Welcome! I would be happy to assist you. I am a 2003 graduate from UC Davis and a Medical Director of a veterinarian practice.
I am sorry to hear about Saratoga.
Generally, the first concern is always for flea allergy hypersensitivity. You may not even see a single flea, and that could be the primary problem. So, any time allergies are addressed, every cat must be on good flea control. No garbage stuff from the petstore, excluding a few products like Frontline for Cats or Advantage. The best is often a choice from the vet office.
For any outdoor cat, dermatophytes are a very common cause. That is, a fungal infection. If there are any lesions on the skin that look like ringworm
(circular patchy areas of hair loss that are sometimes inflamed and scabby), your vet will recommend testing.
Also, very common is food
allergies and environmental allergies. Food AllergiesEnvironmental Allergies (Atopy)
Remember, if the skin is already inflamed or there are any hotspots to suggest infection, the pruritus (itchiness) will be worse from the infection. The secondary infection must be treated with the appropriate oral antibiotics and/or anti-yeast medication from the vet. Otherwise, the rest of the information and treatment is worthless.
With food allergies, you must pick a diet that has a new carbohydrate and protein your cat has never seen.
Examples would usually include:
Science Diet D/D formulas (ask your vet)
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic formulas (ask your vet)
Dick van Patton “Natural Balance” (usually at PetCo stores)
You must do an exclusive food trial (no other foods or treats) for at least 2-3 months to know if helpful.
Lastly, the quickest relief from allergies will be a steroid shot or oral steroids from your vet.
Sometimes, antihistamines can help a little bit. You can give Benadryl to a cat (easier said than done). A ¼ tablet of 25mg benadryl for a cat 6-8 pounds, and a ½ tablet if around 12 pounds. Up to every 12 hours.
I hope you did use a quality flea control product, and none of the cheap Hartz or Sargeant's. many cats can have reactions to these products, and actually exacerbate the problems.
Definitely, sounds well worth veterinary examination. Although allergies are suspicious, a blood test including a thyroid level would be wise (elevated thyroid hormone called hyperthyroidism
can cause skin problems like this).
Hope that info helps
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