. But thus far, we haven't found any form of chicken or other kind of bird sneak into the list of ingredients in the cases of food we've purchased.
     
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  15. leo12

    leo12 TCS Member Kitten

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    I copied your list, and am going to check it out from Chewy and PetSmart. I'm guessing our local store doesn't carry many of them, but I should be able to find them online at least. Thank you so much
     
  16. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    You're very welcome!

    There are some others that I excluded because they're too carby for our cat with a history of FLUTD, were in a non-pate texture, or for some other reason which I can't remember now. :lol:

    But just thought I'd pass these options along as well in case they may be of interest to you:
    • Addiction: New Zealand Brushtail and Vegetables, New Zealand Venison & Apples
    • Dave's Pet Food: Beef & Beef Liver
    • I and Love and You (which I found at Kroger): Whascally Wabbit, Wholly Cow
    • KOHA: Kangaroo Stew, Venison Stew
    • Lotus (Just Juicy): Pork Stew, Venison Stew
    • Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free: Cowboy Cookout
    • Nature's Variety Instinct (LID): Rabbit
    • Nature's Variety Instinct (Original): Rabbit
    • Newman's Own (Organic): Beef & Liver (found this one at Kroger, too)
    • PetGuard: Beef & Barley, Venison & Rice
    If you can't find a holistic pet supply store that carries any of these brands and/or flavors, and you're nervous about ordering a whole case, you might want to consider buying single cans through an online vendor. I'm sure there are probably more, but these are the only ones I've personally looked into:

    Only Natural Pet
    Pawstruck (for Redbarn products)
    PetStuff.com
    Natural K9 Supples

    Good luck! Wish you and your kitty all the best. :redheartpump:
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  17. cheeser

    cheeser Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oopsie! @leo12, I forgot you mentioned your cat was also allergic to grain. IIRC, PetGuard isn't grain-free, but you might want to double check the ingredients for the other options.

    Oh, and in reviewing my notes, the Newman's Own Organic Beef & Liver doesn't specify the source of the liver. It just says 'organic liver', which is probably the reason I excluded it because I was too lazy to contact the company to make sure it wasn't chicken liver. :wink:
     

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