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Cat has SEVERE itching on face & ears...HELP!

April 14th, 2008, 03:25 PM
I have a 2 yr old calico, Roxxi, and have exhausted all of my resources trying to help her . . . thought I'd give you guys a try!

I've taken her to the vet a million times, she's been checked for ear mites (it truly looks like a classic sympton, but no ear mites to be found). We've put her on hypoallergenic food, we've done Frontline, we've tried natural ways with fish oil, flea bath, etc. She itches herself soo bad her "eyebrows", ears, etc bleed, become swollen and she is desperately uncomfortable. The only thing that has been keeping her happier is she has been receiving cortizone shots once a month for the past 4 months or so. Around that third week or so, it wears off and she goes at it again! Now my problem is that the shots are working as well anymore. We had put a cone on her recently, however I woke up one morning and she had worked herself out of it and there was blood splatter everywhere . . .it's just killing me watching her like this. The vet suggested doing the whole blood work, skin test, allergy test, etc, but I just am not able to do that financially (we have 2 other cats that by the way, are just fine) Plus, he said it may not really help her scratching in the long run.

I am at a loss. A friend of mine came over the other day and noticed she had worms - which we have now treated. Anyway, she's had cats that are allergic to fleas and thinks this might be an answer. Again, the vet has checked previously for fleas, etc (which I've read is pretty easy to diagnose) and it didn't seem to be it.

It's almost come to the point of her absolute suffering and I just don't want to see her suffer anymore.

Sooo . . . any suggestions would be so GREATLY appreciated!!


April 14th, 2008, 05:21 PM
Yikes, sounds like your kitty is having a rough time. Feline scabies/mange came to mind, but the fact that your other cats are fine makes it less likely (it's easily transmitted cat-to-cat).

So the next things to address might be environmental allergies, and also diet again. Is she an indoor only cat? Have you started using any new cleaners, cat litter, laundry detergent, room spray/deodorizers, glade plug-ins or anything whatsoever that you can think of? Sometimes it can even be something you've used before with no problem that the cat develops a sensitivity to over time, so this can be a tough one to figure out. I try to use the most natural cleaners and detergents possible, no perfumes. Scented cat litter can be particularly bad.

As for diet, I know you mentioned a hypoallergenic diet (vet prescribed, no doubt), but these aren't always a guarantee that it isn't diet related. In fact, they usually contain poor quality ingredients that are as easily allergenic as anything else. For instance, here's what's in a bag of dry Hill's Z/D:

Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Hydrolyzed Chicken, Soybean Oil (preserved with BHA, propyl gallate and citric acid), Powdered Cellulose, ......

The first ingredient is a grain, and a really lousy one at that (a low nutrition by-product of rice milling). Then there's the use of BHA as a preservative, which most pet food companies have stopped using because of the possibility that it's carcinogenic. Powdered Cellulose is wood pulp! Personally, I wouldn't even feed this food to the crows. I'm not sure what paricular brand it is that you're feeding, but the prescription ones all tend to be variations on a theme (a hydrolized or novel protein and then a bunch of filler). The best thing would be to start feeding a single novel protein wet food, no grains. I recommend researching a raw diet, if you're up for it, but in the meantime some brands of canned food to look for are Innova EVO 95% duck or venison, or Nature's Variety Instinct in either duck, venison, rabbit or lamb.

Even if it isn't an actual food allergy you're dealing with, it's important to make sure your kitty is eating the best diet possible so that her immune system can try to rebalance itself. Here are some links for you to check out:
A highly processed, grain-based diet fed to an animal designed to thrive on a meat-based, fresh food diet is very likely to produce symptoms of ill-health over time. Diets to address disease most frequently deal with the symptoms that are the result of a lifetime of inappropriate food, not the true cause of their symptoms. The optimum diet for a dog or a cat should closely resemble their natural diet.

A diet balanced heavily toward grain promotes insulin production and the production of inflammatory chemicals. Over-production of insulin makes it hard for the body to maintain its correct weight, and can lead to diabetes and other problems. An overabundance of inflammatory chemicals means more aches and pains.

April 14th, 2008, 06:11 PM
What kind of bowl is your cat eating/drinking out of? Some cats are sensitive to plastic, or I would imagine certain types of ceramic are not good, as they can contain heavy metals such as lead. You could try switching the bowl to stainless steel if you have not already. good luck and i hope you find a solution to your cat's problem!

April 14th, 2008, 06:22 PM
I have one cat that has always had ear struff. I posted it here : I am not sure if she is has mites but I am thinking that mites are not the issue. at this time. i have a vet appointemnt 930 am wednesday. I will let you know what is up.

My cat does not like to be touched on the nose. eyes or ears, n=basiclay anywhere iob her head.

April 14th, 2008, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the advice! My vet did prescribe Hill Z/D and it just wasn't making a difference. I went online and checked out the wet varieties, so I'm gonna give that a shot. Sure would be nice if it's it :)

Also, I have changed the bowl before. Right now they have ceramic, but I was using glass . . . maybe I'll go back to that or stainless steel.

Again, thanks!

April 14th, 2008, 06:28 PM
hi there.

just my two cents' worth, but maybe you could ask your vet for a prescription for hydroxyzine. it is an anti-itch medication (pill) that would at least give your kitty some relief while you find out what the root of the problem is. i use hydroxyzine for winter excema, and a friend of mine has a dog with allergies on his paws who also takes it (that's how i know animals are also able to use it). this past winter was really bad for my itchy skin, (i was clawing myself 'til i bled) and i found some blessed relief using this medication.

tracy :)

April 14th, 2008, 06:43 PM
another thought, your cat could be sensitive to something else, what type of cleaning agents do you use? Perhaps the dish detergent to wash the bowl is the problem, or even laundry detergent, or whatever you use to wash floors. Some people are sensitive to these things, so seems like they could certainly affect our furry friends who wash themselves with their tongues. It doesn't sound like this will be easy to figure out... one note of fleas too, is that even if they are not seen on the cat, they can still be in the environment. they bite the cat and jump off, hide around the house.

before i edit this i see sugarcatmom had some of the same advice, sorry, in a rush tonight! I second what she said, though, and consider your cleaning agents or other chemicals you use in the house.

April 14th, 2008, 07:20 PM
Poor Roxxy, the more she scratches the more it itches. It becomes a cycle of torture. I would have these tests done by your vet to see what she is allergic to?? I don't understand why your vet does not think these tests would help with the diagnosis?? I think they would !! I am sure he would let you do monthly payments. If I was you, I would look for another vet, this one seems useless. But I'm sure he is ready to take your money.

April 14th, 2008, 09:20 PM
I would have these tests done by your vet to see what she is allergic to?? I don't understand why your vet does not think these tests would help with the diagnosis??

Allergy testing can help identify inhalant triggers, but is unreliable for food allergies.

Blood Testing: Many owners and veterinarians attempt to look to other tests to diagnose food allergies. Blood tests such as the RAST test or the ELISA test can be performed to screen for food allergies. In addition, intradermal skin testing could also be performed. Despite the fact that these tests are routinely performed and used as a diagnostic aid, there is no evidence that blood tests are accurate for the diagnosis of food allergies. Veterinary dermatologists insist that there is no merit in these tests whatsoever in the diagnosis of food allergies. The only way to accurately diagnose food allergies is with a food trial as detailed above. While the intradermal skin testing is excellent for diagnosing atopy (inhalant allergies) it is ineffective for food allergies. While the ELISA and to a lesser extent the RAST test can be used to help in the diagnosis of atopy, they have no benefit in diagnosing food allergies. In my review of all the current books and articles on veterinary dermatology and allergies, I could not find a single dermatologist that endorsed anything other than the food trial as an effective diagnostic aid. If you want to diagnose and treat food allergies you must do a food trial.

April 14th, 2008, 10:36 PM
Good info about diagnosing food allergies. I went to the pet store today and checked out the canned food a little confused by which is best. I think I'm going to try another store and start a food trial, along with keeping up with Frontline.

I'm also gonna go through my cleaning products and see what I can do - I figure getting rid of toxins can never be bad, right?!

Anyway, thanks for helping out . . . I'll keep you posted as to how she's doing!:thumbs up

April 14th, 2008, 11:40 PM
You've gotten some really good replies already! But I would like to add that my Fagan who has a severe flea allergy also takes it out on his skin and fur, and my house and cats are all flea free. All it take is one flea, brought in on clothing, another animal, your shoes.... just ONE bite to start an allergic reaction. And even though you may treat your pets, it is also necessary to treat your house and car as well (and I'm thinking maybe spray my neighbours who don't treat their animals when they come in!!:frustrated::rolleyes:). I use a spray from the vets office called Siphotrol that lasts 6-7 months. Fagan also has to get the cortisone type shots when his symptoms get bad, but I have been able to stretch out the time in between with some natural/holistic meds on the advice of my vet. (Also talk to your vet because I recently found out that the oral steroids are actually safer for them if they have to have it for a prolonged period of time- the shots have a lot of side effects and are not recommended for long term or repeated use. Instead of Fagan getting the shots all the time, we do a 3 day dose of prednisone that I have on hand here at home.... also cuts down on vet visits.) I know how frustrating it is when you feel you've exhausted every possible solution and your poor kitty still goes back to scratching and biting. I've also eliminated corn and chicken from their diet and that seems to also be helping. But I have been given topical creams, allergy pills, he had to wear the cone and we even had a skin biopsy done, and it just seems to be a trial and error type of illness.

I hope you are able to find something that works for your kitty too. :goodvibes::pray:

April 14th, 2008, 11:52 PM
Do they not have any lotions? I know that sounds weird but my old cat casey itched alot to the point we had to shave sectian spots (well the vet did) and we applyed cream....after a few months she was fine and we have no idea what caused the itching.

In the mean time I would suggest nail caps or soft paws of something so shes not using her nails to scratch to stop a pit of the damage to her skin, the last thing you want is her getting an infection...I sincerly hope she feels better soon:pray:

April 15th, 2008, 01:36 AM
Are your cats indoor only? While looking @ environmental allergens you also need to consider what is in your & surrounding yards, ie pesticides, fertilizers, flower/tree pollen

Does the itching only occur during certain times of the year or is it all the time? It is possible the dust kicked up by your furnace is causing an allergic reacton, or the extra-dry air while the furnace is on is causing this.

Does the itching start after your cats' yearly vaccines?

My :rip::cat: Mischief had "the itchies" really bad similar to what you are describing but only in the shoulder area, she was an indoor/outdoor & we were living in a house w/the furnace only on in winter. She would get "the itchies" in usually between oct-mar every year. This coincided with her vaccines & the furnace coming on plus fall/spring allergy seasons. I didn't know about allergy testing at that time so we just did the cortisone shots once per year with the vaccines & I'd put a homemade sweater on her so she couldn't damage her skin while scratching.

My Duffy who grew up w/Mischief & was exposed to the same enviroment/bowls/water/food/everything, only had a very mild itch reaction compared to Mischief who would scratch holes in herself :sad:. Since moving to the apt - no furnace (baseboard heat only) & rarely gets to go outside in the grass, Duffy has had no "itchies" these past 3 years :shrug:

:fingerscr you find the trigger for your girl :goodvibes:

April 15th, 2008, 07:03 AM
When I first got Jasper and he was eating cat food with grain in it, he would scratch his ears and eyes to the point of bleeding. When I changed his food to grain free, he stopped. He does well on Wellness, grain free, Go Natural, grain free, Fromm's 4star, canned, and Orijen.

April 15th, 2008, 10:10 AM
Roxxi is an indoor cat only, however I did try to make her go outside a little bit hoping it would distract her from itching :thumbs up- but to no avail! As I said before, I had tried the Hill's Z/D, but I'm going to try the canned food without any grains - - - it's got to be the answer! It is kind of nice today because the cortizone shot has kicked in, so she's happy and playful for the first time in a while! She's just kind of funny looking with all of the scabs and bald patches!!:cry:

April 20th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Hey again!

Roxxi is feeling better with the coritizone shot "kicking in", but she's still scratching - just not as bad. Any ideas for immediate relief to help with the itching??

Any help is MUCH apprecitated!