A Case Study in Food Allergy

A Case Study in Food Allergy

A Case Study in Food Allergy

Fielding D. O’Niell, DVM, MS

A four year-old Golden Retriever named Jack presented for a second opinion. Jack had a two year history of non-seasonal severe inflammation of his face, ears and paws. His paws were so swollen he could barley walk. Antibiotics and ear drops cleared up his secondary infections but steroids failed to relieve the severe inflammation.

A presumptive diagnosis of Food Allergy was made based on Jack's clinical history, his breed, the distribution of lesions and the lack of steroid response. Jack was placed on a STRICT veterinary diet of duck and sweet potato. Four weeks later, for the first time in two years, Jack was completely symptom-free and romping like Goldens are meant to do. Eight months later his symptoms returned.

Jack's owners had been very strict with his hypoallergenic diet. He was not allowed any treats, rawhides or tablescraps. In fact, Jack's owners were so anal retentive that they filled his water bowl with Distilled Water.
An intensive investigation was launched to identify the source of his dieatary violation. The neighborhood was canvassed, delivery men were interrogated, the pet sitter was water boarded; all to no avail.

Early one morning, Jack's owners made an interesting discovery. It seems that Jack had developed a penchant for "petite dejeuner" consisting of the house cat's feces served on a fresh bed of lighted tossed, non-scented cat litter, liberally sprinkled with a balsamic vinaigrette. Undigested protein in the cat scat was determined to be the source of his allergic reaction. It also explained the owners prior concerns regarding the cat's lack of stool production.

All methods of behavior modification (BM) were employed to curb Jack's "eating disorder", but coprophagia is notoriously resistant to BM. Behavioral counselors were called in, but Jack resisted hypnosis, declined the 12-step program and refused all forms of intervention. As a last resort, the cat was placed on a duck-based hypoallergenic diet rendering her delicious little truffles hypoallergenic.

​​​​​​​To this day, Jack remains symptom-free, all the while enjoying his epicurean delights. The recycled litter box is environmentally friendly and thanks to Jack, the world is now a slightly better place in which to live.

A Case of Food Allergy with Life-Threatening Complications

A nine year-old Lab named jackson presented for a second opinion. He had all the classic signs of food allergy but despite a strict hypoallergenic diet, his condition deteriorated. The skin condition became so severe we began to suspect cancer, but fortunately, a biopsy ruled that out. A skin culture did, however, reveal that Jackson had MRSA, a dangerous drug-resistant Staph infection. This particular strain was resistant to every antibiotic except Chloramphenicol which is difficult to find due to a rare but fatal side affect in humans who merely touch the pills. We found a compounding pharmacy to supply the drug and instructed Jackson's family to wear gloves when handling the medication.

After three months, the MRSA infection finally responded to treatment. Since Jackson was starting to show side-effects, the Chloramphenicol was discontinued but then.... Jackson suffered a relapse. A repeat skin culture indicated that we had cured the MRSA but now Jackson had another multi-drug resistant infection called Pseudomonas. He just couldn't get a break! This new resistant infection was only sensitive to two antibiotics: Cipro, which you may remember from the days of weaponized Anthrax, and Marbofloxacin which is much more espensive. Jackson didn't respond to Cipro, but after eight weeks on Marbofloxacin, he's finally back to normal. We're going four more weeks on the antibiotic to avoid another relapse.