Is your pet showing unusual symptoms that could be a food allergy?
A recent study in the UK has revealed that almost 1 in 10 cats and dogs have food allergies or intolerances.
The study concluded that:
- 55% of vets are seeing growth in diet related pet illnesses
- Nearly 1 in 10 cats and dogs have food intolerances (350 vets and 1,700 pet owners were surveyed)
- Pets are now mirroring the human trend of following special diets, e.g. wheat free, dairy free etc
- Pet food products in the UK do not have to declare all the ingredients on their labels, unlike human food products, or they can use loose terms such as 'cereal or animal derivatives'
As a result of this survey a major pet insurance company is leading calls for the pet food industry to use clearer and more detailed labelling on their animal food products.
According to Allergy UK an estimated 40-45% of the human population now suffer from some form of food intolerance, and it appears now that almost 10% of pets do too.
Diagnosing food intolerance in your pet can be a difficult and expensive process because many symptoms are often intially passed off as other minor illnesses.
Yorktest Veterinary Services, Europe's leading specialist laboratory in food allergy and intolerance testing for pets reports that since launching their allergy testing service for pets in 2000, more than 12,000 pets have been tested for suspected food allergy or intolerance.
However, once diagnosis has been made it is still a difficult task for pet owners to find out just what is in the food that they are feeding their pets, due to the poor labelling requirements on pet foods.
Pets food allergy or intolerance symptoms are not dissimilar to symptoms seen in humans, with eczema, dermatitis, diarrhoea, lethargy and vomiting possibly having a food allergy basis rather than some other disease.
Some pet insurance policies will cover the cost of allergy testing for your pet, however if not then it can cost in excess of £200.
Once diagnosed there is now a wide range of veterinary prescription diets available, including hypoallergenic diets. Home-made allergen free diets, such as those followed by humans, can also be beneficial.
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