Adverse food reactions (AFR) encompass food intolerances as well as immunologically mediated hypersensitivities (food allergies). The specific immune mechanisms involved in food allergies are not clearly understood, but it is believed that most are type I- or IgE-mediated. There is also evidence to suggest that type II and type IV hypersensitivity reactions are involved.
Prevalence of food allergy
Food allergy is a relatively common disease. Studies show that 20–25% of dogs have allergic skin disease. It is also estimated to occur in around 33% of dogs with atopic dermatitis. There is a greater incidence in dogs under 1 year of age and above 6 years. Labrador Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers, Boxers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Pugs are the predisposed breeds.
The most common symptoms are dermatological or gastrointestinal (or a combination of both). Dermatological signs are varied, and often indistinguishable from those associated with atopic dermatitis. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, abdominal discomfort, flatulence and frequent defecation (more than three times a day).
The most common food allergens that affect dogs seem to be beef, chicken, egg, milk, wheat, soy and corn, which are also common ingredients in many commercial foods. In order to diagnose food allergy, a food elimination trial should be performed.
Next+ Food Reactivity Test
Next+ Food Reactivity Test can give guidance for choosing suitable ingredients for an elimination diet. – Read more about Next+ Food Reactivity test or order here.