Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (3): prevalence of cutaneous adverse food reactions in dogs and cats

BMC Vet Res. 2017 Feb 15;13(1):51. doi: 10.1186/s12917-017-0973-z.


Background: The prevalence of cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFRs) in dogs and cats is not precisely known. This imprecision is likely due to the various populations that had been studied. Our objectives were to systematically review the literature to determine the prevalence of CAFRs among dogs and cats with pruritus and skin diseases.

Results: We searched two databases for pertinent references on August 18, 2016. Among 490 and 220 articles respectively found in the Web of Science (Science Citation Index Expanded) and CAB Abstract databases, we selected 22 and nine articles that reported data usable for CAFR prevalence determination in dogs and cats, respectively. The prevalence of CAFR in dogs and cats was found to vary depending upon the type of diagnoses made. Among dogs presented to their veterinarian for any diagnosis, the prevalence was 1 to 2% and among those with skin diseases, it ranged between 0 and 24%. The range of CAFR prevalence was similar in dogs with pruritus (9 to 40%), those with any type of allergic skin disease (8 to 62%) and in dogs diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (9 to 50%). In cats presented to a university hospital, the prevalence of CAFR was less than 1% (0.2%), while it was fairly homogeneous in cats with skin diseases (range: 3 to 6%), but higher in cats with pruritus (12 to 21%) than in cats with allergic skin disease (5 to 13%).

Conclusions: Among dogs and cats with pruritus and those suspected of allergic skin disease, the prevalence of CAFR is high enough to justify this syndrome to be ruled-out with a restriction (elimination)-provocation dietary trial. This must especially be considered in companion animals with nonseasonal pruritus or signs of allergic dermatitis.

Keywords: Allergy; Atopic Dermatitis; Canine; Cat; Dog; Feline; Food Allergy; Itch; Pruritus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases / immunology*
  • Cats
  • Dermatitis / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis / immunology
  • Dermatitis / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / veterinary*
  • Pets
  • Prevalence
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Pruritus / immunology
  • Pruritus / veterinary