Food Allergy + IBD Symptom Relief

LTS3

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The MOS in the Jarrow product can be "icky" tasting to some cats. There are S. boulardii products that don't contain MOS.

I give the vet's secretary a heads up when I need another B12 refill and the vet just approves it. No check up needed. I only bring my cat in for a yearly check up and shots.
 
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__caitlin

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Thank you both! This is really helpful. He isn't totally stable on the new Rawz food yet so I'll see if I can try the s. boulardii in another day or so.

In the meantime, his baby scale just came in and it does actually show that he has not lost any weight since the last time I took him to the vet.

However -- I can clearly feel that he has been getting bonier. His hips, spine, and shoulders are prominent in a way that they weren't before. This happened back in the spring too when he was first diagnosed, and his boniness was a big part of what prompted me to bring him to the specialist in the first place. Yet at every juncture they've told me he hasn't lost any weight.

Have you all ever heard of this before? Even if it was mainly muscle mass he's losing, that should still present as weight loss on the scale, no?
 

daftcat75

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Thank you both! This is really helpful. He isn't totally stable on the new Rawz food yet so I'll see if I can try the s. boulardii in another day or so.

In the meantime, his baby scale just came in and it does actually show that he has not lost any weight since the last time I took him to the vet.

However -- I can clearly feel that he has been getting bonier. His hips, spine, and shoulders are prominent in a way that they weren't before. This happened back in the spring too when he was first diagnosed, and his boniness was a big part of what prompted me to bring him to the specialist in the first place. Yet at every juncture they've told me he hasn't lost any weight.

Have you all ever heard of this before? Even if it was mainly muscle mass he's losing, that should still present as weight loss on the scale, no?
I suppose cats could trade muscle for fat like people do--lose muscle mass which weighs more but gain back fat? I don't know if cats do that. But please don't take my word on this. I'm just guessing. I would ask your vet or start another thread to get fresh eyes on the question.
 
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__caitlin

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Somewhat scary update from today: since yesterday morning, he seemed to lose significant interest in the Rawz food. I know he was nauseous around that time, so I gave him Slippery Elm and by the afternoon, he was able to eat more again (but not enough to make up for the lost meals). I'd say he ended up with around 135 calories at the end of the day (he's supposed to be at 200).

This morning, he had absolutely no interest in breakfast. A couple hours passed; he's still picking at his food. I didn't want to give him Slippery Elm again as I'd just given it to him 1am the night before.

Then we had a scare -- where he started stumbling / finding it difficult to walk; he sat on the ground and started laying on his side in that very worrying way. I spent 15 mins debating whether / how to take him to the ER. Then as I'm making plans to call out of work, he ran to the litterbox and took a pretty foul-smelling poop. The poop was a little more formed than his usual diarrhea, but it wasn't hard by any means (I had thought he was constipated or maybe dehydrated).

Since then, he still hasn't wanted to eat any of the food.

Does this constitute "worse" under the food trial? He's only been getting the Rawz since Saturday. But he never used to have this much trouble with nausea before; it was only chronic diarrhea and a normal appetite. Now he seems nauseous on a regular basis and his appetite has become poor. Would you still try to stick with the rabbit for a little longer, or is this an obvious decline?

Thank you all so much as it's starting to get hard to tell what's in my head vs. what's not!
 
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__caitlin

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And sorry, I should clarify -- after his poop, he started acting normal again and seemed to be feeling better. But still no interest in eating unfortunately.
 

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I'd give it another poop or two. It could be a cleaning out or something else going on. Sometimes what presents as diarrhea was just the watery stuff that can get around the solid plug of constipation. As long as he is eating some, I wouldn't worry too much. If he stops eating altogether for more than a day or two, I would get him into the vet no matter how stressful it is on all parties. In the meantime, unless you have freeze-dried rabbit meat treats or a high quality fish oil (e.g. two single ingredient enhancements not likely to be triggers themselves or deviations from the food trial), I would resist the urge of trying to tempt him to eat with treats or another food. I like to think of a cat's gut like steering an ocean liner more than a sports car. You have to do it slowly, and it takes time. You're also likely to encounter more choppy waters before you get pointed in the right direction.
 
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__caitlin

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Thank you 🙏 He did finally eat some more at around 5pm today.... and then promptly threw it up 2 hours later.

It’s hard not to believe this isn’t worse and that I shouldn’t take him off the rabbit protein, but I’ll try for a few more days and maybe will end up bringing him to the vet next week to get a steroid shot after all.
 

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Thank you 🙏 He did finally eat some more at around 5pm today.... and then promptly threw it up 2 hours later.

It’s hard not to believe this isn’t worse and that I shouldn’t take him off the rabbit protein, but I’ll try for a few more days and maybe will end up bringing him to the vet next week to get a steroid shot after all.
Whenever Krista threw up, her next meal was cut in half to increase her chances of keeping it down. Often she would disappear under the bookcase to digest and sometimes ride out discomfort. And sometimes not. Her IBD presented as more vomiting than diarrhea. Her lymphoma was the opposite. Usually Krista would tell me one way or another if she was ready for the second half of that meal.

See if you can get him through the week (preferably two) before trying a new protein. As far as I'm thinking, this is all just a single incident. The vomiting was probably from rebound eating. He probably ate more than his stomach was or gut was ready for after fasting from the first incident. If he keeps vomiting and/or having poop issues, then yeah, at some point, enough is enough. At least give it another poop or two and maybe cut his portions back a little. It's better he eats half the calories he needs and keeps them down than vomits up all the calories.

It's also possible or even likely that the macros (% protein/%fat/%carbs) are different with this food than his last. If you didn't do a slow transition mixing old food with new over a week or so, then this could be his butt and gut reacting to a new diet (even though they are both rabbit.)
 
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__caitlin

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Thank you 🙏 and so sad to hear about what Krista went through. But it sounds like she was really lucky to have you by her side during all of that.

Today was a pretty bad day. I gave him slippery elm at 1am last night. Then he actually ate a bit (maybe 30-40 calories) at 6am — and hasn’t wanted to touch any food since then. The most I could get him to eat was a little sauce. Then this evening the neighbors were doing fireworks and both cats were scared and hiding all night.

It’s now 11pm and he hasn’t eaten anything and I’m sure he’s very nauseous again. :(
 

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Does the slippery elm work for him? What happens if you skip a day or two? Sometimes the medicine doesn’t quite help like we expect it to. Krista never liked taking slippery elm and I didn’t force it on her. We tried Cerenia. That one I did force on her a few times. And while it seemed to help with her nausea, it also took away her appetite. 🤦🏼‍♂️ Have you tried the Cerenia pills? I think you said you go to the vet for the shot. If the pills work for him, and don’t take away his appetite, you can get it compounded to a flavored oil or transdermal gel.

Is he taking any other medicine?

Any other butt or gut incidents?
 
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__caitlin

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The slippery elm seems to work great on him within the first couple hours after he takes it! That’s why I’ve been giving it. But have been trying to avoid giving it more than 2-3 times per day, especially because he’s also on 2x/day thyroid meds and the timing becomes complicated.

What’s been happening is that he’ll eat right in the aftermath of getting a dose of slippery elm, and then will proceed to be nauseous / lose his appetite starting there. Over the past 3 days, the time it’s taken him to lose his appetite has gone down to only a couple hours - 2 days ago, he was willing to eat for up to 8-10 hrs after the slippery elm; today he ate at 6am and didn’t want anything else for the whole day.

And nope, no other activity today. He didn’t throw up (but I gave him a small dose of slippery elm midday), but hasn’t pooped either or anything.

I did end up making him an appt for tomorrow to get a shot and recheck! I have a feeling this vet doesn’t buy into anything holistic though so I’m a bit worried as I think she’s most likely going to try to pressure me back into prescription food. But we’ll see what happens and hopefully the steroids will help if nothing else.
 
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__caitlin

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Hey, quick update: I took him back on Friday. His ultrasound shows that the inflammation is much more advanced (of course), baseline blood panel normal, still waiting on the T4 and GI panel results.

She prescribed him budesonide, but the meds probably aren’t going to come until Tuesday. In the meantime, she gave him a dexamethasone shot — and the results were instant, like night and day — at least, for the next 24 hours. That night he was a totally different cat: energetic, playful, healthy appetite, like nothing had ever happened.

But the next day, as the steroids were wearing off, his appetite completely dissipated again. He only threw up once (bile) after not eating for awhile, but since then has just been eating small bites of food here and there (maybe 5-10 cal) every few hours. Occasionally I will syringe about 6ml of water mixed with food into his mouth to try and help with the dehydration (he doesn't mind syringing too much).

The vet said to see how he does on rabbit + budesonide for a couple weeks, and if not great, then I can change the protein.

I have a few questions for you all as I’m thinking about next steps:
  1. Assuming he responds well to the steroids, how do food trials work while on steroids? How do you tell if the cat is intolerant to the food while they're actively on steroids? Do you just have to rely on decreasing the steroid dosage and seeing if the symptoms come back?

  2. Really torn on what protein to change to if I do end up having to change it. He's lost so much weight (5% of his body weight between July and now) that I would really prefer to change it to venison, as that's a protein I know he definitely hasn't had before. However, Rawz doesn't make venison; but he has had a lot of turkey and duck already.
    1. Are there any viable recs for pure venison canned food? I looked on the cat food chart, and all the options appear to either have a gumming agent or vegetables in them.
I feel like I'm playing russian roulette between all these ingredients: rabbit, turkey/duck, venison, carrots, agar agar, etc. -- like I have to guess the next one correctly and it doesn't feel like he can afford to get any skinnier. Him continually not eating also interferes with my ability to assess lymphoma -- because if he's not even maintaining proper calories to begin with, how can I know if the weight loss is from that or cancer?

Hopefully that all makes sense! I've been pretty sleep deprived and burnt out over the past month or so with all of this going on so might be losing my mind a bit!
 

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Steroids help with inflammation. A lot. But if the food isn’t right, the cat will still be symptomatic through/despite the steroids. Not as much as without the steroids though. The goal with steroids and probably the reason why your vet is trying budenoside before prednisilone is that you want to find the lowest effective dose. Sometimes vets will blast the cat with a high dose for a short period of time just to hit the reset button and then taper the dose off to something easier and more sustainable. The one thing you don’t want to do is set the dose high and leave it there. Steroids are tough on a cat. But budesonide is easier than pred. It’s more local than systemic. But yeah. I’m good with the vet rec of giving the budesonide and rabbit a chance before changing proteins.

If you need to change proteins, I would try turkey first. You don’t know if it was the turkey or something else in the other brands’ turkey recipe that your cat was reacting to. Trying with a clean recipe like Rawz will confirm it one way or another whether turkey is to blame. You can try the same with duck recipe.

Some cats like red meat and some don’t. Krista was never interested in venison even when I offered her a bit of both raw and cooked venison burger patty. She loved raw rabbit or turkey so it wasn’t the prep that was the problem. I don’t have a canned venison recommendation. I may have tried Feline Naturals or Ziwi Peak and Krista wasn’t interested in either.
 

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Because steroids compliance is very important (you don’t want to miss doses or start/stop abruptly), you may want to consider compounding the budesonide. Try it first however the vet prescribed it and make sure it will work for him. Then you can discuss with your vet the possibility of calling in the prescription into a compounding pharmacy for a more appealing or easier to give preparation like a flavored oil or gel.

Budesonide Medication & Information for Animals
 

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Thank you so much for all your help. I just tried a couple days of feeding them the Rawz rabbit food -- so far it doesn't seem to have changed anything (he still has diarrhea and struggles with nausea) -- but it also doesn't seem to have made things worse, so we'll see.

Quick question: isn't pumpkin another potential allergen? Is it okay to combo feed them the rabbit along with rabbit + pumpkin?

What about corn starch in food, do you think it can trigger an allergy. My ibd kitty is on ZD wet food and it is causing diarrhea. I stopped ZD for a few weeks because she had explosive diarrhea despite my vet being against it. I give her ZD today and the watery poop returned. She ate chicken, pork, lamb, rabbit, before and she had no diarrhea. However, something is triggering inflammation for her to have slow motility and had 2 hairball obstructions.

I don't think hydrolyzed chicken liver is causing diarrhea, but rather something else in the food. My suspect is corn starch found in ZD.
 

daftcat75

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What about corn starch in food, do you think it can trigger an allergy. My ibd kitty is on ZD wet food and it is causing diarrhea. I stopped ZD for a few weeks because she had explosive diarrhea despite my vet being against it. I give her ZD today and the watery poop returned. She ate chicken, pork, lamb, rabbit, before and she had no diarrhea. However, something is triggering inflammation for her to have slow motility and had 2 hairball obstructions.

I don't think hydrolyzed chicken liver is causing diarrhea, but rather something else in the food. My suspect is corn starch found in ZD.
It could be the liver even though it’s hydrolyzed. Too much organ meat can cause soft stools in even healthy cats. It could also be the added soybean oil. If you suspect the corn starch, that is an easy one to test. If you have a food she doesn’t have soft stools with, add a pinch of corn starch to it and see how the next poop goes. Corn starch will thicken up a wet food so you may have to add extra water. Your cat may also not go for the changed food as cats are notorious divas. 🤦🏼‍♂️😹
 
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__caitlin

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Because steroids compliance is very important (you don’t want to miss doses or start/stop abruptly), you may want to consider compounding the budesonide. Try it first however the vet prescribed it and make sure it will work for him. Then you can discuss with your vet the possibility of calling in the prescription into a compounding pharmacy for a more appealing or easier to give preparation like a flavored oil or gel.

Budesonide Medication & Information for Animals
Thank you!! Actually, I believe they went straight to prescribing the compounded oral suspension version -- which is why I still don't have the medication yet (waiting for it to be delivered hopefully tomorrow). I really hope it works because he is at 30-70 calories per day now, at best, and getting skinnier every day. :(

I was also able to confirm last week that, alas, Max is one of those divas that does not like changes to his food. He wouldn't eat with the s.boulardii probiotic and has also started refusing all pureed food. He only wants to lick the sauce off the wet food. Hoping his appetite will return soon this week.
 

Catmom1234567890

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It could be the liver even though it’s hydrolyzed. Too much organ meat can cause soft stools in even healthy cats. It could also be the added soybean oil. If you suspect the corn starch, that is an easy one to test. If you have a food she doesn’t have soft stools with, add a pinch of corn starch to it and see how the next poop goes. Corn starch will thicken up a wet food so you may have to add extra water. Your cat may also not go for the changed food as cats are notorious divas. 🤦🏼‍♂️😹
The ZD texture is like rubbery gelatinous dough. I don't see how this would be healthy hydrolyzed or not. My vet suggested Blue Buffalo hydrolyzed wet food which is made up of salmon flavored hydrolyzed soy protein😩. I may have to look for a new vet
 

daftcat75

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The ZD texture is like rubbery gelatinous dough. I don't see how this would be healthy hydrolyzed or not. My vet suggested Blue Buffalo hydrolyzed wet food which is made up of salmon flavored hydrolyzed soy protein😩. I may have to look for a new vet
It's liver and oil. It's rubbery because the cornstarch is needed to keep that slimy, oily mess together. That's gross. The powdered cellulose also in that recipe may very well be sawdust depending on the sourcing and quality of their ingredients. 🤦‍♂️

I see vets as resources for tests and meds. But not food! I haven't ever seen a prescription food and thought, "yeah, that's a good recipe. That's a good food." They all seem like franken-foods to me, and they all seem to have head-scratcher ingredients or formulas.

Cat food should not be this hard. It's meat, moisture, organs, and supplements. Hopefully in that order. Ideally your meat and organs will be the same, single protein e.g. turkey meat with turkey liver and no hidden chicken or fish ingredients. Sometimes organ meats are listed as "by-products." This isn't a bad word. The only trouble with meat or poultry by-products is that the protein source is vague by definition. Meat can refer to mammals including cows, sheep, lamb, venison, and pork. While poultry can refer to any number of birds, but you can bet your last dollar that chicken will be in that mix. Natural flavors is another potential hidden source of a forbidden protein.

Often a thickener or a gum is needed. Guar gum is perhaps the most benign. Carageenan and agar agar are perhaps the most irritating. I'm not sure where cassia and locust bean gum fall because these are often combined with other gums. Xanthan gum makes smooth foods smooth. It can also make poops smooth to those who are sensitive to it. Mousse in, mousse out. Rawz uses fenugreek seeds as a binder. I have no evidence from Krista or any number of cats I recommend Rawz to of adverse reactions to fenugreek seeds.

I can't recommend Rawz enough. Their single protein pates are truly single protein. The liver matches the meat. And if there are natural flavors, their own faq acknowledges this dilemma and assures you that any protein in the natural flavor will match the protein on the label. Even if you think you have already crossed a protein off his list, try it in Rawz first. It may be some other ingredient in the other brand's food that caused him so much grief. I recommend trying turkey or rabbit first. Rabbit because very few cats have issues with rabbit. But turkey because rabbit is like a last stop. If you blow past rabbit, where next? I do recommend trying turkey because often that's novel enough--especially with a clean recipe like Rawz. But also because Rawz can be subject to shortages, turkey is one that seems to be available more often when the others are not.
 
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Catmom1234567890

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It's liver and oil. It's rubbery because the cornstarch is needed to keep that slimy, oily mess together. That's gross. The powdered cellulose also in that recipe may very well be sawdust depending on the sourcing and quality of their ingredients. 🤦‍♂️

I see vets as resources for tests and meds. But not food! I haven't ever seen a prescription food and thought, "yeah, that's a good recipe. That's a good food." They all seem like franken-foods to me, and they all seem to have head-scratcher ingredients or formulas.

Cat food should not be this hard. It's meat, moisture, organs, and supplements. Hopefully in that order. Ideally your meat and organs will be the same, single protein e.g. turkey meat with turkey liver and no hidden chicken or fish ingredients. Sometimes organ meats are listed as "by-products." This isn't a bad word. The only trouble with meat or poultry by-products is that the protein source is vague by definition. Meat can refer to mammals including cows, sheep, lamb, venison, and pork. While poultry can refer to any number of birds, but you can bet your last dollar that chicken will be in that mix. Natural flavors is another potential hidden source of a forbidden protein.

Often a thickener or a gum is needed for a pate food vs a shredded texture. Guar gum is perhaps the most benign. Carageenan and agar agar are perhaps the most irritating. I'm not sure where cassia and locust bean gum fall because these are often combined with other gums. Xanthan gum makes smooth foods smooth. It can also make poops smooth to those who are sensitive to it. Mousse in, mousse out. Rawz uses fenugreek seeds as a binder. I have no evidence from Krista or any number of cats I recommend Rawz to of adverse reactions to fenugreek seeds.

I can't recommend Rawz enough. Their single protein pates are truly single protein. The liver matches the meat. And if there are natural flavors, their own faq acknowledges this dilemma and assures you that any protein in the natural flavor will match the protein on the label. Even if you think you have already crossed a protein off his list, try it in Rawz first. It may be some other ingredient in the other brand's food that caused him so much grief. I recommend trying turkey or rabbit first. Rabbit because very few cats have issues with rabbit. But turkey because rabbit is like a last stop. If you blow past rabbit, where next? I do recommend trying turkey because often that's novel enough--especially with a clean recipe like Rawz. But also because Rawz can be subject to shortages, turkey is one that seems to be available more often when the others are not.
Thank you so very much. I 100% agree with you. Since my kitty had lamb and rabbit prior to IBD, I want to see how she responds to duck. Fortunately, Rawz has duck. However, I'm concerned because of added salmon oil. Many IBD parents told me to stay away from fish. I don't know if fish oil can trigger inflammation. I did go ahead and purchase Rawz duck because of supply chain issue.
 
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