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Allergy Testing Information Wanted

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am a new member to this list. I have a cat that has an allergic reaction to something, we just don't know what. She scratches around her head and neck area constantly. She scratches until her fur is gone and it starts to bleed. We are at the point where the vet says the next step is to draw blood and have it tested (at Greer Labs in New York) to determine what she is allergic to. Has anyone here ever had a cat with scratching that became bad enough to warrant an allergy test? If your answer is yes, what was the outcome of the test? Did you have to give your cat injections? Did it work at stopping the itching?

post #2 of 17
Well.... I can give you some info on my experience. My cat has bad allergies. He licks himself constantly, which turns into sores on his body that he licks each day until they bleed. He also acts like his throat is irritated inside. At first the vet gave him a shot of cortisone.(something I dont recommed doing very often), he cleared up but this continued to be an ongoing problem. My vet them put him on a special food for a few months to rule out a food allergy. That didnt work. Then he took some blood and discovered that he was highly ellergic to dust mites and pollens. So I bought the best vaccum on the planet, the Dyson animal vaccuum. Tried to keep the dust mites under control. He would get better for a few months than get worse again. But then he started acting like he had an upper respitory infection or something. He started acting like he constantly had hairballs, but he didnt. (keep in mind all of this is over the course of 2 years or so). He got so bad that my vet decided to test him for Bartonella. He came back a strong positive. He says alot of cats have this which aggrevates any condition that is going on. We put him on meds for 21 days. Bartonella didnt cause his allergies but makes them worse. Bartonella is transmitted by fleas they think. He also recommends flea prevention every month, and feliway for the home. (the plug ins) he says allergies can also be due to stress. The feliway naturally calms the cats down. I do recommend you getting the blood test and starting from there. It can be frustrating but you take one step at a time and rule other things out along the way. Now my cat is going in for a chest x ray and they want to look down his throat to check for polyps. Dont know if any of this helps you but I wish you luck with your kitty. Allergies can get worse over time......I am told by my vet. Better to rule things out before your cat gets any worse.....
post #3 of 17

Here is my experience with cat scratching. My cornish rex, Zander, also has (I think yet to be proven) an allergy and scratches until welts appear on his neck as well. After nine monthes with my regular vet eliminating food allergies as well as some enviromental factors such as kitty litter I took him to an animal dermatologist for testing. Unfortunately we couldn't do the testing as the dermatologist took some slides from the welts and determined that there was a staph infection that needed to be cleared up first. We don't know if he is itching from the staph infection or if he got the infection from the scratching. So he is on antibiotics right now and the dermatologist gave me a dermatological spray that I put on his neck and let soak in (I cut up a sock so he would lick the spray off) and let me tell you his neck has cleared up and he isn't scratching as much and a little bit of down is growing back. I love that spray. I should be going back soon for testing if we determine that the scratching wasn't from the staph. Be careful of the open welts and make sure you clean them carefully. I think the staph came from the open welts.

post #4 of 17
Firstly, have you done an elimination diet to rule out food allergies? If not, wait on the test and do an elimination diet. This will rule out food allergies.

If your cat doesn't react differently to having a new food, then I would run the blood test.

Napolean has food allergies and I did run a blood test on him, not that it helped because his results didn't come back as anything special. Napolean itches his ears so they get gunky and scratches his chin.
post #5 of 17
About a year ago my cat starting scratching her neck bald. I took her to the vet who gave her a shot of cortisone. I think she was having a bad reaction to the Hartz flea medication I put on her. I would NEVER use any over the counter flea medication again. As it turns out, she doesn't get fleas anyway, so any flea medication for her is unnecessary.
post #6 of 17
Chester's scratching, chewing, and licking were so bad that we had a blood test for allergies conducted. It was found that he was allergic to 3 types of mold, Timothy grass, and dog dander. We were given syrum to inject, but were not able to get Chester to cooperate with the injections.
post #7 of 17
First you should remove the collar. A lot of cats are allergic to the inner-lining of the collar. So that could be the culpit

I never had an allergy test done on my cats because I could always somehow find the culpit myself. Good luck to you, though.
post #8 of 17
I have done blood testing on animals and myself all yeilding little to no help cept for my dalmation / springer cross .. for her it gave half of what she was allergic too ... the rest of the family it did nothing ..

Muscle testing has worked for us
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your responses.

A little background. Bella is 8 months old. She looks like a Siamese, but her mother was a solid black cat. Don't know who the father cat is. She has had cortizone shots in the past, which stopped her scratching, but only for a week or so. She has been on a low allergen food (ZD) since April....still no change. Berfore that, I fed her Purina kitten chow. At first, my vet thought it was an allergic reaction to Advantage. She had been given her first application of Advantage. They had me bath her well to wash it off. She didn't get anymore for awhile and the stratching never ceased. She does still get Advantage monthly. Also, Bella does not wear a collar of any kind. I've read that Siamese cats are one of the ones that are more likely to suffer from allergies. Now I know she's not pure, but the siamese gene is definitey strong. I've also heard that stress can cause allergies. She is in my parent's house with my 2 other cats Zan (f) and Ansel (m). There is also my mom's cat and my grandmother's dog. Zan, for some reason or another, is always after Bella, beating her up.

What is muscle testing? Is this for allergies?

post #10 of 17
Muscle testing is for allergies, they put them under anesthesia, shave a little patch and inject different allergens and wait for a reaction. They then counter the reactions with a cortizone shot so the cat doesnt go into shock or anything. It sounds like she has inhaled/physical allergies so it would be worth looking into [rather than running a blood test].
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by Plebayo
Muscle testing is for allergies, they put them under anesthesia, shave a little patch and inject different allergens and wait for a reaction. They then counter the reactions with a cortizone shot so the cat doesnt go into shock or anything. It sounds like she has inhaled/physical allergies so it would be worth looking into [rather than running a blood test].
No the muscle testing I am talking about is based on kinesis ?? ( sp) ... It is done awake and the offending substance is placed on or near the animal and it wakes to humans ( likely only a holistic vet or someone with natupathic or kinisiology will know)...

My dog is doing far better since this testing was done and we found many allergies or as my vet calls them intolerences... I too have it done before using new supplements..
post #12 of 17
I had to have this done with Leeloo like a year and a half ago, she suddenly started scratching herself underneath her chin until there was no hair left and there were deep scratch scabs/wounds all over it scared me to death! I didn't know how it happened. I went to the vet and we did all the blood work, he tried to give her cat valium becuase he said it might be caused by stress which I didn't understand and after seeing how sluggish she became on the medication I didn't feel comfortable giving it to her anymore. I took her again and he gave me some drops to put on her food and it still didn't work, she continuously got dark red bumps all under her chin that she would scratch and make bleed. I asked for advice on this forum and I heard that cats could be allergic to certain plastics in their collars so I took off her collar entirely and then someone reccommended to me pau d'arco tea for a natural remedy. I soaked a washcloth in it and would wipe down the area a couple times a day (I even let her drink it a little)

I don't know if it was simply removing the collar or the tea or both of them, or the drops from the vet finally working (I think they were called 'derm caps' or something I dont remember sorry!) because I continued to put them on her food even though I really saw no results at first. either way the problem never came back and I never found out exactly what caused it or exactly what healed it!!!
post #13 of 17
My opinion is the Science Diet Z/D is not worth a plug nickel. Especially in cats with food allergies. My Liberty is very allergic to fish and it is the most common food allergy in cat. However, I have heard of a cat that was actually very allergic to chicken. (Purina cat food is junk food for animals.) You need to switch to a high quality single protein source food. If it is not chicken that is the problem, then both California Natural and Felidae make good dry food that is a single protein source. My Grandparents had a cat once they tested for allergies. It turned out she was severely allergic to grass. It didn't take much to cause her to pull out her hair until she was bloody and raw. Start keeping a diary of her habits and reaction you might be able to see a pattern. For an example, I realized by looking at the pattern of hair lose on Liberty that she is allergic to cat litter. I switched her to Feline Pine and she has been much healthier. It takes time and energy to figure out an allergy. -kd
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK….so I put a call in to my vet’s office about Bella’s constant scratching. When my call was returned, the doctor I spoke to told me that she doesn’t know of any allergy tests specifically for cats. She said they have them for dogs, but not cats. This was after her husband, another vet at this office, was the one who told me an allergy test was the next thing to do after I asked him what step we take next. I didn’t think to tell her this. She said maybe I should consider a vet who specializes in dermatology. She said that she knows of only 2 in the state of Louisiana and you have to have a referral. Other than that, there is LSU school of vet medicine. She told me I could search the internet for any others there might be, but I’m not sure how. I took a stab at it yesterday with no luck. How would I find a list of vets (state certified) in the state of Louisiana? When I mentioned that Bella has been on a low allergy food since April and I’ve seen no results, she told me it takes at least 4 – 6 months to rule it out. So, until October, she stays on the ZD food. There was one person who mentioned ruling out cat litter. How long was it recommended you use a different litter to rule that out and what did you use during this time? I use Fresh Step scoopable litter. There was also a post in which someone mentioned a spray and that they cut a sock to put over their cat’s neck to keep the cat from licking the spray. What was this spray?

What was the hair loss pattern on Liberty? Bella is only losing her hair around her neck and under her chin. Her litter lower lip is now completely bare of fur. She licks so much she has caused all the hair to disappear.

I’m at the point where I really don’t know what to do next.

post #15 of 17
Z/D is designed to be used for 8-12 weeks as an elimination diet ... I would see about a feline specialist or a vet only dealing with cats
post #16 of 17
There is an allergy test for cats. My vet charges $300 for it. Liberty lost her hair on her belly, legs and bottom because of cat litter. What type of food dishes are you using? The chin is a common plce to lose hair because of a food dish allergy. Plastic is the worst to do it but ceramic will do it to. I always recommend stainless steel because it is the thing least likely to cause a reaction. If this seems to really help then you need to go to a stainless steel litterbox too. You just buy a large restaurant style cooking pan about the size of your average litterbox. -kd
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thursday night, I made a phone call to my ex sister-in-law who lives about 2 1/2 hours away. She has worked for vet clinics for many years now. I explained to her what was going on with Bella and all the scratching. After we talked awhile, she asked me where she was scratching. I told her it was the head and neck area. (Come to think of it, isn't that about the only place a cat can scratch? They can't scratch with their front legs, at least I don't think I've ever seen that. Every other place on their body that they can't scratch is taken care of with licking and biting.) Anyway, she said she knew exactly what it was. She told me I was not going to believe her but that she knew what it was. She said it was her hormones and that they see this often with cats that come into their clinic. She put some medecine (ovaban) in the mail for me yesterday and said that if she is right, I should see results within 7 days. I asked if this could harm her in any way and she said no. Even if this doesn't stop the scratching, she'll be ok. She said she was going to tell the doctor what I told her and that if he had anything additional to tell me about it, she would include a note in the package. I should get it today, but maybe Monday. She said that many vets who can't quite figure out what is wrong with a cat where scratching is concerned just tell that client that it is allergies. We'll see what happens.

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