Ask the Vegan Vet
Question from Lisa M:
I have changed my dogs over to the Vegan diet. I’m worried about my 10 year old cat however, she has so many allergies… to most litter, and any time she gets outside, she loses her hair. Any suggestions? Thank you so much, and Thank you for being a Vegan Vet!
Skin allergies are common and can be very frustrating in our feline friends. In general, allergies are divided into 3 categories: environmental, food, and flea. If you are lucky, you can determine the specific allergy that your cat has and then eliminate the allergen from her/his environment. Unfortunately, most cats have multiple allergies and it can be difficult to determine the allergens and completely remove them from your cats environment. Usually, these cats have to be treated symptomatically addressing potentially multiple sources of allergens. So for example, you may need to treat your cat for fleas, with a hypoallergenic diet and s/he still may need occasional visits to your veterinarian for an anti-inflammatory injection.
For cats who go outside (and also indoor cats) fleas are always a potential cause for skin allergies. Fleas can be very difficult to find on cats so, even if you are not seeing fleas, I would recommend routine effective flea control at least in the warm months of the year if not all year round. If the skin condition worsens when s/he goes outside, I would not allow her/him outside if at all possible. Also, if you think your litter is compounding the condition, you could try a lower dust litter or an entirely different type of litter. Yet, be careful when changing litter as many cats are very picky about what type of litter they will use and can start eliminating outside of their litter box.
As you can see, controlling skin allergies in kitties can be complicated. The key is a good relationship with your veterinarian to be sure that you have the correct diagnosis and find the right individualized treatment for your cat.
The vegan veterinarian,
Christopher Patterson, DVM
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