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Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10146
Experience:  12 year of veterinary experience in feline surgery, medicine and behavior
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My cat has bloody sores and patches of hair missing all over

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My cat has bloody sores and patches of hair missing all over his body. swaped food many diffrent times (like vet told me) It`s been a year and hes only getting worse. Now his butt is red and irritated w/hair loss. He is a inside cat. the patches of missing hair look like they have been shaved.(but haven`t)He is the only inside animal. the only thing that made him almost better was a prednisone shot a year ago.What could this be? how can i treat this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Christian K. replied 8 years ago.


This is Dr. Christian. Because it improved on steroids it is almost certainly allergies that are causing the problem. Allergies can occur to anything in the environment (food, dust, pollen, grass, trees, cats, etc.). Unfortunately, these allergies can occur at any age and can be difficult to determine what they are allergic to without testing. In most cases medications are necessary to control the symptoms so that infection and hair loss does not occur. Even food allergies are still possible if you have not tried a prescription food. Over the counter brands commonly have the same ingredients and therefore if your cat is allergic to one of those he will still itch. Here are some thoughts:

  • Food allergy can be difficult to diagnose. He can develop the allergy at any point in his life to any part of its food, even if he has been eating the same food all along. Common allergens are corn, wheat, beef, chicken, and whey. I would recommend switching him to a prescription diet. These diets are made specifically for food allergies. I'm sure your vet can prescribe one of these diets. Examples include Science diet z/d (one of my favorites), and royal canine IVD. The key is strict control of what he eats. The diets can take 4-10 weeks to actually work so you'll have to be patient. In addition, he cannot get any other foods at all, including treats. If he is reacting to treats it will look like the diet is not working and you've wasted your money on a prescription food. If after 10 weeks the itching has not improved then it's probably not food allergy. If the itching is better then you can add one treat back in to his diet. If hestarts reacting again then you know to never feed that treat again. The prescription diets are more expensive but in this case I think it would be worth it to avoid constant and miserable skin problems.
  • Allergy testing can be done to determine what exactly he is allergic to and then a series of shots can be given over a period of months to reduce the severity of his allergies. While a little more costly (you can check with your vet about the cost) in the long run it is safer than steroids and can be very effective. I once had a cat that was allergic to mice plus about 20 other things. The allergy shots did well for him.

  • Steroid Injections (prednisone) from your vet may be necessary for temporary relief. Long term steroids can be detrimental so you want to use this as little as possible.

Unfortunately, other than diet, there is not much to be done at home because antihistamines do not help cats much. I would start with a prescription diet if you have not done that already and then talk to your vet about allergy testing. If you don't want to do allergy testing then steroids can get him some relief while the diet starts to work. If you have allergy testing done he can't have the steroids because it ruins the testing.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I have tried the science diet z/d and it didn`t work. I also bought other special foods like the science diet without the whey,chicken and other ingredients. He is a very picky eater. I have had him for 2yrs and he has never wanted treats or can food. Is there any cremes like destin or i can put on his bottom or bloody sores? just until i get him to vet Monday? thanks,Jennifer

Expert:  Dr. Christian K. replied 8 years ago.
You can try triple antibiotic ointment but honestly cats are so good at licking it off that is rarely effective at all. I wouldn't use desitin or creams that have steroids in them for that reason. Since you've ruled out the diet issue then it may be necessary to keep him on steroid injections for relief or explore the option of allergy testing. I've had some cases where periodic steroid injections were the option of choice. While the steroid side effects can shorten a cats life, in those cases the quality of life was more important.