Food Sensitivities in Humans, Canines and Felines

Posted on February 13th, 2017

Today’s humans, dogs and cats are facing a wide variety of food problems that can cause food intolerances and food allergies.

Both conditions vary from one another, but the clinical signs and symptoms are very similar.


Wikipedia defines a food intolerance as a non-allergic sensitivity or intolerance that does not occur from an immune imbalance.

This type of intolerance or sensitivity may be caused by medications, nutritional supplements, gastro intestinal reactions, toxins and metabolic imbalances and the end effect comes from an abnormal physiological response to something ingested.


Wikipedia defines food allergies as an adverse immune response to a food protein.

It is thought, when a food is ingested and cleaved by the exocrine pancreatic enzyme trypsin, a partial protein, called a hapten, can join that food protein, cause that food to appear as a foreign substance, and have the immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is produced by the B lymphocyte, react to this altered food antigen, causing a food allergy reaction to occur.

My clinical studies in animals, have indicated that immunoglobulin A (IgA), performs this same protective function.


Often these non-allergic intolerances will be mistaken for food allergies.

NOTE: Academically trying to separate food intolerances from food allergies for the text of this article clinically, may not be that important for you to understand, because the clinical effects of both food intolerances and food allergies are similar, and trying to understand the difference may be very confusing for the patient and for the pet owner.

Food intolerances and food allergies may both adversely affect various systems of the patient’s body.


  • Rashes and inflammations of the skin
  • Hives
  • Edema (Abnormal swelling with in the skin, due to excess amount of serum)
  • Puritis (Itchy skin)
  • Hotspots (serum leakage from the skin do to itching)
  • Anaphylaxis ( Systemic shock)


     A) Rhinitis (stuffy nose)

     B) Nasal discharge

     C) Sneezing

     D) Coughing

     E) Asthma

     F) Anaphylaxis


      A) Oral ulcers

      B) Inflamed mouth

      C) Inflamed pharynx (the back of the throat)

      D) Vomiting

      E) Diarrhea

     F) Constipation

     H) Nausea

     I) Hypersensitivity

     J) Gas

4) Metabolic (Systemic)

     A) Hepatitis

     B) Headaches

     C) Blurred vision

     D) Vertigo (dizziness)

     E) Muscle weakness

     F) Aching muscles


  • Food chemicals (MSG, sulfides and dyes)
  • Food preservative
  • Food colorings
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Xenoestrogens
  • GMO foods

Clinical treatment for food intolerance is avoidance and food elimination.

For further information on Food Elimination, please go to and under Articles/Others, go to Foods and Supplements to read more about food elimination diets.


Wikipedia states that food allergies come from ingestants that elicit an abnormal immune response.

A variety of foods may cause allergies, and until identified correctly, all foods must be considered guilty until proven innocent.

The various treatment at this time include immunotherapy (desensitization) and food elimination.


Food allergies commonly effect humans and dogs and effect cats less frequently.

In humans as mentioned, immunotherapy and food elimination seem to be the best treatments at this time.

In dogs, cats and horses, the abnormal immune response that is caused by ingested foods, appears to come from an IgA deficiency.

In humans it is thought to come from a reaction between the food and the patients IgE immunoglobulin (antibody).

In dogs, cats and horses that have food allergies, all have identifiable endocrine immune imbalances and once the immune cells have reacted to various foods, the reintroduction of those foods, even after correcting the endocrine immune imbalance, may still be disastrous.

Doing a food elimination diet is highly important is a food allergy is to be corrected.

Even if endocrine immune imbalance has been corrected and clinical signs of food allergies persist, the food you are feeding your pet is still allergenic.

Please remember, with any food whether homemade, natural or manufactured, the more the ingredients that are contained in the food, the greater the chance of causing and allergic reaction in your pet.

It would be best to start out with a limited antigen diet containing only one protein and one carbohydrate.

Many times an elimination diet will begin with one part cottage cheese to four parts of boiled white potatoes unless either one of these antigens your pet reacts to. This original diet should be continued for seven days before adding another protein like chicken and or fish.

Foods will cause delayed reactions and you might give your pet a snack today and then not again.

However, 7 days later a severe reaction may occur, even though what you gave as a treat was from seven days before.

A typical food reaction, considering everything else, will either be a primary reaction with a GI upset with possible vomiting or diarrhea, or a secondary reaction involving the skin of the ears, feet and abdomen.

This is where mast cells reside with their histamine.

When an allergic reaction occurs in the skin, these mast cell release their histamines which in turn, cause inflammation in all these areas.

If for some reason, one ear or one foot or one area seems to be more prone to an allergic reaction, it is because there are more mast cells concentrated at that area.

Classically and IgA imbalance with a middle layer adrenal cortisol balance.

This cortisol imbalance can be caused by genetic or acquired through aging and environmental input.

When this damage occurs to the middle layer adrenal cortex and its cortisol production, the negative feedback to the pituitary gland is also damaged.

When this occurs, the pituitary gland will continue its hormone production of ACTH, based on the cortisol imbalance.

This allows for the inner layer adrenal cortex to respond directly causing the excess production of adrenal estrogen.

One of the bad side effects of this elevated adrenal estrogen is that it affects the normal production of antibodies.

This is why the mucous membrane antibody referred to as IgA begins to decrease.

Once the IgA level in dogs and cats falls below 58 and 68 in humans, oral replacement cortisol hormones will not be absorbed through the gut wall.

This low IgA is another reason why many oral supplements seem not to work, because they never reach the blood stream due to this IgA deficiency.

These are only my thoughts, and I hope they will help you and your pets, avoid food sensitivities and food allergies.


Dr. Al Plechner