Once we ruled out pork, it seemed most likely that beef was Silas’s main food allergen. The food he was eating when we diagnosed the allergies contained a lot of proteins: beef, pork, lamb, herring, salmon, and bison. I’ve had some anecdotal evidence that says beef is the serious allergen out of that list, although he’s also reacted badly to salmon.
Now that his diet is a nearly-sustainable three proteins,* I thought I would do a “quick and easy” allergy trial of “the bad guy.” I figured that one meal of beef would have him throwing up, and we’d be done.
It turned out to take longer, and to be less conclusive, than I’d hoped.
After about two weeks of eating beef off and on for dinner (I kept forgetting), and four days of eating it every night, Silas has still not thrown up. (This is leading me to some interesting new theories about his stomach problems.) He is, however, starting to get some suspicious skin bumps, and he is itching and scratching a good bit. He’s made his neck quite red scratching, and he licked his legs and stomach through the entire snooze cycle of my alarm this morning. His ears are also very red-pink, instead of their usual carnation. My camera mutes a lot of red colors, but you can see the difference from here (look at the back ear, where the lamp isn’t shining through):
I am declaring the beef trial officially over. It would be more conclusive if I pushed a little further, but I’m 97% sure it’s the culprit. That’s good enough. If I let his skin get too bad in the name of science, it will take three weeks of antibiotics to get him over it. I’m giving him a Benadryl tab this morning to stave off the scratching while his skin settles down, and then we’re going back to his allergy approved diet for a few weeks.
Next up is either lamb, bison, venison, or eggs. (I can get a wide enough variety of raw rabbit, albeit expensively, to feed a complete diet, so I am saving it for my emergency novel protein, along with a few others.) Eggs are cheap and easy and would be a nice addition to his diet. They’re more of a supplement than a whole meal, though. Lamb opens up a vast array of good quality commercial foods and treats. I have an entire pantry stockpile of venison tripe that I got too skittish to feed him after he was throwing up so much in February. On the other hand, both bison and venison are extremely expensive, and lamb isn’t exactly cheap. Feel free to vote in the comments, if you want.
*”Regular” dogs without an allergy history are probably fine on fewer. Once a dog has a history of food allergies, though, they are likely to develop more reactions if you feed too narrow of a diet. My goal for Silas is four or five proteins.