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Itchy skin

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My new cat has a terrible skin problem. He itches all of the time and licks until his fur is gone and his skin is bright red. He was diagnosed with dermatitis mellitis (I know I spelled that wrong) but was given nothing to make it better. Well, that's not quite true, the vet gave him an injection of prednisone which worked wonderfully, but it has worn off. I don't think I want him to get frequent steroid shots because of the potentially dangerous side effects, so I'm looking for something else.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make his skin less itchy?
post #2 of 14
That just kills me...the vet essentially gave you the name for itchy irritated skin. The vet did not give you any advice on what may be causing it? The most common reasons are flea allergy which can be solved by a aggressive flea treatment. Then there's food allergy,allergy to some kind of chemical in the house,FIV,FELV and you can look into some underlying health problems with the kidneys and liver. The first things I would try is the flea, then I would make sure and wash any bedding in a mild detergent like the one they make for babies. If that fails, I would try a different food. But remember it may take a few weeks to note a change in the condition.
post #3 of 14
There are soothing shampoos you can try as well. Don't bathe too often though, in case it dries out the skin more.

Get a skin scraping done to make sure of the diagnosis.

I heartedly agree with Sandie about the food alergies.

Good luck and keep us posted.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insight! BTW...the vet did do a full blood work-up and everything was fine. Also, we have no fleas (knock on wood!), so I'm afraid it must be some other allergy. When we rescued Chester 3 months ago, his hair was almost completely missing from the shoulders down. Most has grown back though he still licks very very hard on certain spots. I have him on a mix of 50% Science Diet Senior (he's 8 years old and had diarrhea until we put him on this food) and 50% Science Diet Sensitive Skin Adult. Hopefully his skin problems will settle down soon, but he is so miserable in the meantime.

Can vets do allergy tests for cats like physicians do with humans so we can pinpoint the allergy?
post #5 of 14
Vets can pinpoint an allergy but can sometimes be a pain. If it is an inhaled or an enviromental allergy they test the same way. They can test for food allergy 2 ways. They can do selective testing where they put the cat on a diet and once the skin heals they add certain ingredients. However, they can also send out to a lab with bloodwork and some swabs. If he was an outdoor cat then he may have had fleas and it's only been 3 months, he could still be healing and getting over it. They do make anti itch sprays,shampoos and such you can buy at the pet store. I try not to recomend them only because people use it as a cure all and do not look at the underlying problem. You can try it and see if it helps him a little.
post #6 of 14
The latest Drs Foster and Smith catalog has tons of info about allergies. It came at the perfect time for us as our Shih Tzu has suffered for years from what looks like a heat rash, and he always licks his paws (two signs of allergies)

Anyway I went to their website to find some info for you, and it's featured on their main page, http://www.drsfostersmith.com
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the info! I will check out the DrFoster & Smith to see what they say. I think he is getting better...perhaps being completely inside and getting new food is helping. I will keep an eye on his fur and itchy spots and if they don't seem to clear up I will go back for more tests.

Thanks again!
post #8 of 14
My cat was also treated with Prednisone for the same problem with little result. The veterinarian also presscribed a special food made with venison and green peas, but at $25.00 for a 10 pound bag, and with 3 cats eating the same food, it's hard to afford.

Have you received any good info?
post #9 of 14
They want to give the prescription diet in order to narrow down the ingredient causing the problem. It is the only way to find out what is causing the problem. If it is just one cat then the that one cat needs to be in a seperate room for the 6 to 8 weeks while the special food is being given. That solves the problem of feeding 3 cats an expensive food. As for the shampoos...yes it help with the itching a little but it still leaves the underlying problem.
post #10 of 14
One of my kitties had "itchy" skin. After extensive testing and skin scrapings, all negative, I decided I didn't want to go the route of shots, so I followed the suggestions given by Anitra Fraiser in her book, "The New Natural Cat". I also use a Bach Flower remedy (Elm). Currently, she eats a high premium food, Lamb and Rice by Lick Your Chops. I chop fresh carrot in her food with each meal. Her skin has cleared up quite well and she doesn't itch or bite her skin like she use to. One more thing I did try in the beginning was an aggressive flea treatment for 3 months. (even though there was no evidence of fleas, my vet suggested I try it). Good luck with your kitty. I know how frustrating it is.

post #11 of 14
Itching is the result of immune system "over working" than it actually should. Steroids suppress the immune system & make it less sensitive to allergens, thus more susceptible to infections. That's what I don't like about them (of course there are times when their benefits outweigh their side effects)...
Auto-immune skin diseases & hypothyroidism might also be underlying causes for itching...Or the cat might have a self-trauma (cats self-groom themselves excessively when they are stressed/bored for example)& a resulting infection might occur as he/she tries to relieve the pain or itch yet make it more irritated. Ohh, 1 more possibilitiy, I have once read that ear mites, although rarely, may migrate to other parts of the body.

I have the book called "Heal Your Cat the Natural Way". It proposes to use a "combination of cedar, thyme & lavender; or rosemary & lavendar for massage to reduce inflammation"..It also proposes to add a)1 tsp of sesame seeds / b) spinach, asparagus & crab (1 tsp of each), to food daily. (Actually there are more suggestions; I can scan them if anyone is interested ??) [color=darkblue]
post #12 of 14
Last year Kitty had a similar problem and the vet said it was an allergy and gave her a Prednisone shot too. But it worked and she hasn't had a reaction this year. Do your cat like to sit by a certain open window? Maybe he is allergic to something outside that window. I planted different flowers outside Kitty's favorite window this year, which is what I think kept her from having a reaction this year. I could be wrong, it's just a thought. Hope he gets better soon.
post #13 of 14
One of our cats experienced a similar itchy skin problem when she was still a small kitten. She had been orphaned at about 3 or 4 weeks of age and started eating nothing but regular food early. Through trial and error we discovered that she was allergic to the dry food we were feeding her. We switched foods and the problem disappeared never to return. She is now 13 years old.
I suggest you investigate a food origin for the problem before subjecting the cat to other stressful treatment unless there is an obvious problem like fleas that might be the source of the itching and redness.
post #14 of 14
My beautiful Siamese has skin allergies. She scratches until the hair is gone and her skin bleeds. I took her to my vet who gave her meds that helped (incl. predisone- a steriod) but when the meds stopped so started the itchies again.

Finally, after my husband and I moved we located a Feline dermatologist who after one visit correctly diagnosed her allergy and gave her the appropriate meds. We have weened her down to one-half a pill a week now and she is doing just great! She is our angel I am so glad we found this vet for her. She still has her new regular doctor and hasn't had the need to go back to the dermie. Her med is cyproheptad 4mg. It only costs $5 at a regular pharmacy!

The dermie told us initially it might take several tries to find a med that worked. We were lucky it happened on the first try.

If you live in NJ email me and I will provide the docs name for you. Otherwise open the yellow pages and ask around for a feline specialist or feline dermie. Mine happened to be at a 24hr animal trauma center.

Good Luck...hope she finds relief fast....poor kitty. (ps I crush and mix my med with a teeny bit of canned tuna - eats it right up.)
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