I am absolutely heartbroken over all this and would really appreciate any help!!
- 31 Posts. Joined 4/2011
- Location: Alabama Gulf Coast
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I am absolutely heartbroken over all this and would really appreciate any help!!
BE CAREFUL BE CAREFUL BE CAREFUL.... most vets do not understand this condition and tend to over prescribe drugs that will untimately lead in the kitties demise. I speak from experience and even wrote an article about this condition for this very website years ago. Bacardi was a stray but she had strong Siamese in her and this is the breed where this disease/condition originates from. The article is here:
They put her on every anti-anxiety drug known to the vet community and I just let them! I didn't fight, argue, I bowed to their "knowledge" and will be forever sorry that I did. The disease did not take her life, the drugs did.
Phenobarbital is serious medicine and not to be given lightly, but when it comes down to quality of life, I would take a life perhaps shortened by a few years by a strong medicine, than a long life of misery.
For me and my cats, it's all about quality of life. If phenobarbital can help your kitty, it's well worth it if...at the other end his life is shortened by a few years.
Keep us posted.
My Tolly has seizures that are very similar to FHS. They were diagnosed as seizures rather than FHS by a veterinary neurologist, but his episodes consisted of running around chasing an invisible bug, biting his flank, biting the floor, shaking his head rippling his back. They occured at least once every hour when he was awake, non stop, without medication.
I agree on the quality of life. I've been told by my vet that the first month on the pheno will be really bad - like he'd be a vegetable - until he builds a tolerance to it. That's really what scares me that he won't make it thru that. What was your experience with the original side effects?
In one way he seems to have a serious form of FHS and in others he doesn't. He does go for what's left of his tail if we set him down without the collar on, but he is such a gentle, docile, snuggle cat and that hasn't changed. He really hasn't fought the collar - seems to know it there to help him and actually kinda freaks when he doesn't have it on (unless he's snuggling). I've been looking online for ideas of something maybe more comfortable that gives him a little more freedom since he may be in it long term - any ideas?
Did you try or do you know anyone whose had luck with herbals? No idea what but just trying to think out of the box.
By the way - my Tucker looks a lot like your Mazy only Tucker has white on his underchest, belly and feet.
Its weird because Parker has those type of symptoms. He starts licking frantically, darts around for a moment, licks his paws and goes right into licking the floor...I had been wondering if its seizures that he has...but they vet thinks its just an anxiety/grooming thing.
He is on Buspirone...Has been for a while now. His grooming isn't as frequent but he still has those fits. Its so hard to tell with these symptoms.
I don't believe in drugging cats like that...but what else can you do, really? Especially if they are hurting themselves =/
I do know people who have managed, with milder FHS, to control it with a radical diet change. What are you feeding Tucker?
Tolly is an active boy and loves to run and play and make jokes. Tolly, my oldest at 12 years old, and 9 years on phenobarbital, is the most active cat in the house, with the exception of Queen Eva, the kitten. The phenobarbital has given Tolly a long excellent quality of life, and I couldn't be happier with it.
In my opinion the medicine should control the problem almost if not completely, or it is not working. What's the point of giving it, if it isn't completely helping?
In my opinion the medicine should control the problem almost if not completely, or it is not working. What's the point of giving it, if it isn't completely helping? I haven't heard of Buspirone, I'll have to do some reading on it. Why was this chosen for Parker?
I have tried a number of foods over the years but both my cats really like the Purina Natural and the new Purina SmartBlend salmon & tuna. We don't give them can food. The only people food they get is the occasional grilled chicken, tuna or deli turkey - no junk food. Although thru all this Tucker has been getting some pumpkin - we found out he loves it and it works great for hiding pills. We've tried some of the more expensive brands over the years and they don't like it.
How long had Tolly been getting the pheno when you where sure it was working? Does he have any symptoms from the pheno now? Is there no chance you can ever stop it? What dosage do you give him?
Thanks so much for all your info - I really appreciate it!!!!
The dopiness wore off after 3 weeks and never returned.
OH! I do have a question for you. After an episode does Tucker seem excessively loving, and have a ravenous appetite? Those were two of the details that led the neurologist to lean more toward a seizure disorder rather than FHS with Tolly. But whichever it is, it was horrific.
I have a cat that had the exact same problem. He chewed the tip of his tail down to the bone and he had to have half of his tail amputated. He was also put on kitty valium (dorazepam), and this is what helped him. I don't like medications, especially major ones like valium, but it really really worked. He started out getting it twice a day, then as he improved I slowly tapered him down to once a day, then once every other day, and now he is off it completely and has no problems. He gets a little twitchy if I scratch his back, so I just don't do that. Aside from that, he's perfect!
While on the meds he slept a little more, was more relaxed, and had a little bit of an increased appetite, but had no negative effects.
Thru process of elimination my cat has been diagnosed with feline hyperesthesia. About 2 months ago he was playing with his tail (started about a month earlier - never did it as a kitten - he's now 9) and just started ripping out his fur. I didn't notice it until he had completely stripped the last 2 inches and it was bleeding all over my bedroom. So I rushed him to the vet - they gave him a bunch of shots. 3 days later I took him to a 2nd vet because he wouldn't leave the tail alone. We amputated the damaged tip. He still wouldn't leave it alone. 3 weeks later we amputated the rest of the tail - my HUGE regret!! It still didn't help. He has to wear an e-collar 24/7 unless we are holding him. We put him down for a second and he will attack the nub of a tail that is left. Attack = bite, growl & hiss. According to my vet, our only option now is to start drugging him. She has suggested Phenobarbital or amitryptaline. Does anyone have any experience with either of these drugs or have any other drug to suggest?
I am absolutely heartbroken over all this and would really appreciate any help!!
I just read this post after looking up Feline Hyperesthesia. I'm not sure if you're still taking responses, but I have a success story I thought I would share. I have a cat who exhibited this, it started when she was around 2 years old. She would run with her side twitching and she would lick it in a frenzy and start panting and crying. We believed the initial cause was from feeding our cat Wellness. This was about 9 years ago and I'm sure the ingredients changed have by now. We ended up putting her all these diet changes (mostly vet formulas) but they caused her to gain weight. We knew it was a food allergy because occasionally she would sneak our other cats food and end up having an episode. We ended up having to change her food in order to get her to lose weight, however it caused the hyperesthesia to start up again but we have found a food that works and the episodes have completely stopped, medication free!
I just wanted to let you know some of the research I have done in case it may be helpful. Hyperesthesia tends be caused by something in their environment that is agitating them, may it be chemical (carpet, detergents), allergies (in particularly food) and I've even read that vaccines have caused a lot skin twitching near the hind quarters in a peer reviewed journal article.
I'm wondering if there's some kind of way to detox your cat. Are their any holistic vets in your neighbourhood? I would be very hesitant about giving your cat any medication this "anti" anything or a steroid for they do not cure the problem but hide the symptoms and can end up doing more damage because they prevent them from being expelled from the body causing internal damage. This is proven in humans as well.
Surprisingly this condition is quite common and is sadly on the rise. There must be some common link between us all, we just don't know what it is yet.
Hope your little one is doing better and all the best!
Thanks for the reply. I haven't been posting, but I do still occasionally look at this site. I guess I should have posted more updates on Tucker. Sorry
Well, It's been right at one year since all this started and I am happy to say Tucker is doing great. Shortly after we had his tail amputated (HUGE regret!!!) we started him on amitriptyline. It has done wonders! He is back to being totally normal as long as he stays on the meds. We started with giving him pills which he hated. I tried every trick I could think of to get him to take it. Then I thought to ask if we could get it in a lotion form - YES. So now he gets a little in his ear every morning and no more tail mutilating. I did try to take him off the meds last October just to see if maybe we broke that mental cycle and he could go off them. Nope. He was great for about 7 days and then the tail attacking came back full force. Took about 3-4 weeks for the amitriptyline to completely build back up in his system. Since then, no issues.
My theory - which I obviously can't prove - is that allergies started all this. We had moved from Kansas to the Gulf Coast of Alabama about a year and a half before all this started. Because it was a year and a half I don't think it was the stress of such a big move. However, the plants and pollen are WAY different here. I never really had allergies very bad before moving here and now each spring my head blows up! So, I think all the pollen in the air (and I like to open windows when it's nice out) is what started or triggered the hyperathesia. Once it started I think it just put like a mental loop in his brain that now can't be broken. I hope that makes some sense.
Anyway, as much as I was against giving him meds in the beginning, if he continues to be himself I will keep him on it the rest of his life. The only side effect seems to be that he gets the munchies and has put on a little weight. He is still a healthy weight (he's always been a tiny cat) so I'm not worried.
Thank you to everyone who helped me thru this last year!!!
I'm glad to hear that everything is working out and that he is not longer attacking his tail. I just have one suggestion when you mentioned "mental loop in his brain". Have you ever thought of supplementing omega 3's in his diet. They are good for his immune system, brain and coat.
And also this article came to mind: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/07/05/valuable-nutrients-for-pets-who-suffer-from-seasonal-allergies.aspx
I'm doing some research on FHS and came upon this thread and it's been extremely helpful. We haven't had issues as bad as yours (I feel like I caught Gunner's relatively early on) but my vet also has me putting Gun on amitriptyline. What dose did you start with? We're starting with a 5mg dose for 10-12 days to see if there's a difference.
Gunner is a 1.5yr old full Bengal, he grooms me like crazy, but not my husband, and has the standard skin rippling, feet & tail chewing, tail chasing, occasional yelling episodes. He's always been high energy and groomed me a lot and chased his tail, but the skin rippling and foot chewing started so suddenly one day and I had to CONVINCE my husband that taking him to the vet was the right idea. He's since come around and is really bothered by it. We're giving the ami a go, and I'm also using a Spirit Essences tincture that you can just rub on them that is basically aromatherapy in conjunction with it.
How much more expensive was the lotion over the pills? I hate giving cats pills and Gunner is decidedly uncooperative even after just 1 pill.
I don't have any experience with medicating FHS, since it never came to that, however have you been able to figure out what triggers the episodes? Personally, if its possible to figure that out, then you may not need to control it using medication. Overgrooming and hyperesthesia can be sign that something is wrong internally, so if you can try using the process of elimination to figure out the cause than you won't have to treat the symptoms for the rest of Gunner's life, plus medications can have side-effects.
Do you know if its diet related? In my experience I have noticed that many FHS cats do much better with a diet change and by supplementing with Omega-3s since O3's help regulate the nervous system and are natural anti-inflammatories which can really help the severity of the episodes.
I find the best way to really understand the cause of FHS is keep a journal of episodes. Helps to trace the source.
Hope I helped!!
I read your article on Bacardi and my heart went out to you. Two weeks ago my kitten (a 6 months old female OSH Havana Brown) called Sydney, started being scared of her tail. Long story short, I looked and searched on the web and came across FELINE HYPERESTESIA and I am convinced she's got it! :-( I am gutted but don't want to go to my vet yet. Here in Holland there is very, very little known on FELINE HYPERESTESIA and I don't want them to start giving Sydney all sorts of drugs. I have started giving her Bach Flower Remedy (Rescue Remedy) as it seems to calm her down. Since this only started 2 weeks ago she has not (yet??) started plucking out fur and I am hoping she won't. I have a feeling this might be stress related, reason I'm thinking this is that a few nights before this whole thing started I noticed she was chewing and biting her claws in such a nervous way (I have a highly strung Siamese who does this too but luckily only this and she's not got FELINE HYPERESTESIA!) and a few days later this whole saga started.
If you or anyone could give me hints and tips on how I can help my cat. I am soooo desperate and my heart goes out to her. She can just suddenly jump up and run around the room looking behind her to see if her tail's following her and she does frantically lick herself and attacks her tail and does attempts to bite her tail but so far has not plucked clumps of fur out !
I hope to get a reply from you or anybody on this blog. I had never heard of FELINE HYPERESTESIA and I am still searching the web for solutions!
I don't know what STARTED the episodes (though I suspect it might be from us gutting our spare room of junk and making it an actual ROOM rather than a catch all), but I've noticed now that if you touch him, it tends to set him off, so I only pet him when he asks for it. We're on day 6 of the amitriptyline and it seems to be helping - his episodes have been shorter and less severe, and so far today I haven't seen him have a single episode. He's also a decidedly happier cat, and back to his ultra annoying self (climbing the walls, eating the blinds, seeing how far he can fling them from the window, etc etc).
I don't think it's diet - he's on Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken, though I got Salmon a few days ago just to give him a change of taste. He's been on that for 8-9 mos. He also gets a can of Fancy Feast at night, which he's had since before I brought him home from the breeder.
I'm hoping that the ami is helping and we can do the course of 12-16wks and start weaning him off of it. I didn't want to do it to begin with, but he was having such escalating episodes and I had been sitting on the prescription that I had to give him SOMETHING to see if it would help.
Hey all! I also have a kitty with feline hyeresthesia and through small doses of gabapentin once a day (usually at night) she doesn't have extreme bouts anymore really. It has been a difficult learning process and sometimes she needs more medicine than usual. I'm writing an article for possible publication on how to identify and handle a kitty with hyperesthesia and I'd love to interview a couple of you who have had success with treatments. I'd like to know what medications you chose, environmental changes, etc. Please send me an email at email@example.com if you're interested in being interviewed over the phone. It wouldn't take more than 20 minutes of your time and I think publishing an article about this would really help a lot of people who are still scratching their heads wondering what is wrong with their cat. Thank you!