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DrJessicaO, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1062
Experience:  7 years of private practice experience with dogs, cats, exotics, pocket pets, etc
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i have a three year old male neutured havanese. about a year

Customer Question

i have a three year old male neutured havanese. about a year ago i noticed a quarter size spot of hairloss on his left side. after being tested for mange, and thyroid problems a year of termral p,antihistamines,special shampoos and several vet visits i had him tested for allergies. he is allergic to short rag weed,plantain,russin thissle,lambs quarter,yellow dock,maple pine,sycamore,rye,mucor,alternaria. Upon the vets suggestion we held off on giving him allergy shots and gave temeral p for five weeks and 2mg of melatonin once a day. i had the vet take a biopsy last week to see if it could be alopecia. we have not gotten the results. the spot has grown to be aprox. 8inches by 10 inches. Please help me help him!!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 7 years ago.
Hi there,
I will try to help you and your kitty. I am sorry you have been through all of this. First let me ask, is he itching or chewing at the area and is this the only area on his body that is affected? Unfortunately an allergy panel cannot diagnose allergies- it can only tell us what a patient is hypersensitive to. The only way to diagnose allergies is by "exclusion" (meaning virtually everything else is ruled out) and even then we can never be 100% sure that this is the sole culprit. If you test 100 perfectly healthy cats or dogs with this blood test, 100 will show hypersensitivity to multiple environmental reactants but this does not mean that they are causing clinical signs. With that being said, if the panel was performed anyways I do not see why it wouldn't be worth having the serum made and attempting allergy shots for several months to determine if an improvement is noted . Considering everything that you have tried, I presume that your kitty is on flea prevention (as in a flea allergic patient one simple flea can cause a reaction as you describe). Have you attempted a strict food trial? Food allergy is common in cats (usually beef, soy, wheat, etc) and evaluating response to a hypoallergenic food such as Hills D/D strictly being fed for 2-3 months can diagnose this. I would also suggest performing a fungal culture (a small piece of hair near the alopecic area is cultured) and skin scrapes on the area because false negative results do occur, especially in the case of mites. A simple cytology (tape impression smear, where tape is smeared on the affected area and examined under a microscope) can rule out yeast or bacterial infection. Another very easy and inexpensive diagnostic would be to simply examine a piece of hair under the microscope- this will tells us if fungal spores are present and whether the hair is simply falling out or whether he is tearing it out (sometimes alopecia in cats is actually caused by behavioral/anxiety issues as they are excessively grooming one area when left alone!). A biopsy will help you rule out disease such as auto-immune or cancerous causes (which you will hopefully get the results to within the next couple of days). Lastly, a blood sample will not only give you an eosinophil count (elevated often in allergic diseases) but will also test to ensure the chronic medications haven't caused secondary problems. If your kitty is excessively itchy, I suggest chlorpheniramine (2 mg every 12 hours) over Benadryl as it tends to be a more effective anti-histamine. I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it helps :)
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
firstly, if this is a real vet she would know that a Havanese is a breed of a dog not a "kitty". Second, this answer did not povide me with any new suggestions or info. my question was just turned into her answer.
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 7 years ago.
Hi there,
I am so very sorry- I did not read your question as thoroughly as I should have in regards XXXXX XXXXX type of pet you have. I read the "optional information" quickly and while scanning thought it said Himalayan. I am embarrassed for such a stupid mistake and I would like to help correct myself.
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 7 years ago.
Reading through my answer, essentially with the exception of suggesting chlorpheniramine (because this tends to work better in cats and Benadryl in dogs), all else applies. Here are my suggestions- having a trichogram performed to evaluate the hair itself, performing a fungal culture, repeating skin scrapes, ensuring appropriate flea preventing, attempting a hypoallergenic diet (such as D/D), performing a cytology, and blood panel. For my mistake please do not accept this answer or be charged for it, but I hope that at least some of the information was informative.