A Sensitive Issue

Does your cat need a hypoallergenic diet?

By Ramona D. Marek

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CATFANCY

We love our cats, and one of the most basic, important and difficult choices we make is choosing an appropriate cat food for them. After hours of research, reading food labels and talking with our veterinarian, we finally choose a food that fulfills both our philosophical beliefs and the nutritional requirements for our obligate carnivores. But some cats (and dogs, too) experience an adverse reaction or hypersensitivity to certain food, even if they have eaten it for months or years, and require a change to a hypoallergenic diet. Common conditions requiring a hypoallergenic diet are food allergy, food intolerance or medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

"There is no official regulatory definition for 'hypoallergenic diet,'" says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, American College of Veterinary Nutrition Diplomate and assistant professor of Clinical Nutrition at William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at University of California, Davis. "But it is used to describe diets that are less likely to evoke an inappropriate response by the immune system (although not all adverse food responses involve the immunes system)."

**Get the November 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**

 

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