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New to this site and worried about my cat who keeps licking her fur off to the point of...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have an 8 year old female, spayed cat named Sugar and she is having some issues!  I pay a lot of attention to my cats (the other is Gracie)...playing with them, petting them, etc.  She has had allergies since I have owned her but it was always her eyes or mouth (both came and went..the mouth was due to chewing on plants...I got rid of a ton of them and now only have those non-toxic to cats types)...her mouth is now fine...and her eyes are good now as well.  I know she is allergic to feathers so I got rid of all down products, toys, etc...I treat her regularly with flea medication and treat my home (carpet, cat trees, etc.) as well.

 

In January, out of nowhere and in no time it seemed, she was licking off a TON of hair...her belly from  about the middle back towards her hind legs was licked clean and then she licked the hair off the insides of her legs...her skin was red, a bit swollen, and she licked a few spots raw which then scabbed.....obviously concerned I took her to the vet...they checked for a UTI..clean, they did blood work....and told me she had hyperthyroid.....they had me give her 2 rounds of prednisone orally which did not help the skin heal, the over grooming or grow back any hair back and then had they had me begin her on hyperthyroid medication....she continued to get worse, was not eating, vomiting...nothing was improving so I took her back to her old vet (I could not get in right away and made the mistake of taking her somewhere new).  Her old vet did an in-house skin test (scraping) and in 10 minutes told me that Sugar had a bacterial skin infection and indicated that she needed antibiotics to get right of the infection and she also said that was why the 2 rounds of pred previously given did not do anything...the pred does not work if there is an infection.  She also reviewed the blood work and told me that Sugar was borderline for hyperthyroid and not old enough in her opion to warrant medication for that so it went in the garbage.  Poor Sugar was on antibiotics for 2 months and finally the bacterial skin infection cleared up.  For the last six weeks she has been on 5mg pred, allerderm and pericactin and she was doing really well...all of the over grooming stopped and her fur was growing back in very nicely.....I was told it would take about 3 months for full regrowth.  Well, I had to call the vet last week because she just licked a patch of new hair growth on her belly right back off again....I was told perhaps there is a new pollen in the air (we have not been able to isolate the allergy except to rule out food and cat litter) and to be patient...perhaps to change up her meds....for the last three days she has been on 5mg pred, I'm giving her the allerderm 1x per month (started this 1 month ago..its was 1x per week the first mo. and she has not had it in a month..this is the only thing I can figure out that she has not had that maybe she needs more often?).  So I will give her the allerderm for the first time in a month tonight...I have also stopped the periactin as she eats plenty and am in addition to the pred. and the 1x pe month alllerderm I am giving her 5 mg of zertec...the patch where she licked the hair off seems a little smaller but it is raised, red and feels abrasive and hard...I am trying to be patient (per the vet) but once again, this morning about 4am she woke me with her licking sounds...yep, same spot.....she wakes me everyday at the same time for the last week....if I bring her to bed and snuggle her she will stop for an hour or so and relax and sleep...then she gets up with me, eats her wet food, goes under the bed and sleeps....the vet thinks it is pure allergy but I think it may also be behavioral?  We have discussed giving her xanex but the vet wants to wait it out...I'm worried she will end up with another infection...and I can't afford the allergy testing and all the shots and everything...does anyone have any ideas or suggestions of what it could be or what I can do to help my poor kitty aside from what the vet is doing for her?  Please help me help Sugar!  Thank you!

post #2 of 29

I am bumping up your post.....someone with more knowledge will come along

post #3 of 29

What does she eat? What brands and is it canned, raw, kibble, or both?

 

What was her thyroid level (with reference ranges)? Did the vet do a Free T4 test too? (Sometimes a borderline T4 will then come back with a high Free T4.)

 

Aw...sending vibes and prayers that she can get some relief soon. alright.gif

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much, that is very nice of you!

 

Christy

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

Thank you for the well wishes, I appreciate it.  Yes, they first ran the regular blood work and then the T4, I talked with three different vets, one being a dermatologist (only reviewed her records) and two of the three agreed, yes one was the specialist agreed that the issue is not her thyroid....

 

As far a food goes, I am not doing the raw food, I have two girls and they are pretty picky.  I do kibble (night only and wet foot 2x a day) We did a limited ingredient/hypoallergenic diet for eight or nine weeks and it made not difference.  Food has been ruled out so they are now both eating Green Pea & Duck LID...I don't remember the brand...grain free and all that (I mix it with IAMs per the vet) and they started refusing the hypoallergenic royal canine ...and my vet told me to go ahead and discontinue it and that she can have duck, turkey or chicken...no fish....so they are back to the fancy feast sliced stuff with gravy.  They are both eating we'll and the licking did not start up again until 6 weeks later....it is not related unfortunately.  Any other ideas?  Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it!

 

Christy

post #6 of 29
I JUST posted information to another thread that I think might be important for your girl. hearthrob.gif http://www.thecatsite.com/t/249207/can-cat-be-allergic-to-novel-protein#post_3254375

hearthrob.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #7 of 29

Hi, I'm a newbie here but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents...

 

This sounds a lot like what my sisters cat has...Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma complex....blah....

She spent about 4 years with a hairless belly, anxiety and complusive licking and chewing. The trick for her was a raw food diet. She did ok switching to protiens like venison and duck...but a real recovery only came when she was on 100% raw food diet.

post #8 of 29

Oh and the cat was eating a supposed hypoallegenic diet for years- no change.

post #9 of 29

I had my kitty do this, we had to take her to the vet to get a steroid shot because they said it was allergies to flea saliva. The first time it didn't work, the second time we got the shot and started treating her with Revolution as well- and it seemed to have done the trick.

 

They had told me if it hadn't worked this time that there was a possibility she has alopecia- which is basically stress induced over-grooming which causes the sores and redness.

 

I hope you can figure it out!

post #10 of 29

can't the vet put some cream on her belly (maybe antibiotic cream) to help the infection and put a dressing over it? that way maybe she wouldn't be able to lick it and it would heal, hope she gets well soon!
 

post #11 of 29

oh yeah when i got my cat from a rescue she practically had no hair on her belly and as it grew she licked it off and it was bare, but then it grew back and she left it, i found what helped was a feliway diffuser, you plug it in the wall, its magic!

 

i see your american so:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Feliway-Plug-In-Diffuser-bottle-Milliliters/dp/B000WHUOEI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348994395&sr=8-1&keywords=feliway+diffuser

 

its on sale for just over $20 so its half price and it would help a lot, but check with your vet to see if she's not allergic
 

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your information and suggestions!  I have been thinking of trying the felaway.....

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much....she is still on the pred but I have added zertec....and am upping the allerderm to 2x per month....her new sore is almost gone...in just under a week...thanks again!

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much!  I appreciate the information...I have 2 cats so am trying to stay away from the raw food...my vet is not recommending it either.....we shall see...her new sore is almost gone....pred....I added zertec and am stepping up the allerderm....so far so good....it is healing up well.....cross you fingers!

post #15 of 29

get well soon to her, im get she getting better

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much! xo from Sugar!

post #17 of 29

Glad to hear that your Sugar is doing well!

 

Just wanted to put out links to some products that might help cats in her predicament when the cause is unknown. 

 

  1. Meow Wear - they make custom body suits for cats that have licking/chewing problems. I saw the woman who creates the suits on Must Love Cats, but can't find a video of the episode.
  2. A flexible, see-through e-collar from iseespot.com. My cat has been wearing this collar due to scratching from an unknown allergy. I tried all types of collars, and this is the best one. My cat is only able to lick her back paws and the tip of her tail with this on. 

 

Hope everything continues to go well,

 

Meg

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks Meg!  Your info is very much appreciated!

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dedjinn View Post

Hi, I'm a newbie here but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents...

This sounds a lot like what my sisters cat has...Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma complex....blah....
She spent about 4 years with a hairless belly, anxiety and complusive licking and chewing. The trick for her was a raw food diet. She did ok switching to protiens like venison and duck...but a real recovery only came when she was on 100% raw food diet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cstanley View Post

Thanks so much!  I appreciate the information...I have 2 cats so am trying to stay away from the raw food...my vet is not recommending it either.....we shall see...her new sore is almost gone....pred....I added zertec and am stepping up the allerderm....so far so good....it is healing up well.....cross you fingers!

A raw diet is not for everyone, certainly. But there's no reason it can't be fed to both cats. I feed 8 cats raw food. Many vets are not well trained in nutrition, and many do not understand the link between auto-immune related problems and a species-appropriate diet. (Cats are, after all, obligate carnivores and in the wild, they live only on small mammals - not cooked. wink.gif ). Many vets are scared of a raw diet because they are not familiar with it. Yet for so many kitties with autoimmune problems (IBD, Allergies, EGC), it is typically a rather quick and easy solution that improves their overall health without medication taking its toll on their organs over time. If you want to take the time to learn more, please visit the raw forum. smile.gif There are a number of kitties with allergies and IBD that have resolved their problem, and a number of people with a similar problem are transitioning right now. Maybe you might want to follow their progress? dontknow.gif http://www.thecatsite.com/f/65/raw-feeding-for-cats

And here's someone in the process. Her kitty was scratching his neck and face so badly she would come home to blood splatters on the wall, and he had to be in a cone for months. http://www.thecatsite.com/t/249835/beginner-to-raw-feeding-after-months-of-illness

But I'm SO glad to hear the change in meds is making him more comfortable! clap.gifclap.gifclap.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #20 of 29

Have you tought of anxiety?  My Lucas has a demodex problem in his ears, but he also has anxiety and he scratched himself raw before taking antianxiety meds, here is his story just in case, maybe it will help your kitty, it is a bit long:)

 

http://www.thecatsite.com/t/244155/photo-update-of-lucas

post #21 of 29

Try putting her a new organic or homeopathic chicken or fish food. No supermarket, or cheap foods with fillers, first ingredients and second MEAT!! not corn etc  hope this helps.Food allergies, and cheap purina products just don't cut it for our beloved family members, but try my suggestions or even look up the "Raw DIET": mine love it, Best of luck,Diane

post #22 of 29

I haven't seen a post from you that was recent---am I to assume your cat is healed from licking himself raw?  I have a black female cat who is 13 years old.  About 3 years ago, out of nowhere, she started licking herself, and has done so continually ever since.  She is bald on her belly, the inside of her legs, her rear, and now she is twisting herself around, trying to get at new fur on her back.  I have been to the vet, she tested negative for allergies.  I have shampooed her with all kinds of medicated shampoo.  I have changed her food.  Changed her cat litter.  ARGH!!!  I feel to bad for her and don't know what to do.  Any suggestions from your experience, or from anyone else out there?  Lynda 

post #23 of 29

Do you use dryer sheets?  :wavey:

post #24 of 29

Yes, I use dryer sheets, but I have been using them for years. My cat is 13 and only started licking herself bald 3 years ago.  Why do you ask?

post #25 of 29

Lynda, have you found out the cause and/or a solution?  My ex-feral cat Scooter is experiencing the same thing--licking her belly and hind legs bald.  She is now taking Elavil (amitriptyline) for anxiety and it is helping a little bit so far.  Dietary intervention did not help--her itching was not related to fleas or allergy, my vet decided after different experiments.  I think my cat is upset by the presence of our two other cats (both male ex-ferals).  She feels threatened by them at times (those SHE is the alpha cat) and she licks worse when she is alone for extended periods (when we are on vacation).

 

There are several other threads that address this issue:  you might try searches  using the  words "belly" "hind legs" "bald" and "itching" for input via other discussions.

post #26 of 29

Yes, I found a vet who is wonderful.  She actually LISTENED to me when I said I had tried everything and it is still going on after over 3 years.  The vet ran a slew of tests (already done in the past, but she wanted to rule everything out)  Sure enough: no allergies, no skin diseases, no thyroid problems---her blood work came out perfect.  She said this is a form of OCD--definitely a behavioral issue.  She gave her a long-lasting (30 days) shot of steroid (prednisone), and said the cat will need another after the 30 days.  It may take up to as much as 3 doses (3 months).

 

Already, just after the first shot, I see a decline in the frequency of the licking.  Finally! I will let you all know what happens after the 3 months.

 

Lynda

post #27 of 29

THank you so much Lynda for the new diagnosis!  I am so glad you found a Vet with compassion.  My scooter had two steroid shots (a month apart) but I was told she should not have any more, hince the medication for psychogenic (OCD) anxiety,....   I am converting her from solid tablets (that stuck in her throat) to a liquid formulation beginning tonight, and will let you know how it goes.  Take care, and I hope cat "heals" and may not need more meds after the series of steroids. Maybe breaking the cycle is the solution.

post #28 of 29
My cat had been licking her belly bare for nearly a year and then started on to the inside of her hind legs. The vet did tests and diagnosed Idiopathic cystitis - a common bladder infection.
She advised changing her diet to to make her pee more which would help flush out the infection. This was in November last year 2013. (She also had several teeth out at the same time. No chewing on small mammals had caused her top teeth to rot. Very common because of modern western indoor cat diet.) Nothing changed until a few weeks ago (3 months after the teeth removal and change of diet) when we noticed that she had stopped licking her belly and the fur was starting to grow back!!!!
Now she has a lovely covering of hair and we are so thrilled!!! The cat food (obtained from the vets) is Medi Cal Urinary SO by Royal Canin. She has no kibble or crunchies just a can a day of the Medi Cal. (I thought she would miss the variety of her previous cat food but apparently cats don't need variety and my cat happily eats her Medi Cal each day.) So there is hope if your cat has the same condition. I was so concerned that we were going to have a progressively bald cat but no longer!! Good luck to all you out there who are going through the same thing. But give it time to work - 3 months was what it took before the infection was flushed out.
post #29 of 29
It worked!! My cat had been licking her belly bare for nearly a year and then started on to the inside of her hind legs. The vet did tests and diagnosed Idiopathic cystitis - a common bladder infection.
She advised changing her diet to to make her pee more which would help flush out the infection. This was in November last year 2013. (She also had several teeth out at the same time. No chewing on small mammals had caused her top teeth to rot. Very common because of modern western indoor cat diet.) Nothing changed until a few weeks ago (3 months after the teeth removal and change of diet) when we noticed that she had stopped licking her belly and the fur was starting to grow back!!!!
Now she has a lovely covering of hair and we are so thrilled!!! The cat food (obtained from the vets) is Medi Cal Urinary SO by Royal Canin. She has no kibble or crunchies just a can a day of the Medi Cal. (I thought she would miss the variety of her previous cat food but apparently cats don't need variety and my cat happily eats her Medi Cal each day.) So there is hope if your cat has the same condition. I was so concerned that we were going to have a progressively bald cat but no longer!! Good luck to all you out there who are going through the same thing. But give it time to work - 3 months was what it took before the infection was flushed out.
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