A few posts ago I shared how Raven’s furs have been growing back since we figured out she was allergic to chicken & fish and put her on a new diet. I wanted to share a few more thoughts about managing Raven’s food allergies.
Her food & treats
We had to find a food that:
- Is grain-free, no chicken, no fish, no fish oil.
- Raven will eat (she’s not an adventurous eater).
- Didn’t give her diarrhea or constipation.
Raven eats two flavors of Nature’s Variety Pride by Instinct (Ritzy’s Rabbit and Lovebug’s Lamb). I recently noticed that both flavors contain egg (chicken), but it doesn’t seem to aggravate her allergies.
We’ll be in trouble if the manufacturer changes the formula or discontinues this food. I have a 3 month supply and I plan to build up a 6-9 month supply. This food costs slightly more than what I used to feed her, but it’s well worth the cost to keep her healthy and off medications.
Raven isn’t interested in treats but we occasionally give her a few licks of butter or let her lick the empty ice cream bowl.
Fatty acid supplements are believed to support the immune system and calm skin irritation. Giving Raven veterinary fatty acid supplements that were fish oil based was how we figured out she was reacting to fish.
Probiotics are commonly used to support a healthy digestive system. FortiFlora is often recommended to help stop diarrhea, and our vet recommended it when a prescription low-allergen food caused terrible diarrhea. Since it’s also a fantastic appetite stimulant, we continued using it to entice Raven to eat her new canned foods. A couple weeks into her new diet she was still reacting to something and by eliminating FortiFlora, her itching was greatly reduced. With a little research I found that FortiFlora is not recommended for pets who have food allergies. It contains animal digest, which is animal tissues that have been broken down using enzymes or chemicals. There are other probiotics such as Benebac and Proviable that do not contain animal proteins. Both are vegetable oil based and they contain more types of bacteria, so we prefer them anyway.
Exposure to other foods in the house
We eat a lot of chicken so we’re careful to tidy up the kitchen counters before we go to the dining room to eat. I doubt she’d bite into any chicken since she doesn’t like chunky things and I have to puree her canned food in the food processor! But she might step in a bit of dripped juice and then lick it from her paw, so we cover any food and wipe all the counters before leaving the kitchen unattended.
The food we feed our fish is made of fish meal. It comes in tiny granules that occasionally spill and we have to be careful that she doesn’t find any. All the fish tanks have covers, so she’s unable to drink fish tank water. The fish are chunky, so she wouldn’t eat them!
Long, frustrating road
It took about 18 months to find the solution to her food allergies, and since then, everything has gone very well.
But we had a few mishaps along the way.
- Medications to control itching and calm her immune system were only somewhat effective and are not optimal for long-term use.
- She had adverse reactions to two flea medications.
- Intolerance to some foods (allergy or Nasty diarrhea).
- Reactions to ingredients in recommended supplements.
- Refusal to eat her new food unless I puree the pea-sized pieces!
- Reluctance to take a photo for this post! 😉
She’s always interested in sitting on something that has moved, but not today. I had to bribe her with a plate of food to stay still long enough for the top photo, and you can tell she’s not amused.