Last year, seemingly out of the blue, Wally developed seborrhea. He never had the really nasty looking stuff but he did have the build-up of flakey material, cysts, and an oily coat. The thing is, though, that seborrhea is typically a secondary illness that develops due to some underlying primary illness, which can include food allergies. We had Wally tested for food allergies via Nutriscan and found out that he should be avoiding many common foods: turkey, pork, white fish, rice, wheat, corn, venison, rabbit, quinoa, potatoes, and barley. Although he was eating grain-free commercial foods many of them still contained one or more of these ingredients.
From my own experience I know that most medical professionals seriously downplay the impacts of food allergies and instead recommend environmental or pharmaceutical management. The specialist I saw prescribed me steroid inhalers and told me to get rid of my cat. Instead I stopped eating the foods I’m allergic to and I’ve been able to control my asthma, drug-free and with a cat, for five years! After trying the more conventional medical approach for Wally (medicated shampoo), mostly avoiding allergens, and occasionally cooking his food, he was improved but still not great. He no longer needed multiple baths a week but he still had numerous sebaceous cysts and chewed on his feet incessantly. It was time for a different approach!
At the recommendation of our vet we went to Dr. Watson at Big Valley Vet, an integrative vet who combines conventional medicine with alternative medicine. She recommended feeding 50% commercial grain-free food and 50% home cooked grain-free food (100% would be ideal but this was a good start). Wally also started TCM anti-inflammatory pills and continued getting salmon oil, probiotics, and a joint supplement. He received laser therapy for his spine, too, which may have helped clear up the skin on his back. Now it’s a month later and his coat is gorgeous, he’s far less itchy, he seldom chews his feet, he no longer has cysts, and we’ve only had to give him one or two medicated baths. Success!