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Itchy scratchy cat

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Paddypaws, Nov 21, 2012.


  1. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Woody, approx 10 year old male was a stray for years and went in to rescue with all kinds of health issues....suppurating wounds to face and neck in part due to tomcat fights but also severe ear mite issues meaning he scratched himself. Woody also had ringworm, and was diabetic..now in remission.
    Since being with me he has improved in condition dramatically, but although his over grooming and scratching did improve, it has never gone away and seems to be worse again now.
    House is covered by Indorex, Woody has been kept up to date with flea spot on but I did use Advantage rather than Advocate last few times.
    Woody is currently on home made raw which includes chicken, pork, turkey and wild rabbit. I did attempt to keep him on solely the rabbit to see if it is a food allergy but it makes him very constipated, and there was not really a change in itching anyway.
    So......I want to try and establish whether this is a general or food allergy.Woody will of course go to the vet if necessary but I feel that a lot of this detective work can be done in the home before going down that route.
    I have a 'low chemical' home,no air fresheners, minimal cleaning fluids/washing powders etc. Woody can access the garden but rarely chooses to do so!

    Plan.
    make up duck based raw food for him for next week or so...this will include bone, but no offal/liver so not ideal long term. I cant guarantee that this is a truly novel protein, but it is a good start and at least easy to get whole birds with bone.
    use colloidal silver as ear drops twice per day, also Otodex Ear Drops

    Any further suggestions???
     
  2. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear that Woody's still having some problems:( but delighted to hear his diabetes has improved:)

    Not really got anything useful to add - just wanted to say that I'd do the same thing.

    I seem to pick dogs with iffy tummy's:rolleyes: and I've exclusion diet with both Ben (wheat intolerant) and Maisie (still working on it!) to find out what they could eat.

    It does take time & can get extremely frustrating but when you find something they can have, it's great!:) Hope it doesn't take long!

    Only thing I would add - any particular reason for duck as it's quite a rich food?

    I actually put Maisie onto Duck & Rice when I got her (as it was one of the few things that Ben could have & didn't have any of the "usual" allergens in it) and it was only after a while - and excluding just about everything else - that I realised it must be the duck upsetting her!

    We are getting there and shes fine with Fish and we're slowly trying Chicken & Turkey just now - but any other kind of meat .... OMG ..... no!:eek:

    Best of luck
     
  3. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Lilylass, duck IS quite rich....but one of his ongoing issues is with terrible constipation so this might kill two birds with one stone!
    I can buy whole duck fairly easily and affordably, also it is bone -in, whereas so many other meats such as goat or venison would not be.


    Please keep all comments and suggestions rolling in.....as I said above I will of course get him to the vet if things worsen in any way...but TBH their first request will be for me to feed a 'sensitivity' diet which would be too high carb for his diabetes, then second suggestion would be steroids which again are contra-indicated for diabetics.
     
  4. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    PP in a rush now but my thoughts so far. ( Firstly, very glad to hear his diabetes is in remission. Well done!)

    Given the recent worsening are you sure the ringworm hasn't returned? IF limited to face and neck while it's tempting to believe it's food allegy ( may still be of course ) it may also be a 'residual' skin sensitivity - very possibly made worse by being indoors-warmer temperature for example - owing to his former wounds. I would therefore be temped to try evening primrose or salmon oil (good anti-inflammatory) first ( before diet) and see how he responds.

    What's the problem with his ears? Itchy?
     
  5. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Ianthi, the diabetes took about 3 months to sort out, that bit was easy!

    He has been taking either EPO or salmon oil most days for a good while as i too suspected a general sensitivity from his skin.
    I think he has had these itchy issues for years, his skin is scarred and thickened all over and he has cauliflower ears from where he has scratched and scratched....did have bad ear mites when in rescue.
    he over grooms, and chews his back feet, when he first came here he had chewed a lot of the fur off his back, and his belly is often soaked from him cleaning himself.
    I pray that it is NOT ringworm as I would be in real trouble with that and 7 other cats!:crying:
     
  6. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    I see-the ringworm was when at the rescue? IF not wouldn't worry too much about the others-largely depends on level immune system and not all get it.....though spores can remain in environment.

    So itching is more extensive than I first thought. If the back leg chewing etc has ceased then I'd be leaning more towards something seasonal like pollen or in his case, I've no doubt, fleas since it appeared to clear up somewhat. On the other hand these allergic cats can be and very often are allergic to more than one thing so house dust mites are another possibility in the current season/flea treatment. This case is probably further compounded by the fact he's got so much scar tissue as well so continue with the fatty acids.Has his diet been fairly constant up to now as it could still be food allergy?

    Unless you've reasonablly instant results with the food trial-I know sometimes it can take a while ( but as you mention you've not ideas what is or isn't a novel protein) I think it best for his sake and yours, to have a skin test-wouldn't surprise me to learn there's more than one allergen here.
     
  7. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Ringworm was treated for 6 weeks with Intrafungal at the rescue and he was given the all clear before I dared bring him home.
    he does still chew his feet, sometimes till it looks like he has made them bleed a little.
    Diet was tinned Bozita or Grau right from June, but has been on mainly raw for last few months...so fairly consistent.
    I know that just one flea bit can set an allergic cat off, but I groom him and the others frequently and have never once seen a flea or even the dirt (on damp tissue) I think the Indorex covers against house dust mites too, but not sure for how long.

    What kind of skin tests are available Ianthi and how accurate are they?
    Edit....just called vet to get an idea of tests and they do a comprehensive blood test for £200. eek
     
    #7 Paddypaws, Nov 21, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  8. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    If the Idorex works against HDMs and he's still chewing his feet then my hunch here is that food allergy could well be a major component of all of this then. In my mind somewhere there's a link between the two.

    What about trying him on the protein type he's least likely to have had first ie venison, buffalo or ostrich and see how you get on? I'd imagine these are less likely than duck! Additionally can you think of anything that may have made him worse recently? One thing I meant to say last time (which could explain my last enquiry) regarding the whole body itching is a secondary scratching phase resulting from healing skin which can in fact, be quite itchy! :)
     
  9. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    I can't think of anything that has changed to make him worse recently, in fact I don't know if he really is any WORSE, maybe I am just noticing that it is still persisting after several months of excellent nutrition and time to heal.:mad:
    What are my chances of sourcing buffalo etc AT ALL locally, let alone being able to make a complete food mix up based on it? :rolleyes:
    I suppose I could order venison from NI as an easy alternative to making my own. Surely he wont have been catching any wild deer in his roaming days???
    Oh it is never easy is it???
     
  10. Cats cats cats

    Cats cats cats PetForums VIP

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    Hi :) I would maybe suspect dust mites as due to the high humidity at this time of year , they will be thriving (lowering humidity is part of dust mite control ) Could it be that's why he seems worse ?

    Also , whilst indorex may kill the dust mites bear in mind (quote from indorex site)


    "However, dead HDM are just as allergenic as live ones. For this reason it is essential that, following the application of Indorex, a high power, high filtration vacuum cleaner is used regularly to eliminate the dead HDM bodies. HDM also prefer humid conditions in the house so the installation of a de-humidifier can be a considerable benefit."


    Mr Fuzzy has a dust mite allergy .

    hope that helps :) x
     
    #10 Cats cats cats, Nov 21, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  11. Lilylass

    Lilylass PetForums VIP

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  12. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Ok, I cannot rule out HDMA, but.....all my downstairs is hard wood/Amtico flooring and although I do have some carpet upstairs he rarely ventures up there. (Likes to be in view of the fridge 24/7 my Woody)
    Also, he has only been here since June, and arrived with all this itchiness despite having lived outside for several years and then spent several months ina rescue pen.

    Lilylass...interesting about the Chinese herbalist, I wonder what 'method' they used?
     
  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi PP, my sympathies as I am in an ongoing battle myself to try and find the cause of frequent itching and dermatitis in one of my cats.

    I do know he has a flea allergy and for that that reason I am proactive with the spot-on treatments for all 4 cats, as well as using Indorex in the house.

    However, I found Frontline was not working so well as it had, and so the last 2 months I switched to Advantage. Since then, the itching seems to have got markedly worse.

    Not only that, but one of my other cats, who never reacted badly to Frontline has also been itching and scratching since his Advantage treatment 2 weeks ago.

    On top that, this time I reacted badly to the Advantage being on the cats' fur and for several days I had allergic rhinitis and itching on my face and hands (which has now gone, thankfully).

    So I do strongly suspect a reaction to the Advantage has made the cat
    with dermatitis worse. I spoke to the vet and she suggests next time I try them with a fairly new flea treatment called Activyl, which has very few side effects apparently. It is only available on prescription, so it means taking all the cats in to the surgery the first time. But thereafter she would just issue refills for me every month.

    The other thing I am pursuing is diet. I had my cat on raw bone-in duck, raw bone-in rabbit and RC Sensitivity Control. Very little improvement, so over a period of time I discontinued the duck -- there was a little improvement. Then I discontinued the rabbit -- again it seemed there was some improvement. Then I had him on nothing but RC Sensitivity, and he seemed to be worse:confused::confused: Anyway, to cut a long story short -- it seemed inconclusive.!:(

    So now, I am tackling it by giving him novel protein. I bought tinned food from Vet Concept in Germany -- kangaroo and reindeer. He loves the kangaroo flavour, but not keen on the reindeer. I also bought duck from them as am not convinced duck was the problem, as it is not regularly put in most cat foods. Only been on this diet a few days but already he is scratching much less and scabs on his neck have almost gone.

    Kangaroo by Integra can also be bought from Z/plus. Also can be bought raw from specialist butchers, but only the muscle meat, no offal or bone, and I felt it defeated the object to have to add offal and bone from another animal source. However, short term only it would be OK to just feed the meat I think.

    In a week I will re-introduce the raw rabbit, as I would like him to have it if possible as he loves it and I have a freezer half full of it!

    Then will gradually try him on other single protein sources, one at a time, such as chicken, turkey, lamb. Hermanns do chicken, turkey and beef (@zooplus) organic single protein. It is dog food, but if you add taurine to it it's good for cats.

    I conclude several things trigger my cat's dermatitis. Vet thinks original cause (when cat was semi feral) was a flea allergy. When I took the cat in he was covered in big scabs, which cleared up after flea treatment. Vet says such a bad allergy (left untreated for long period as I assume my cat's was) can trigger other allergic responses. [I know this from my own experience with allergies], and even though flea allergy not an issue now, allergic response remains to other things.
     
    #13 chillminx, Nov 21, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  14. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Lilylass....thanks for the link, that thread is very interesting. It confirms my suspicions that blood tests are only accurate for cooked proteins, and Woody is on raw! I have asked for more info on the Jean Dodds saliva test to see if it works for cats too.
     
  15. cookiemom

    cookiemom PetForums Senior

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    Chamomile could be worth a try, it has a strong indication both for skin and digestive, also homeopathics that might be of use: Staphus agria, Arsen alb / Sulpur mix, Psorinum, all very useful if flea or any biting mite allergy, I've used the second two with fox mange, worked really well.

    Chamomile I've found to be so potent that I've used it in place of Metacam. With itchy scratchy I'd try externally where possible, maybe the toes and ears and internally starting in low dose making an infusion from a small handful of flowers to a good mug of boiling water, (Baldwins have organic flowers) let cool and keep in fridge, give 1ml syringed in mouth a couple or 3 x a day, more if very severe, its a really useful herb, always patch test first.

    This is what Greg Tilford says, sorry its so long but hopefully interesting and useful, he gives the dosing if you want to use try the glycerine tincture:


    CHAMOMILE, German Matricaria recutita Sunflower family

    Appearance: German chamomile is characterized by its 1/2 to 1 inch yellow disk flowers, each surrounded by ten to twenty white rays, and its finely divided, linear, “feather-like” leaves. The common name “chamomile” is used in reference to dozens of related species, but most medicinal uses are isolated to two genera, Matricaria recutita (German chamomile) and Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile), and their respective subspecies. The differences between these two groups of chamomile rest in their life cycles, the number of flowers they produce, and overall size. German chamomile is an annual plant that can grow to two feet tall, producing numerous terminate flowers on each of its many stems. Roman chamomile on the other hand, is a creeping perennial that seldom exceeds one foot in height, and which produces fewer but larger (1″ wide) flowers. Both German and Roman chamomiles share a nearly identical range of therapeutic usefulness, but German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is by far the more popular medicine. This is because German chamomile has received much more research attention and has long been regarded (by herbalists) as a more potent medicine than Roman chamomile. For the purposes of this book, our primary focus is on German chamomile, however, there is a generally over-looked, wild relative to cultivated varieties chamomile that also deserves a place in the animal herbalist’s repertory— Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides). Pineapple weed looks, smells, and even tastes very much like its cultivated cousins, but its discoid flowers are completely without rays. This small, wayside weed is often found growing in inconspicuous, ground-hugging mats in vacant lots, on road margins, and sometimes right in the middle of a driveway!

    Habitat & Range: Natives of Europe and Western Asia, chamomile is cultivated world wide.

    Cycle & Bloom Season: Chamomile is notorious for its continuous bloom. In areas where the occurance of frost is rare, chamomile will often produce flowers throughout the year.

    Parts Used: The flowers.

    Actions: Anti-spasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, sedative, nervine,
    anti-microbial, bitter, vulnerary, tonic, anthelmintic (vermifuge).

    Affinities: Skin, digestive tract, liver, nervous system, mucous membranes, smooth muscle tissues.

    Preparation: Water or oil infusion, tincture, salve, ointment, fomentation.

    Specific Uses: Chamomile is a mild sedative, anti-spasmodic, and digestive tonic that is safe, gentle, and effective in a broad spectrum of applications. The herb tea or tincture is helpful for indigestion, gas, and vomiting. Chamomile is perhaps the first herb to reach for in cases of digestive upset that arises from nervousness and hyper-excitability. The chemistry of chamomile is very complex and the whole of medicinal activities are not attributable to any single class of constituents, but rather to a synergistic sum of all parts. However, dozens of scientific studies (using both animals and humans) have given us solid information about how many of chamomile’s chemical compounds contribute to its effectiveness as a holistic healing device. For example, apigenenin, chamazulene (and its precursor, matricin ) and other volatile oil constituents of the flowers have been shown to be strong antispasmodic agents both in and on the body, as have several of chamomile’s flavonoid constituents1, 2. In the digestive tract, chamomile serves to ease nervous spasm, helps to expel gas, aids in the production of bile to improve digestion3, and reduces inflammation throughout. All of these activities amount to an excellent remedy for chronic or acute gastric disorders, including various forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

    For inflammations of the skin, including flea bites, contact allergies, and various bacterial or fungal infections, a cooled water infusion of the flowers can be used as soothing, healing, antimicrobial rinse. For conjunctivitis, whether it be from bacterial infection or the result of airborne irritants or allergies, the cooled infusion can be carefully strained through a paper coffee filter and diluted with saline solution (the end product should be transparent and light yellow) for use as an anti- inflammatory/antimicrobial eye wash that can be liberally applied several times per day until inflammation subsides.

    Chamomile has also been shown to have a tonic (constricting and strengthening) effect on smooth muscle tissues throughout the body, including the heart, bladder, and especially the uterus4. While uterine tonics may be of benefit before pregnancy, and during late term pregnancy, herbs that constrict uterine tissues are generally contraindicated during early pregnancy (see “cautions & comments”).

    In the authors’ experiences, chamomile serves as a general purpose “calming herb” that can be fed to animals as a “first try” remedy for any variety of spasmodic or anxiety-related problems. Because it a good tasting herb, soluble in water, and very safe in most animals, its use should be considered before stronger, less palatable antispasmodics or sedatives are employed.
    Chamomile’s usefulness in expelling worms is often overlooked in favor of “faster-acting” herbs (such as wormwood, black walnut hulls, or garlic), but it really should not be. Chamomile is relatively non-toxic when compared to most other “herbal wormers”. While it does not work as quickly as the other anthelmintics, it does work— especially for round worms and whip worms— and it offers anti-inflammatory activities that help counteract the effect parasites often have on the intestinal mucosa. Even more pronounced in its vermifuge activities is Pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides) ; a “common weed” relative of chamomile that grows virtually everywhere.

    For internal uses, we prefer a glycerin tincture of the herb, because it can be administered in small, easy-to-feed doses— 0.25 to 0.50 ml per 20 lbs. of the animal’s body weight, twice daily, as needed to suppress symptoms. The sweet-tasting glycerin tincture can be orally administered, directly into the animal’s mouth, or it can be added to the animal’s drinking water. The” glycerite” is also useful in treating gingivitis, especially when small proportions of stronger antimicrobial herb extracts (such as thyme, rosemary, bee balm, oregon grape, or echinacea) are added. To use chamomile in this capacity, the tincture can be applied directly to the gums of the animal with a cotton swab.
    Chamomile extract can also be used in a vaporizer, or steamed from boiling water, for inhalation treatment of asthma, allergies, bronchitis and the like. In homeopathic form chamomile is used for teething puppies to keep them from chewing everything in sight.

    Availability: Chamomile can be purchased from any health food retailer, and is available at most supermarkets. The plants are available through most nurseries, as are the seeds.

    Propagation & Harvest: Chamomile is easy to grow in all climates, and once established, its promiscuous, free-seeding character yields abundant growth year after year. In fact, if left to its unruly ways, it will likely find its way out of the flower beds and into the pathways and beyond. Chamomile blooms continuously throughout the growing season. The flowers can be plucked off at anytime and dried indoors, on a piece of clean paper or a non-metallic screen. Fresh flowers are useful too, and in fact are a stronger option for use in skin rinses and against intestinal parasites. However, the dried flowers have a much more pleasant flavor.

    Alternatives and Adjuncts: For stronger activities in cases of nervous stomach problems and gas, look to catnip, fennel, and bee balm. Combines well with calendula, juniper leaves, or uva-ursi in anti-inflammatory skin rinses. For irritable bowel, diarrhea, and other gastric disorders, study about plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow. For inflammatory urinary tract problems, chamomile combines with cornsilk, plantain, uva-ursi, white oak bark, couchgrass, and marshmallow. For use against worms, chamomile can be combined at a 4:1 ratio (4 parts chamomile to 1 part other herb) with garlic, Oregon grape, organically-raised goldenseal, wormwood, or black walnut hulls.

    Cautions & Comments: While the uterotonic activity of chamomile is very subtle, its use in pregnant animals should be limited. Like all herbs that constrict uterine tissues, chamomile may act as an abortifacient if used in excessive amounts during early pregnancy. Furthermore, studies suggest that excessive use of chamomile during pregnancy may increase fetus reabsorption and inhibit fetus growth in some animals5.
    Chamomile is without doubt, one of the safest herbs in existence. However, some animals (and humans too) are extremely allergic to this plant and its relatives. Always check for sensitivity before feeding this herb, by applying a small amount of the preparation to the animal’s skin. Then, if no reactions are observed, feed just a drop or two and watch for anything out of the ordinary.

    References
    1. Schoen, Allen M., Wynn, Susan G. From multiple research citations in Complimentary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, p. 356. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc., 1998.
    2. Mann, C., Staba, E.J. “The chemistry, pharmacology, and commercial formulations of chamomile.” Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants: Recent Advances in Botany, Horticulture, and Pharmacology ; vol 1. Craker, L.E., Simon, J.E., editors. Arizona: Oryx Press, 1986:235-80.
    3. Ikram, M. “Medicinal plants as hypocholesterolemic agents.” JPMA 1980; 39: 38-50.
    4. Shipochliev, T. “Extracts from a group of medicinal plants enhancing the uterine tonus.” Vet Med Nauki 1981; 18: 94-98.
    5. Habersang, S. et al. “Pharmacological studies with compounds of chamomile IV. Studies on bisabolol.” Planta Medica 1979; 37:115-23.
     
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