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Length of the trial and food challenge
The optimum length is 8 weeks. Using faecal consistency and pruritus scores can help follow up – GIT signs respond quickly, followed by acute and then chronic
skin lesions. If the GIT signs haven’t resolved in 2-3 weeks consider compliance problems or another food. Resolution of the GIT signs can encourage owners to keep going.
A food challenge will show cause and effect. Animals with AFRs should relapse within 14 days. However, fear of relapse can make owners reluctant to challenge. It is helpful to identify the offending foods using sequential challenges. However, many owners just test a few foods and treats.
Food trials in cats
Feline food trials are more difficult. Cats may prefer variety and there is a risk of hepatic lipidosis if they are starved for more than a few days. Many cats will also access food from other animals in the home or outdoors, and it can be difficult to keep an outdoor cat indoors for a long period. Most cats won’t accept carbohydrate so all protein diets may be necessary. Feline diets must also have adequate amounts of taurine and essential fatty acids, although simple home-cooked diets for 6-8 weeks should be fine for healthy adults.
An Urban Experience

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