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I have a ten year old female cat. She is an indoor cat and…

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Hi Pearl!...

Hi Pearl! I have a ten year old female cat. She is an indoor cat and never goes outdoors. She is our only pet. She has lost the hair around her eyes and has a red patch by her left eye and now I have noticed the hair on her ears is almost gone.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the cat's name?

Porsche

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Porsche?

We have had her since she was a kitten. No other health issues or allergies to date.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Cat
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Answered in 27 minutes by:
9/16/2017
Cat Vet: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18,350
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Cat Vet: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

I am sorry to hear that Porsche suddenly has loss of hair on her face in the thinly haired area around her eyes, on her ears and a red patch in the area near her left eye. That tells me that he is likely rubbing and traumatizing those areas.

Cats get an allergic form of skin disease called eosinophilic granuloma complex. The lesions that we see with that disease process are hairless, pink, very thickened oozing, ropey looking areas of skin. We generally see lesions on the skin of the inner and rear legs, abdomen, neck, chin and around the lips. If the red area is isn't thickened then this isn't likely the issue.

Cats also get another type of lesion in response to allergic stimulation called miliary dermatitis. We usually see redness, crusts, scabs and hair loss along the back, and on the face, especially in the thinly haired area between the ears and eyes.

Facial and ear itchiness and secondary fur loss with red areas, sores and scabs can be for several reasons.

The most common reasons tend to be secondary to flea bite or food allergies, a mite called Demodex gatoi, sarcoptic mites, mosquito bite hypersensitivity (usually affects the bridge of the nose and ears but can cause itchiness all over the face), inhaled allergies, ringworm, solar dermatitis which is an extreme form of sunburn (usually very light skinned cats with pink skin are affected) and rarely autoimmune condition conditions such as pemphigus.

If she has a dark haircoat and doesn't go outside then solar dermatitis, mosquito bite hypersensitivity, sarcoptes, or ringworm are unlikely. Flea bite hypersensitivity and demodex mites are possible, although less likely. Fleas can sneak in through open doors and windows and we can unknowingly bring them in too.

If she isn't improving with the suggestions I give you I would recommend having your veterinarian examine her to look at a skin swab to look for Demodex Gatoi mites, a skin scraping for signs of sarcoptic mites, or evidence of fleas. A fungal culture should be checked for completeness, although this seems less likely.

In the meantime you may wish to consider a true hypoallergenic diet such as Royal Canin Duck & Green Pea or Hills z/d to test her for food allergies. This must be the only things she eats for at least 8 to 12 weeks, no treats or flavored medication. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your cat isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your cat if those happen to be allergens for your cat. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food. Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin and ears and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try that does not contain any of her trigger foods ingredients. I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination.

You might also wish to try a combination of antihistamines and omega 3 fatty acids to help with inhaled, or flea allergies. You can use either:

1) chlorpheniramine 4mg at half to one full tablet orally every 12 to 24 hours

OR

2) Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at half of a 25mg tablet per 8 to 15 pound cat every 8 to 12 hours (1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 to 12 hours). Benadryl is very bitter and some cats will drool excessively or may even vomit because of that. That doesn't mean it is making her ill, she just hates the taste. If that's the case with her try a different antihistamine,

OR

3) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. (Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.)

Antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some cats but those effects usually wane with repeated use.

Good brand name omega 3's to try are 3V Caps or Derm Caps. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 160mg of EPA per day. Together antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically. These should help reduce the itch.

If she is not improving with these measures then then the diagnostics I mentioned above and possibly a skin biopsy would be the best way to get a definitive diagnosis and direct treatment. Rarely this can be the early signs of autoimmune skin disease (body attacks itself).

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Cat Vet: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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