Adverse Food Reactions (AFR) include both food allergies and food intolerances. They can present as pruritic skin disease, ear disease and/or as a gastrointestinal issue.
Elimination diet trials are the only accepted method to reach a definitive diagnosis of an AFR, including food allergy. However, the role of food-specific IgE and IgG antibodies in the diagnostic work-up of AFRs is now increasingly accepted.
Strictly adhering to an elimination diet for the entire duration of the trial is often extremely challenging for owners. In addition, truly novel diets can be hard to identify, and research has shown that even highly hydrolysed diets can evoke a hypersensitivity response.1
IgE and IgG tests can be used to:
It’s estimated that around 33% of dogs with atopic dermatitis will have concurrent adverse food reactions.3
Dogs suffering adverse food reactions may present with diarrhoea, vomiting, increased frequency of defecation, softer stools and weight loss. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not be observed alongside pruritic skin disease.
Predisposed breeds include the Boxer, German Shepherd Dog, Pug, Rhodesian Ridgeback and West Highland White Terrier.4
It’s estimated that around 13% of cats with atopic dermatitis will have concurrent adverse food reactions.5
Cats suffering adverse food reactions may present with diarrhoea, vomiting and in some cases inflammatory bowel disease (eosinophilic enteritis). Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not be observed alongside pruritic skin disease.
Adverse food reactions are seen most frequently in Birman and Siamese breeds.6
Although less is understood about adverse food reactions in horses than in other species, gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhoea/loose stools, chronic colic and long-term weight loss are most commonly reported which may or may not be observed alongside skin signs.