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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4083
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 16 years experience.
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Hi there. I wrote in before about my 6 year old Tuxedo cat

Customer Question

Hi there. I wrote in before about my 6 year old Tuxedo cat named MiaMan. All of the hair has fallen out around his ears and eyes, and the exposed skin is swollen and bloody. I finally got him to the vet for a checkup and skin cultures because I thought it was mites or mange and to my surprise ALL of his tests came back negative!! So I spent $200 for a non-diagnosis. The vet said it could be allergies but I've have him for 3 years now (found him on the street and took him in) and this just started happening this Summer. I did just get a fence and he is spending lots of time outside now. My other orange tuxedo cat has a mild case of hair loss above his brow as well. They are both very itchy and scratch the bald spots. I am so sad for them. Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Scarlett :

Hi,

Dr. Scarlett :

It is hard to spend money and then not have a diagnosis at the end, but at least you have a better idea of what it is not!

Dr. Scarlett :

What treatments has your vet tried with MiaMan? Any steroid injections? Oral antibiotics? Diet change? Is he on any medications or topical flea preventatives?

Dr. Scarlett :

When you say "skin cultures" what, exactly, did the vet do?

Dr. Scarlett :

Has your other cat just started with the hairloss and itchiness or did both cats show the problem at about the same time?

Customer:

Hi Dr. Scarlett,

Customer:

The vet gave him a shot to take away the itchiness but that only lasted for 3 days. She said she tested him for ringworm & mange. I had some anti-inflammatory ear drops that I try to give him but he senses me coming and runs. I noticed the tiny bald spot on the orange cat first, but his never progresses any larger than a pea size. The black tuxedo cat started shortly after and just progressed to a much worse state than the orange cat. I do have some pics if you would like me to email them to you?

Dr. Scarlett :

Sure, I'm always up for pictures! Did your vet do a skin scrape? Was the shot depo-medrol or something else, do you know? Has any bloodwork been done? Are they on flea preventative? Have they always gone outside? How long have you had MiaMan?

Dr. Scarlett :

What food do you feed them?

Customer:

They do spend lots of time in my backyard, they were both found on the street and neutered! So they must have been dumped! i friended them and took them in they always come in and out and never leave the yard. I do have preexisting pine trees and other trees in my yard, and weeds. :( I fed them blue buffalo which they hated so I put them back on Purina Hairball formula. I hate purina but the cats and my yorkie love it. Why do they hate whats good for them? Yes, she did a skin scrape that took 3 weeks to come back and no results. I do think the shot was depo-medrol. And yes, they are on flea preventative. Pronyl OTC.

Customer:

I have had MiaMan for 3 years now.

Customer:

Freckles for one year now.

Dr. Scarlett :

Sorry for all the questions--skin cases can be really difficult! Do you recall if MiaMan scratched MORE after the depo injection? How long has he had the skin issues? Has he been tested for FeLV/FIV?

Customer:

Not a problem at all! I am just so grateful for your time! He scratched more before the shot, the shot did calm him down, then it wore off and he's scratching like crazy again! Yes, I'm sure he was tested for FelV/FIV when I first got him because I have two other cats and had him quarantined until he got the all clear from the vet. Oh wait, but Freckles the orange cat may not have been! I am calling them to ask now!

Customer:

He just started with the skin issues in May.

Customer:

So this is very fairly a new problem. Freckles was tested negative but I just found out MiaMan was never tested! I just made an appt for him for next Friday! Could this be the reason?

Dr. Scarlett :

Ok, 3 things come to mind with your description. 1. food allergy. Cats with a food allergy scratch excessively around their face and ears, particularly in the periauricular area--that area with less fur right in front of the ears. Steroids can help a little with food allergies, but not a lot. Treatment would be to get ALL the cats on a "novel protein" diet--one with ingredients to which they haven't been exposed. I would stick with a prescription food, since OTC foods are made on equipment that could be contaminated with the food allergen (be it chicken, corn, beef, wheat, etc, etc). There isn't a good test for food allergies (although some companies do blood testing), so trying a food is the best way to go. I would either try a venison & green pea or Prescription Diet Z/D (where the protein particles are broken up into very small particles).

Dr. Scarlett :

2. Demodex mites. These little suckers can be VERY hard to find on cats and are VERY itchy. The scratching can also lead to secondary bacterial infections. So antibiotics would be a good thing to discuss with your vet. Demodex mites in cats are contagious, so if both cats are scratching now, it would be worth just treating them and see if they respond. Lym Sulfur dips are said to be the more efficacious; I've had success with the few cases I've seen by using ivermectin. Here is a website with more info: http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1415

Dr. Scarlett :

3. auto-immune disorder. Eosinophilic plaques (http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=656) or something like pemphigus might cause these skin issues. These aren't contagious, but both should respond to depo-medrol. Usually I give one injection of the depo and then follow up with a second injection 2 weeks later. But almost always there is some response to the first injection (longer than 3 days).

Dr. Scarlett :

FeLV/FIV shouldn't cause a skin problem, but will decrease the immune system, making things like demodex or secondary bacterial infections more likely.

Customer:

I think it may be a food allergy because I found a kitten and she is now scratching around her chin a lot. Sigh.... When I did feed them Blue Buffalo, or Natural Balace I never had a problem. Can I get get the Z/D food over the counter?

Dr. Scarlett :

Truthfully, if the kitten is now scratching, too, Demodex is much more likely than a food allergy. It would be very unusual for all 3 cats to exhibit a sensitivity to the same food. But in order to do a good food trial, all the cats have to be eating the same food so the affected cat doesn

Dr. Scarlett :

doesn't sneak any "forbidden" food. No the Z/D is by prescription only. Your vet likely carries Z/D (by Hills) or the Royal Canin equivalent or can order some pretty easily.

Dr. Scarlett :

If all 3 are scratching, I would ask your vet to skin scrape all of them--maybe she will get lucky and find mites on the kitten, since she just started the scratching. Otherwise I would try treating them all for demodex.

Customer:

Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate ALL of your time and help!!!

Dr. Scarlett :

You're welcome. Hope something works!

Customer:

PS I was trying to send you the picture but I am at work, the pic is on my phone and my work email is taking forever to receive it. Do you have an e-mail address I can send it to? I promise I wont spam or bug you!!!

Dr. Scarlett :

The site won't allow me to give out personal e-mails. I will switch this to Q&A which will come to your e-mail. You can reply to it then or send it from home.

Dr. Scarlett, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4083
Experience: I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 16 years experience.
Dr. Scarlett and 4 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
Hi Kimberlee,
Got the pictures. That area is the periauricular area and does look a lot like a food allergy site. That doesn't mean it couldn't be something else, but I would try the novel protein diet and ask your vet about putting him on oral prednisolone temporarily, since the depo injection didn't last very long.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr. Scarlett,


 


I also realize that I just started feeding him new treats about 3 months ago, so this could very well be the problem. I did go to Petco last night and get duck and pea Natural Balance Limited Ingredients cat food. The entire house is now on it! And yes, I will still get him checked out next Friday. You have been more than helpful and I am very thankful!


 


Many, many thanks - Kim

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
That is fine to start with, but do be aware that there can be other protein contaminants besides the duck. If the food is made on equipment that makes other flavors of food, when the next batch is made of the duck the other proteins can get into the food. But worth starting with.

Good luck!
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Miaman. How is everything going?

Dr. Scarlett

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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett
Veterinarian
4083 Satisfied Customers
I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 16 years experience.