Food allergies strike the animal kingdom

Posted: 24 August 2017 | | No comments yet

Animals suffer form food intolerance and allergies in the same way as humans, the Messerli Research Institute has found. A joint venture by  Vetmeduni Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, the Messerli Research Institute has published a new European position paper.


The paper highlights the strong similarities in animal and human symptoms and triggers of adverse food reactions. The publication also stresses the need for more comparative studies on the mechanisms and the diagnosis of food intolerance, and on formulating adequate measures.

Other mammals such as dogs, cats and horses are now known to suffer from symptoms such as diarrhoea after a glass of milk, an itchy palate after eating apples, swelling in the face after consuming chicken eggs or a severe asthma attack due to peanut dust. This means that both the symptoms and the triggers (i.e the specific allergens which cause them) seem to be consistent across mammals. There are even overlaps among the triggers of immune response to certain foods and ingredients. Pets may suffer from both lactose intolerance and outright milk protein allergies. Some mammals are also liable to allergic reactions from certain proteins in wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, eggs and meat.

Despite this increased understanding for the moment complete avoidance of allergens is the best people and animals can do to avoid symptoms. This involves removing all allergens from the diet and gradually reintroducing them over a period of time, monitoring which, if any, cause adverse reactions. At the moment there are no therapies for humans and animals, but many new variants of immunotherapy have entered trial phase, however even if they pass these trials it will be many years before they hit the market.