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Cat with Possible Allergies - Looking for Advice

  1. #1

    Cat with Possible Allergies - Looking for Advice

    Hi everyone! I have two 4 year old cats from the same litter that I adopted back in 2014. Just this past year, Irie (the larger of the two) started itching/rubbing her eyes and face really badly, to the point where her inner eyelids were very pink and puffy from the irritation and covering a portion of her eye for periods of time. I took her to the vet after the first time I noticed her rubbing badly. The vet started with an eye ointment, then an eye drop, then sent me to an eye doctor/ophthalmologist (yes, to my surprise - there is such thing as an animal ophthalmologist!)



    The clinic where the ophthalmologist worked ended up having an allergy specialist as well, and the two of them proposed the idea that maybe her EYE isn't the issue, but its her rubbing caused by itchiness that is irritating the eye. SO, they suggested maybe an allergy.

    At the earlier vet visits, he ended up putting her in a small cone to prevent her from rubbing her eyes and face to the point of doing damage. She has been in and out of the cone for short stints to stop her from rubbing really badly on the "itchier" days. She is able to eat, drink, use the litterbox, and play in it. She is able to bathe about 90% of her body - it prevents her from grooming some small areas and does not allow her to rub her ears.



    We went back to her regular vet and she was put on a special diet of Royal Canin (rabbit & pea formula) to rule out a food allergy. My other cat, Cinder, is eating this food as well since it is impossible to stop them from eating out of each other's bowls! She seems to like it as well and her fur feels really soft so it can't hurt! The vet also had me start giving Irie 1/2 of a Zyrtec crushed up in her food twice a day.


    When this didn't seem to help the itching, he put her on Prednisone - a very small dose (5mg) starting with 1/2 twice a day, tapering to 1/2 once a day, then eventually 1/2 every other day until it is no longer needed. I have also switched them to an unscented/low dust litter in hopes that may help too.

    We are at the 1/2 once a day and she still seems to be itchy on occasion. She is in the cone at the moment and I want to give her a break but I am so terrified that she will still be rubbing! It is causing a lot of anxiety and I find myself worrying about Cinder as well, that she will start itching. I work a full time job (luckily nearby by home) but I find myself unable to focus at work and I feel guilty for being away from the house. It seems silly but it's causing a lot of stress and anxiety and guilt.

    Has anyone dealt with a cat with allergies? Any tips or advice? Anyone with experience giving their cat Prednisone or other steroids (I am worried about possible side effects)?
    Or even help on how to feel less anxious while we sort out what's going on with her? It is just me in my house so it's tough sometimes to do it alone.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,017
    I suggest you find a vet teaching school or hospital and take her there. They will give you answers. They are students working under highly qualified vets and they see a lot of cases your regular vet hasn't been involved with. They won't stop looking until they have answers for you. You have nothing to loose

    Pred is a steroid and will compromise the immune system. Should not be kept on it any longer than necessary. If anyone suggests cytopoint or atopica (cortosporin) do not let them give her either of these drugs, it will stop the itch but probably kill your animal. Read some of the horror stories on this drug in this forum
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,269
    Welcome to the forum Katie. You came to the right place for help.

    I have heard of veterinary ophthalmology. All veterinary colleges have a wide range of specialties (though not as many as there are for humans). I used to have a cat who had a lot of allergies and was treated by a dermatologist.

    My experience with an allergic cat was very different, but had some similarities. Wilbur (RIP) was licking the top layer of his skin off and trying to amputate two toes on one paw. It got so bad I took him to a different vet, fearing he would have to wear a cone. That vet knew within minutes his problem was allergies and ordered a 6-week food allergy test. That did not show any changes, so the next step was giving Wilbur a steroid shot every three months. At first the dose was too high and caused Wilbur to sneeze. Later Wilbur got lower amounts of prednisone, which stopped the sneezing, but the vet wanted him to start taking safer injections that would be customized for his specific allergies. I agreed to have him blood tested for many allergens and treated by a regional hospital's dermatology department. Wilbur's treatment plan was weekly customized shots at home and Hill's d/d (also the rabbit and pea flavor). Luckily I also had no problem with my other cat eating the prescription diet and never had to give Wilbur pills. The treatments worked, but his allergies (yes, this is possible) included other cats and humans.
    Keep your cats inside and safe.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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