« on: Sep 12, 2017, 12:50 »
Apologies for late post Meg.. Yes, after I had his blood tested, they kept some of the serum and tested 11 of my selected cat foods against his serum. The foods tested were a variety of brands - wet and dry - bought directly from the pet shops. They included various products made by OptimaNova, Nature's Menu, Acana, James Wellbeloved, Applaws, Orijen and Catz Finefood.
(By the way - have you looked at CLEANLABELPROJECT.ORG? Shocking results for Acana and Orijen!!).
Anyway, sadly the blood results didn't help at all. He reacted very badly to foods the report said were ok.. so I was forced to return to food trials.
Since then, we hit rock bottom. Feeding a single type of protein is not practical and very depressing. He wouldn't eat and lost weight.. and there is another cat in the house who was eating normally (hidden behind closed doors) which upset him terribly because he could smell her food. Plus I had to guard them both at mealtimes to make sure their meals were kept separate. (This is very time-consuming and almost impossible for one person, especially because they eat in several small doses!)
He started looking ill so I put him back on commercial food, for a complete, balanced meal. I would feed him a particular brand until he started reacting.. and then replace it with another. As I have been doing this for many months already, I have a good feel for what works and what doesn't.
Although the blood tests confirmed he suffers from environmental allergies which may complicate things, the food reactions are still pretty obvious. When he reacts to food, it usually start a few hours after eating.. he starts scratching, stops just long enough to rest his legs, then carries on scratching, all the time. Sometimes he scratches harder and harder in the same area, until I hear it go 'gooey'. And many times he gets almost frantic.. on those occasions especially, I stay awake with him at night and brush him for hours, which makes him feel a little better. I am so grateful when he falls asleep and gets some rest.
It is difficult to apply creams until the hair thins enough to reach the skin.. so I find the Vet Gold and cortisone creams don't help that much. I keep applying Allerderm Spot-On but don't know how much it helps anymore; (and it gets very expensive to use every few days!) He also hates having it applied and runs away from me when he sees it.
Then at one stage, nothing was working. He was scratching all the time and none of the foods seemed to help. I didn't know what to do at mealtimes. On many occasions I boiled him some cod - which he liked and looked forward to! And the itching subsided a little. On other occasions, I reluctantly fed him the prescription foods which upset his stomach.. only because I was desperate and didn't know what else to give him. (Actually there were a few foods that were ok for the first week or two - but then made him sick after continued feeding. His problems are 'inside and outside').
He scratched the underside of his chin and back of his head so much, it was often scabby and bleeding.. He had another cortisone shot when things got really bad.
I dreaded mealtimes. What do you feed your pet when every food appears to make him poorly? It was the saddest time of day. He always looked hopeful for something nice to eat, but he didn't like any of the foods I thought might help him, and he often walked away hungry. He was regularly disappointed, and I was completely heartbroken.
So I followed your suggestion and bought the NUTRISCAN test. I sent his saliva sample to HEMOPET in California for intolerance testing and got the results a few weeks later..
The results were negative for everything - except an 'intermediate reaction' to whitefish!!
The report said to avoid WHITEFISH, HERRING, SARDINE, FISH OILS (excluding salmon and salmon oils) and CANOLA OIL. Later, I found out I should also avoid TUNA, MACKEREL and TROUT.
So - just like the last time - I went rushing out and bought cat foods which were 'appropriate', given these new guidelines. But unfortunately he had another very bad reaction, to a food I thought would make him better. It was THRIVE CHICKEN & TURKEY; (ingredients: Chicken breast (70%), Chicken stock, Turkey (5%), Sunflower oil, Vitamins & Minerals).
I suspected sunflower oil as the culprit because the other ingredients looked ok (according to both NutriScan and the blood tests). So I checked other foods that made him sick in the past. These included:
Catz Finefood Kangaroo (which contains BORAGE OIL)
Little Big Paws Chicken and Turkey (which contains SUNFLOWER OIL)
Canagan pouches (which contains SAFFLOWER OIL)
Dr. Jean Dodds at NutriScan/Hemopet was kind enough to help me with a consultation and agreed that oils could be a problem. Now we believe he should avoid food containing any fish oils (including salmon oil), vegetable oils or plant oils. (As well as whitefish, herring, sardine, tuna, mackerel and trout!)
I have been hunting for foods that meet this criteria and have found these ones:
AATU: CHICKEN & QUAIL, CHICKEN & PHEASANT, TURKEY & GOOSE, DUCK & CHICKEN LIVER;
LILY'S KITCHEN: ORGANIC BEEF DINNER FOR CATS;
NATURE'S MENU: CHICKEN WITH TURKEY / BEEF WITH CHICKEN / CHICKEN & GOOSE (and other Country Hunter pouches);
ZIWIPEAK BEEF & ZIWIPEAK LAMB.
I can only find one company who make a suitable kibble.. (If you know any others, please let me know!):
WAINWRIGHTS: GRAIN-FREE TURKEY / TURKEY & RICE
He won't eat Nature's Menu, I have been trying to feed it to him for weeks.. it is such a pity. But fortunately he likes ZiwiPeak (although my other cat won't eat it!) and I have a few AATU and LILY'S KITCHEN samples coming in the post.
After two years of misery, I think we have finally made some progress. The NutriScan test was the best thing I have done so far.. thank you for the recommendation!
He has been eating ZiwiPeak for a couple of days now - and enjoying his meals, which is such a relief to see. Although he is still scratching, it doesn't seem too bad at the moment and I am cautiously optimistic. I'll keep him on one food only for a few weeks, monitor his progress and see how we go.
Of course it doesn't help that he just had an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injection, which may be clouding the picture. He developed a large lump on the side of his face, which the vet thinks is an abscess; (probably from scratching). Although I can't see any cut or scab.. it is just a raised lump, almost the size of a golf ball, covered with fur with no redness. I am very worried, but hopefully it'll go away soon. The poor boy has been through enough!