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Recurring serious atopic dermatitis, plus HCM.. we're struggling...

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by mscarlyon, Jan 27, 2021.


  1. mscarlyon

    mscarlyon PetForums Newbie

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    I hope someone here can relate, as I'm finding it really hard to cope looking after my sweet 12 year old rescue boy at the moment. Any tips, new ideas, recommendations.. or even just saying 'yep I've been there' would help!

    Claude was diagnosed with HCM in 2015, and after being told he wouldn't survive beyond a few months, I'm pleased to report that he's very much still here :Cat!! The vet put him straight on clopidogrel and he was doing really well until about two years ago when he started developing terrible sores around his head, neck and shoulders. Because of the HCM he couldn't have a course of steroids or injection, so to start with the vet tried antibiotics and a topical steroid gel, thinking it might be an allergic reaction to a flea bite. They seemed very certain it wasn't a food allergy. This worked at first, but after a while the sores started to get much worse and to flare up really suddenly. At one point two joined together around his neck almost overnight and the poor guy was left with the most horrific-looking massive open wound. I rushed him straight to the vet who said he'd never seen such a bad case and started him straight away on the highest recommended dose of cyclosporine (Sporimune). Basically he has an autoimmune skin condition.. "atopic dermatitis", and will need to be on some kind of regular medication for life. It took nearly six weeks for the Sporimune (liquid, taken in food) to take effect, during which time all I could do was bathe his sores with warm salted water to prevent secondary infection, slap on the steroid gel the vet insisted I use 2 to 3 times a day, and give him as much love as possible :(. Understandably he felt totally rubbish which meant there was a bit of pooing on the doormat, weird behaviours, restlessness, clinginess, ultra-moaning and a loss of appetite. I know, poor kitty!

    His skin did eventually start to improve, and I was able to gradually reduce the Sporimune, but I had to keep him on a low dose permanently as he was never completely 'sore-free'. It was always much worse in the summer months, with winter being a welcome respite for him. But recently over the past month or so, despite the cold weather it has got quite rapidly worse again. I've upped the liquid meds but this time he just refuses to eat it in food.

    I've tried everything. All his favourite foods. If I literally starve him throughout the day he'll eventually swallow a couple of mouthfuls at bed time, by which time it's dried up and horrible-looking. But I can't do this to him on a daily basis. Plus, he complains constantly and because we're in lockdown together and I'm working from home it's not even as though I can go out for the day (which used to work)! I had a go with a food syringe early on but he freaked out straight away and still runs off at the very sight of one. In addition to all this... the vet has always told me to just keep going with applying the steroid gel until the sores disappear, but sometimes they can take weeks even months to go away. I sometimes wonder if it's actually making them worse? Also, when he can reach them with his tongue it can't be doing him too much good licking the gel off (which he immediately does, however much I try and distract him with games and treats!). Some of the weird behaviour and the restlessness from before has returned though mercifully he hasn't toiletted in the house as yet. I have Feliway pumping away so maybe that's helping...

    I've tried Anicura gel and spray, Leucillin spray, Antibacterial powder, Piriton and a whole range of other treatments I researched online. None of them have made the slightest bit of difference. I can't put a cone on him as the sores are around his neck and on his shoulders. I guess I could try a t-shirt or body suit but I can only imagine how much that would totally freak him out. And as things stand he'd have to wear it all the time! For now, I just want to find a better way to get these liquid meds inside him.

    I'm sorry this is such a long post. I just can't bear seeing him so uncomfortable, and these wounds are really grim-looking. I will post some pics if it's of interest but it's not for the squeamish. He's a white moggy which makes it worse! Thanks for reading this far, and if you have any experience of this I would love to hear about it.
     
  2. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @mscarlyon
    Sorry to hear of the struggles you and Claude are going through.
    I cannot help much with advice but there are soft cones you can get that may be ok and not irritate his dermatitis.

    Have you tried hypoallergenic foods?

    I cannot help much with the medication but for my guys tablets, I have a routine. I put him in front of me on the counter. Pop them in, and then directly after, he gets a treat or food.
    Don't let him see the syringe beforehand. Stand behind him.
    Try to make the association good - treats
     
    mscarlyon likes this.
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @mscarlyon - I think as you are having such a difficult time keeping the sores under control as well as getting him to eat, it would be worth asking your vet for a referral to a feline dermatologst.at a specialist centre of which there are several in the UK. Specialist vets are always more expensive than general practice vets but if you have pet insurance they will pay out.

    There was a cat at the Shelter where I volunteer who came in with the most horrendous open sores around his neck and like your cat's wounds, it was diagnosed as an autoimmune condition. Under the vet's guidance our Shelter Manager put steroid cream on his neck twice a day for months. Many of us felt it was never going to work but the sores did eventually heal. As I recall it may have taken about 6 months though. Throughout the time he was being treated he couldn't wear anything round his neck, it would have rubbed his open wounds too much.
     
  4. mscarlyon

    mscarlyon PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the support, much appreciated! Claude's heart medication is a tablet I pop down his throat every day, and he's fine with that. I do exactly what you do :). It's the liquid meds that's the issue. Since writing here, I have actually gone back to see if I can make any headway using a syringe. It was such a disaster last time, but that was over six months ago. So far I've got him to accept a tiny bit of yummy gravy in the syringe, followed by treats. So I'll maybe just keep going with that and gradually start adding in the liquid meds... Fingers crossed!
     
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