CAt has allergy to chicken and needs a S/D food after a urinary tract blockage

by Shirley-Anne
(B.C., Canada)

My 12 yr old male cat was just released from animal hospital after a urinary blockage. He has a severe allergy to chicken (causes skin lesions and diarrhea) and the food they recommended, a Dissolution blend called S/D from Hill's Prescription Diet, has chicken in it as do most commercial cat foods. Is there any Urinary Tract Dissolution or Preventative formula out there that doesn't contain chicken? Thanks!

Hi, Shirley Anne,

Your predicament is not an uncommon one. Cats, just like people, can have more than one ailment at a time. I have been treating a cat for several years that has urinary issues, allergies, and now diabetes. The best diet for each of those conditions is different.

Recently, he had dental work and was uncomfortable eating afterwards and a decision had to be made as to diet. Eating has to come before any of the other conditions, obviously, so his owners have been offering him anything that he will eat, regardless of his other conditions. I'm not saying that has to be the case for your kitty, but it could be.

My first thought is to wonder how his allergies were diagnosed. Most often, food allergy in cats is not diagnosed properly. The only true way to diagnose food allergy is to eliminate all food except one protein (for example, chicken or beef or fish, etc.) and have the cat eat that and nothing but that for a period of time. Then a different protein is tried and then another, until it is truly ascertained what the cat can tolerant and what he can't.

If your cat had a blood allergy test for food, that is not completely reliable. If he didn't try just the single protein by itself for an extended period of time, but instead had chicken with anything else accompanying it (grains, vegetables, ANYTHING), then you don't truly know that he is absolutely allergic to chicken. That is one avenue to pursue if it was not diagnosed correctly. I would highly recommend a consultation with a veterinary dermatologist who specializes in such things.

In addition, my experience and research over the years does not support that S/D is the best diet for cat urinary obstruction. First of all, I assume that a complete urinalysis was performed and that your veterinarian knows the exact type of crystals that were present in your cat's urine.

If that is not the case, it is essential that it be done. Unfortunately, there are still "old-fashioned" vets out there that are still assuming all obstructions are from a certain type of crystal that used to be the most common cause of obstructions, when that is no longer the case.

Even if the crystals that were present are indeed triple phosphate (ammonium magnesium phosphate or also called struvite crystals) crystals, the best PRESCRIPTION food for your cat is not S/D, but S/O by Royal Canin. HOWEVER, it is a chicken based diet also. In addition, unless a cat has bladder stones, I do not advocate either of these diets and in fact, find almost always that surgery is necessary to remove stones.

Instead, most importantly, the bottom line for treatment of and prevention of male cat urinary blockages is not finding a food to change the pH of the urine (which is what C/D or S/O is attempting to do), but to get more water into your cat. That is accomplished by feeding your cat an exclusively canned food diet.

You can easily find canned food that does not contain chicken if chicken is indeed the culprit. PLEASE read this web page on cat nutrition for urinary obstructions, which is the BEST advice available currently. Your veterinarian may not be familiar with this at all as many are not and may argue and think this is radical nonsense, but it is not. In fact, the entire website at contains the best in advice for cat nutrition of all types: for feline diabetes, obesity in cats, cat urinary issues, etc.

Also, if you do not already have one, purchase a pet water fountain for your cat to drink from. In addition to the selection of pet fountains found here, they are readily available at your local pet supply stores as well. Cats tend to drink more from water fountains than they do from stagnant water bowls.

Best of luck. I hope I have given you some food for thought (pun intended)! Thanks for writing,

Dr. Neely

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