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Could my cat's sore be a food allergy?

Ever see a sore on your cat and wonder what’s going on? If you find a spot without fur that looks inflamed, often round and on the back between the shoulder blades, sometimes oozing serum, you are likely seeing some kind of allergic reaction. Before concluding whether it is from a cat food allergy, however, your veterinarian may be able to rule out a couple of other options.

Inflammatory or auto-immune condition

Anti-inflammatory medication — steroids such as prednisolone, a synthetic version of cortisone — often heal the sore. Many vets like to prescribe tablets instead of a steroid shot, for safety. If steroids don’t help your cat’s sore, you can rule out an inflammatory or an auto-immune condition seems unlikely.

Bacterial infection

Open sores can develop secondary bacterial infections. If antibiotics resolve the cat sore, bacterial infection caused the response and your cat should be better.

Flea allergy

Cat flea allergy causes scabs on cat skin but typically won’t cause a persistent open sore. Try a flea treatment and if the sores heal on your cats, scratch off flea allergy as the source.

You can discover cat food allergy by observing any of several reactions. A persistent sore is one, although rare. The following can help you best assess whether your cat has a food allergy.

  • Begin feeding a hypoallergenic diet to your cat. A hypoallergenic diet contains a protein source that your cat’s never had, such as rabbit, venison or duck. (Most vets carry prescription diets designed for this purpose.)
  • Feed this food, and ONLY this diet, for up to 10 weeks, before concluding whether food allergy is the culprit.
  • Alternatively, opt for a skin biopsy. This simple procedure will very likely reveal the diagnosis.
  • Another option would be to consult with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. Your veterinarian can direct you to an appropriate referral center.

All statements and opinions in "Could My Cat's Sore Be a Food Allergy?" are the sole opinions of the I-5 Publishing, publishers of Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy publications and not those of CareCredit. The content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual medical provider with respect to any professional advice presented. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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