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I just don't know how to help my cat anymore

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Carter has had a skin problem since sometime early this year. We finally, finally think it was allergy related because after we put him on Prednisone (because he even shrugs off depo shots), he started getting a lot of hair back but still kept licking all the hair off his underside and parts of his legs. He's still on a food allergy trial. This was after he spent some time on an anti-anxiety medication that worked for a month, then stopped when he went right back to the licking. We tried to put him in an E. Collar this week to see if we could finally break his habit while the allergy meds and food kept working, but I just caught him an hour ago, head turned just sharp enough that he could get his face up to his stomach and start sucking and licking off hair in the same spot and I just wanted to start crying. Called the vet, they should get back to me, but I don't know what else to do.

I can't fix it. The vet can't fix it. I'm so stressed from wasting so much time and money trying to help him and failing every time. I'm afraid to even post pictures of my cats here because it looks so bad, and I'm so scared that my friends and family think I'm not taking care of him. One of my friends told me that it's not going to get any better and I should just give up and I actually yelled at him because that was the worst thing he could have said to me. But I still don't know how to help Carter and I'm so afraid the vet's going to tell me its hopeless. I don't know what else I can do for him anymore.
post #2 of 16
I would like to see a pic of your cat. It can not be worse then what Coco used to look like.
All her fur fell out in clumps and she was almost bald from allergies.
She has bare back paws now because she chews it off by her paw pads.
post #3 of 16
Where is he licking?
When I had an overgroomer I put her in newborn size undershirts to break her over grooming habit, worth a shot if he's doing this on his body.
You can also try a gym sock with holes cut for head and legs.

I wish I had more suggestions, good luck with him, I know how heart breaking it is.
My bird plucks him self bald sometimes and I have yet to find the trigger.
post #4 of 16
I think your friend was insensitive to say what he did. Just realize that some people have different levels of what they are willing to do to help their animals. As for others thinking you aren't taking care of your cat, you could always show them your vet bills if they have the nerve to say anything to you. It sounds like you are at your wits end with this, bless your heart . Know that there are people who understand what its like to go through something medically difficult with a pet - you sound like a caring, compassionate person and your kitty is lucky to have you. I like the newborn shirt idea. If newborn doesn't fit, try preemie. We'll keep sending vibes your way that your kitty will stop his overgrooming and his allergies will be under control.
post #5 of 16
How long has he been on the allergy diet and what exactly are you feeding him? It can take well over a month to see any benefit of this so you just have to be patient in the meantime. Here's some healing vibes for you and your kitty!
post #6 of 16
I would be careful with the pred and depo.
They gave Coco bladder problems and she can not have the Depo anymore.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
To answer a few questions...

1. The vet called back and actually mentioned the shirt idea too. It's not going to cover all his spots, but I'm going to check them out tomorrow anyway. They also suggested using masking tape on the shirt to get it to fit right.

2. When the vet called, they gave me a new prescription for the anti-anxiety meds as well as the largest feline e-collar. He seems to have reworked how to balance the rims on it to walk and all and I think he even had an easier time drinking with it on, but I'm still watching to see if he can still lick with it on. I forgot to mention he was so into trying to lick himself that he was even licking the E-Collar. Now I know at least some of this is definitely compulsive, but that doesn't help much.

3. He's two months into the allergy diet and it has helped, a lot. Before he started, he'd started working the hair off all the way up his sides too. After a month of the diet, we'll be able to re-evaluate him. But the problem I'm having relates to the fact that the progress stopped.

4. I'm wary of too much pred and depos myself, but we're already lowering his pred doses. It was mainly to get the itching under control until the diet could kick in. I don't want him on this for too long, I worry about liver damage.

Thanks for all the vibes. Its good to say this to people who really understand. My friend has a cat and I'm pretty sure he would do anything for her, but he's never once had to deal with her being sick. I think he seriously doesn't understand how this works at all, but it really hurt when he said that to me.
post #8 of 16
I'm so sorry about your kitties troubles. It sounds like you've got a great vet who's willing to think creatively with you! Hang in there! Lack of progress is frustrating but the plus side is that you HAVE made some! Here's to some more progress soon!
post #9 of 16
I hope something works for him.
post #10 of 16
I'm not sure where you live but there are animal dermatologists in existence. I think many problems are undetected/unsolved by conventional vets. At this point, I would try to locate a skin specialist.
post #11 of 16
I'm sorry, I feel your pain.

I have a Chihuahua who was scratching and itching for one whole year and literally drove me insane. Every time I would hear the scratching, I would feel like pulling my hair out because I felt I couldn't help her and patches of fur were missing.

My holistic vet kept telling me there's nothing I can do since I ruled out food allergies. She basically told me to leave it, even when scabs were showing up.

Um, no.

I pushed for a referral to see a dermatologist and I can't tell you how very much it was worth it to me.

I spent the money on a blood allergy test to rule out environmental allergies. What do you know, the results came back -- allergies to house dust mites and cat dander. Even though my vet already told me I couldn't do much if I find out it's environmental allergies, I wanted to know for SURE what it was.

Well, I bought a really expensive air purifier and it's only been two weeks since I got it...it works wonders. The dermatologist gave me a few options...one of them was hyposensitization shots and another was steroids. I immediately said no to steroids. It's only meant as a temporary fix and can actually be health detrimental in the long run. I refuse to mask health problems with drugs.

May I ask what you're feeding your cat for an elimination diet right now? Are you using a commercial food or home-cooking? I find that for elimination diets, home-cooking is much more effective because it doesn't contain the long list of supplements at the end, which could very well be what he is reacting to.

It may take weeks for you to see results. IF the skin problem does seem to be getting better and no changes have been made except for the diet, then it's very likely a food allergy and you will need to be diligent and work hard at finding out what it is by the re-introduction of food items slowly and one by one, allowing a week or so for any reactions to show up, if any.

If the itching doesn't seem to get much better with the elimination diet, then it could very well be something else that's causing the skin problems. In that case, I would definitely consult with a cat dermatologist.

Good luck and keep us posted!

P.S. Has your cat had skin scrapings done to rule out parasites, yeast, and bacterial overgrowth? Sometimes, the overgrowth and infections aren't the primary cause for the itching, but is secondary because of the constant scratching, so those problems would need to be dealt with first, to see results on anything else you try. The dermatologist found out that my dog had a staph infection because of her wounds from scratching and we had to put her on antibiotics to treat that. My regular vet didn't even pick that up.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Carter's currently taking Science Diet z/d. At the moment, he hasn't finished his trial. The Prednisone he's taking was intended as a quick fix to help him out early in the diet, but with a month to go, you've got me thinking I need to find out when they want me to take him off of it, because it's been awhile and I don't want him on steroids much longer.

I'm also starting to seriously consider that, while clearly there was a food allergy involved in the initial problem, that Carter also has developed a compulsive habit. Now that we've got him fitted in an E-Collar that he can't get around, he's actually licking the *collar* when he can't reach the other spots. When I take it off, he goes back to the extreme licking again. I've taken to having to sit by him during meals when he has the collar off because as soon as the last scrap of food is gone, he starts up again and he always aims for the same places as before that are stripped bare. Those spots are looking a lot less irritated since he's lost access to them though, so I'm at a loss for anything except compulsive overgrooming at this point.

I will ask the vet about a feline dermatologist the next time I see her, too. That might be just who Carter needs to see.
post #13 of 16
Awww.... big hugs for you and Carter. Sounds like you are making some improvement. With time and maybe some other types of suggestions from people here or wherever it will keep getting better. I think it is wonderful how you are hanging in there with Carter and making sure he gets the best care he can. You are a very caring loving Meowmy.
post #14 of 16
There isn't a lot of info here, but it does talk a little about OCD in animals. It could be that he developed OCD after the initial irritation. Hopefully, the anti-anxiety meds will help with it.
post #15 of 16
Bonaparte has skin problems and pulls all the fur off his chest when it is bad. I can feel scabs and lumps through his fur at itmes, so it is not compulsive groming with him - the skin erupts first. He is allergic to metals so can't wear most collars, and to some flea treatments.

We have had him on pred, and on Lamissol, but it all comes and goes with no pattern. Some of it is stress related I think too. But I do sympathise - there is nothing worse than feeling helpless.
post #16 of 16
I have the same problem with mine, Cinnamon is highly allergic to fleas, the Vet said all she needs is one bite to start her with the hot spots and lossing her fur. The Vet said there was nothing much left to do for her except steroid shots. She gets so bad that I'm picking up her fur from the floor from the window sills, its terrible. I try to get the Frontline on in time but sometimes it it isn't soon enough, she is an indoor only cat too, so I guess they come in on shoes and things. I read about Evening Primrose capsules for problems with the skin in cats and I figured I had nothing to lose. I break open a capsule over her wet food and in a couple of weeks when she gets a build up of it in her system, her skin starts healing and fur grows back beautifully. I'm not a person who likes to give a lot of supplements and medicines, but I didn't know what else to do for her she was suffering. I couldn't believe the marked improvement.
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