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Question on skin allergy

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new here and I have a question on one of my cats. She's a 3 year old, spayed, tabby who has always had sensitive skin. Every time you touch her (especially by her butt) her skin "ripples" because its sensitive. She lost hair a few times so I took her to the vet and they gave her a shot and baytril which helped for a while. Lately she's started losing her hair by her thigh again from constant licking and it looks like she has dandruff. Does she need to go on the allergy medication again? And what could be causing this allergy? I read that it could be food but all my kitties have been on Iams Lamb and Rice their whole lives (on kitten food when they were babies). I thought this was a good food for them? Could a bath with some sort of moisturizer help her dandruff? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 14
Allergies could be caused by a flea bite allergy, food allergy and atopy which is an allergic condition that is caused by inhaling the allergen or absorbing it through the skin. These are the most common allergies seen in cats.

Now you should rule out the possibility of your cat having fleas. If there is none then you should rule out a food allergy which is easier to control by eliminating the allergen from the cat's food.

You could do a food elimination trial. This is done by giving the cat a food that consists of ingredients that she has never be exposed to and NOTHING else for 8 to 12 weeks.

There is an allergy panel your veterinarian can run to find out exsactly what it is she is allergic to. This test can be expensive but it is worth it to see what she is allergic to.

Before doing anything consult with your veterinarian about this.
post #3 of 14
Fred had similar skin problems and we tried everything. I was sure he did not have fleas, but treated him with Advantage anyway, because the vet said to. It cleared up immediately.
post #4 of 14
Yeah, fleas can be pretty sneaky!

I swear, I need to add this to my sig! Look for a shampoo and lotion system called Septiderm-V. I jsut used the shampoo and it worked wonders on my poor itchy, balding, dandruffy kitty. She actually liked getting the baths once she realised they made her skin feel better. It's a miracle cure - nothing the vet gave me worked at all!
post #5 of 14
My cat had the same thing for two years. His fur fell out in big patches. It looked like cigar burns, the poor baby. He has beautiful fur now, but we never knew what caused it.

We tried everything and for two years it was very bad, on and off Baytril, the special shampoos, the fish gel caps, vitamins, sprays...

Then we moved. And it went away. This was also about the time I switched to Iams Hairball Formula cat food. I don't believe it was his diet, I tried ever brand of food the vet kept recommending.

I am still baffled as to what exactly caused it, but my best bet is that it was an airborn allergy, or perhaps he was sensitive to chemicals in carpet? I had always lived in appartments that had carpet, now the whole house is tile (and my asthma and allergies went away, and my daughter's too!)I have heard when you get your carpets cleaned they use chemicals and molds build up and never go away.

I sure hope your kitty gets better soon.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
During the summer I put all of them on advantage but I hate putting it on Gabby (she's the one with the skin problems). She always cries when I put it on her, almost like I'm burning her skin. I asked my roommate who used to be a vet tech and she said it's probably because she has such sensitive skin and advantage has alcohol in it.
I think it's partly seasonal because it flares up during spring and summer. I'll try vacuuming more (unfortunately my entire home is carpet covered since its a condo) but I'll also try that shampoo for her dry skin and give my vet a call if it doesn't begin to get better in a couple of weeks. It's not too bad now but I just want to prevent it from getting bad.
post #7 of 14
Usually with allergies, you see hair thinning and redness on the belly, eyes, ears and feet. If she is just overgrooming her leg or legs, it may be a stress or anxiety problem. When cats are stressed or upset, they can overgroom.
With the dry skin, your best bet is to give her some omega 3 fatty acids or fish oils. When you bathe them, even with a shampoo made for skin, it takes most of the oils out and can actually do more damage. When you use a product for itchy skin to help relieve them, all you are doing is masking the symptoms. It's always better to try and find the cause and treat it that way.
If the vet gave you baytril, then I would guess the thought it may be an infection of some sort. Baytril is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
post #8 of 14
My cat actually didn't have an allergy, but a skin condition. The shampoo I use (Septiderm) is an antiseptic and moisturizes. For a while it was kinda yucky to pet her, but now she has really thick soft fur. I don't know a lot, but you can look at the website www.naturvet.com and click on the green trea products site and you'll find the Septiderm line. I'm not really sure what all it's good for, maybe Sandie can check it out and give us her opinion?
post #9 of 14
I have not been able to find the actual ingredients in the Septiderm V. All it tells you is that it has an antiseptic in it, that could mean anything.
Yes, these shampoos can help with itching due to many conditions. In your case, the vet has diagnosed a skin problem. What is the skin problem he thinks your cat has?
In all cases, the problem should be defined and then treat the symptoms. In many cases, if you can eliminate the cause, you can do away with shampoo's and other products.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think the reason he gave Gabby Baytril is because she itched her neck sooo much she opened up a wound that she kept scratching open every time it was about to heal. The baytril and the allergy shot helped it heal up. I think it's an allergy because she gets worse during spring and summer but on the other hand last spring was when Lila had her babies and this spring we have a new cat that adopted us a few months ago that is driving everyone nuts! I'll try some fish oil products on her skin.
She does have another problem though and that's sensitive ears. The vet said she just gets a lot of gunk in there that cause them to be sensitive and I need to clean them out regularly. But every time I do she always ends up in pain with her ears flat against her head and constantly shaking her head and scratching her ears. Couldn't this also be part of an allergy or are they two separate problems?
post #11 of 14
It could be 2 seperate problems or all in one from what you describe. It's very hard to diagnose unless you go ahead with the allergy testing through the vet. If they find she has a seasonal allergy, they will give her a series of shots to try and desensitise the body to that particular allergy. If they find it's a food allergy, they will try and find the particular ingredient causing the problem. If the testing is not an option for you, then you need to take her in for steroid shots during flare ups. With cats, it's not very common to have ear problems such as infections. There's generally 2 causes of ear problems, one is mites which is usually treated and you are fine unless your cat is exposed to another with mites. The other can be bacteria or yeast. The ear infections in cats have been linked to allergies.
If it might be caused by stress, I would try giving her some Dr Bachs rescue remedy and see if she stops licking those areas. Once she adjusts to the new situation, it should stop.
post #12 of 14
Eek...these are hard to type. Septiderm ingredients:

n-Alkyl (50% C14, 46% C12, 10% C16 -- hey that adds up to 106%!)dimethyl benzyl chloride 1%, Cetyl Trimethyl Ammonium Bromide 0.1875%, and Ethanol 0.35% in a compatible surfectant base.

I'm not exactly sure what was wrong with my cat. The vet gave her steroid spray for me to spray on her scratches. She had fleas and they made her itch so badly she was practically ripping her skin open. Even after I got rid of the fleas, her skin was so awful, and the cut areas had gotten infected and were grey and patchy. The steroid spray didn't seem to help, and the healing cuts still itched, so she kept scratching and making new cuts and spreading the infections. Ever since I started using Septiderm she is so happy and fluffy. I swear she almost sighs every time I bathe her in it.
post #13 of 14
Yeah, then I would keep using the septiderm-v. It sounds as if she had flea allergy dermatitis. Once they are bitten by even one flea, the reaction can go on for much longer. Septiderm is one of many antimicrobial shampoo's. Everything in it with the exception of the alchohol is an antimicrobial agent.
post #14 of 14
Yep, that's what it was. It did last forever! The whole flea incident was a nightmare!!!
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