VMX 2020—Selecting an elimination diet

January 17, 2020

When you suspect food allergy in a patient, performing an elimination diet trial is easier said than done. A veterinary dermatologist offers insight into how she selects a diet for her patients.

Itchy and scratching veterinary patients, and those with frequent ear infections or poor coat quality, may be suffering from a food allergy. But definitively diagnosing a cutaneous adverse food reaction in dogs and cats remains a challenge, and the only way to an accurate diagnosis is to perform an elimination diet trial.

Jennifer Schissler, DVM, MS, DACVD, who lectured on several dermatology topics this weekend at the Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) in Orlando, Fla., says when it comes to elimination diets, Royal Canin's Canine Ultamino Dry Dog Food, an ultra-hydrolyzed diet, is excellent.

"The hydrolysis is such that it's down to very small short-chain or single amino acids. When dogs are chicken allergic, they actually don't react when they eat Ultamino," she says, noting that this diet should work in a vast number of patients with food allergies.

Once you've decided which novel protein is appropriate for the test and you've prescribed the elimination diet, you'll then need to counsel the owner on what to avoid feeding, and that includes treats and protein-based supplements.

Although there is no cure for food allergy, identifying—and eliminating—the culprit protein(s) or carbohydrate(s) will improve the pet's quality of life and reduce or prevent skin and ear problems in the future. Watch the video below for more of Dr. Shissler's diet trial product recommendations.