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Desperate for help - male cat with excessive grooming/allergies/unknown

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Catboop, Feb 13, 2019.


  1. Catboop

    Catboop PetForums Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    Apologies if this is not posted in the best place - we are in need of any advice and appreciate any help we can get as we are at our wits end with trying to resolve this issue!

    We adopted our 2 year old male cat, Biggie, last August alongside his sister. He is extremely friendly, cuddly and follows you around like your shadow. We absolutely adore him. However, it was flagged to us that due to being abandoned by previous owners and living in a shelter for a few months that he was over-washing his stomach due to stress. His stomach was patchy, flaky and he often washed it more than normal.

    After settling in to his new home with us, we took him to his first check up with our local vets who advised it could just be stress-related while he's had lots of changes, but recommended a diet change to Hills Prescription Diet ZD to rule out a food allergy. She also checked for mites, fleas, internal pain etc, but he seemed fine overall. After a few months of being on the Hills Prescription Diet ZD and now that he was fully settled in his new home we expected his stomach to calm down. However it did the opposite. He began to wash it so vigorously that he licked himself completely blood raw. This spread to his inner thighs, inner arms, above his eyes and around his ankles. He gets in a complete trance when washing, it literally takes two hands to pull him away from himself. He also violently bites/chews/nibbles himself too. Also his tongue is the roughest tongue we have ever felt on a cat!

    Please see photos below CN: Some are graphic/unpleasant so please be aware before scrolling down if you are sensitive to blood.

    Since then we have tried every option we/the vets can think of such as:

    *Antibiotics
    *Steroid pills
    *Steroid topical creams
    *Anti-depressants (Amittriptyline)
    *Strictly just on Hills Prescription Diet ZD diet
    *Ensuring our home is vacuumed for dust often
    *Felliway diffusers
    *Ensuring radios are left on when home alone

    Throughout this time, we have tried a range of cat collars/bodies/harnesses to stop him from physically ripping his skin apart but they all seem to be defeated eventually. We have tried:

    *Blow up fabric cones
    *Plastic cones
    *Fabric flap cones
    *Full fabric body suit (100% not a fan of this one!)
    *Custom made cones

    The only concoction that seems to work is a blow up fabric cone, with a plastic cone tied into it as it's sturdy enough to not be scratched off and he can't quite reach his stomach in it (although at the right angle it can be possible as we have found out)..

    upload_2019-2-13_20-47-35.png

    Everytime we get to the point where fur is growing back and he is 80% recovered, he goes on a mad cleaning attack without his collar on and we are back to square one.

    We are tirelessly worried about him, we hate having to put these cones on him, not feed him any treats and to see him in this uncomfortable pain for 7 months now :(

    We have ordered an Anicura Natural Cat Spray which had good reviews and are also looking into a home allergy test (The vet advised it would cost a few thousand to do this through them).

    Has anyone ever had something similar to this before and can shed any light into how we can treat him?

    Any advise or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks.

    upload_2019-2-13_20-48-34.png
    upload_2019-2-13_20-48-56.png
    upload_2019-2-13_20-49-16.png
    upload_2019-2-13_20-50-2.png upload_2019-2-13_20-47-35.png upload_2019-2-13_20-48-4.png upload_2019-2-13_20-48-34.png upload_2019-2-13_20-48-56.png upload_2019-2-13_20-49-16.png upload_2019-2-13_20-50-2.png
     
  2. lea247

    lea247 PetForums VIP

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    Poor boy!

    Unfortunately the only way to determine if he has a food allergy is by process of elimination. Also, Hills don't make the best cat food I'm afraid, cat's need a diet that has animal protein (not vegetables), no sugar or grains.

    What did you feed your boy before you put him on the ZD? I'm thinking if you fed him a food that has rice in it, then that might be it. The top ingredient of ZD is rice, which would make sense as to why he's been worse on that diet.

    I suggest you first start him on a food that is free from grains. If you want to buy from a pet shop (such as Pets at Home), you could try Lily's Kitchen, Meowing Heads, Natures Menu and Hi Life (make sure it isn't one of the It's Only Natural range as they are only a complimentary food). If you prefer to shop online then there's a site called Zooplus, they have lots of good food (that's much better value than shop bought), a list of all their decent food can be found here

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads...-just-the-good-stuff-work-in-progress.440844/

    If you find there still isn't any improvement then you'd need to do an elimination diet to determine if he's allergic to certain meat proteins. Details of that can be found here

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/

    Hope you get him all sorted soon!
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Catboop and welcome :)

    Your poor cat, his skin looks so sore, bless him. I understand how worrying this situation must be for you and I sympathise. I have a cat with controlled feline dermatitis so I do understand a bit of what you are going through.

    The thing about "over grooming" is that it is very often due to itchiness and all possible causes of itchiness need to be investigated first to see if any one can be found to be the cause. Only if one has ruled out all possible causes should "stress" be assumed to be the cause.

    Here is a link to a useful article by Icat Care about causes of itching when not due to fleas: ( I assume a flea allergy has been ruled out by your vet, and you treat preventatively for fleas every month? )

    https://icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/pruritic-itchy-cat-–-when-it-not-fleas

    A previous flea allergy (before you adopted him) could have triggered a food allergy (which is what happened to my cat). Food allergy commonly presents as itching on the face, head, ears and neck, though my boy also had it at the bottom of his spine spreading along his spine. But this is not to say that your cat does not have a food allergy - he may have. The only scientific way you are going to find out is by putting him on an elimination diet using a novel protein to calm his immune system and then reintroducing meat proteins one by one every 3 weeks to challenge his immune response.

    There is a thread on these boards in which I give details of the Elimination Diet and where to buy the novel proteins and the single proteins you would need for the challenges:

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/

    If you feed him a strict novel protein diet for 8 to 10 weeks (nothing else except water) and see no improvement then you would be fairly safe to conclude he does not have a food allergy. It is worth doing even if only to rule it out as a possible cause of the itching.

    If so, and all other causes have been ruled out then it may be that your cat has an autoimmune condition causing the itching. It is rare, but we have had a few over the years at the Shelter with this. The treatment is a heavy duty medicine called Atopica, which can have unpleasant side effects in some cases, but may be the only way to bring the cat some relief, especially if steroids haven't worked.

    https://www.animeddirect.co.uk/atop...MIhIfqztX13gIVCCrTCh3eng19EAAYBCAAEgKzzfD_BwE

    Or there is Sporimune :

    https://www.animeddirect.co.uk//sporimune-50-mg-ml-oral-solution-for-cats-and-dogs

    Both these contain Ciclosporin.

    If the licking is due to over grooming then you may find a calming supplement such as Zylkene or Yucalm might help. Zylkene has helped my cat during periods of anxiety when he has begun over grooming a bit (he licks and chews the insides of his front legs). It is safe and non addictive. Give 75 mg a day (or more if needed) open the capsule and add the powder to food and mix.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zylkene-Di...-1-spons&keywords=zylkene+75mg+for+cats&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lintbells-...-2-spons&keywords=zylkene+75mg+for+cats&psc=1

    I would try either of these calmers as a means of avoiding putting a cone collar on him as it must be enormously stressful for him not to be able to scratch himself if he is itchy. :( I can't imagine anything worse if it were me (as I suffer from allergies myself).

    Does your cat go outdoors at all btw?
     
  4. Pepperpots

    Pepperpots PetForums Senior

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    Ive had a similar situation with my current foster. After months in cones etc (without it she rips herself raw) we are trying Atopica. We started on a small dose every other day and side effects have been minimal (so far). Hoping to move to everyday. Should know in a month if it’s working. Good luck. It’s so horrible to watch, isn’t it.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  5. Katylynne31

    Katylynne31 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,
    Really sorry about what’s going on with your boy :(
    I have a similar problem with my 6 month Siamese girl.
    Not as severe as yours but doesn’t seem to be improving I’ve tried everything also! I ordered the anicure spray after reading your post and I’ve been using it for nearly two weeks. It’s definitely helping but she’s not 100% just wondering if you’ve seen any improvement with him since this post?
    Thanks!
     
  6. Pepperpots

    Pepperpots PetForums Senior

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    I’ve not used Anicure, but have found that the Atopica plus ZD diet has stopped Sky’s itching. She has two days on meds and one day if. If I reduce it any more she starts scratching again. If she has it every day with no breaks it makes her feel sick.
     
  7. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

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    I'm terribly sorry your boy is going through that. I've only one thing to add but the main reason for my post is to encourage you to keep asking questions. There are some very kind and knowledgeable people here and you mustn't feel that you're asking too many questions or being a pest, my experience is that they will be delighted to help you in any way they can so do keep posting and asking.

    In one of the photos it looks like there might be a bare patch above his eyes? That seems a bit strange to me as he can't directly lick that. I know that cats hair between their ear and eye does stand out a bit and you can often see right through to the skin, but if there's irritated skin there and it's not just the way the photo looks then perhaps the damage isn't caused all by him licking.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  8. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I notice the OP has not been back since their first post. It must be a very worrying situation for him/her.

    Have there been any improvements at all with your cat @Catboop?
     
    sandy-cat likes this.
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