cats scratching due to allergies

gibby2015April 14, 2010

I have a 16 year old cat who has had IBD for years and hyper-T for about a year. After getting the hyper-T under control with meds, he has been doing great. His IBD is very good and I've been gradually getting him off prednisolone. However he's now developed a new skin allergy condition - eosinophic granuloma. This just seems to be on his neck. The vet recommended a short term increase in his pred to address this. So we did that for two weeks and he improved - now reduced pred again - and he's scratching more again. So the vet has advised reduce the pred as long as he's not scratching himself raw, it's not keeping him up at night scratching, etc. If the scratching gets too bad increase pred again and continue the delicate balance of keeping his dose as low as possible but still controlling symptoms.

I asked him if I could try rubbing something topical on his neck and he said worth trying hydrocortisone cream. Has anyone else had a cat with something like this? Were you able to do anything about it short of prednisolone?

He has been eating Natural Balance Duck and Pea and doing really well with his IBD on that (after years of difficulty) so I don't think I want to mess with his food.

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I asked him if I could try rubbing something topical on his neck
Have you tried Animax? I have a cat (~4 years old) who has had bad itching basically since adoption, that is for 2 years. The first vet never quite found the cause, but prescribed that ointment (easy to apply if your cat co-operates). It did help some (short term), but I did not quite like to use it because of the risk of her licking it.
New vet just gave her a 2nd injection of Convenia (antibiotics) 2 weeks apart. She thinks it might be some bacterial skin infection (don't even know what that means). Seems to help, but much too early to say. All I can say is that the itching is not as bad.

At least your cat has accepted the diet change. I wish you luck in reducing/ stopping prednisolone! He has enough issues as is without having to go through this frustrating itching!!
Give your cat a good scratch from us,

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:16AM
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I've never had luck with topical only treatment for eosinophilic granuloma. Sometimes I inject the lesion with steroids, in addition to oral steroids.

Some dermatologists think EG is caused by insect allergy, so make sure your cat is on monthly flea control. Because cats are so clean you hardly ever see fleas on them, but an allergic cat only needs one bite to be set off into an itching frenzy.

I'm a little worried that the cat developed this while on pred. I usually only need an anti-inflammatory dose (0.5-1.5 mg/kg/day) to keep EG under control. What test did the vet do to confirm the diagnosis? I have had a couple of cases referred to me for second opinion of non-resolving EG. The first vet never did a biopsy (same vet both times). One turned out to be cutaneous lymphoma and the other was a mast cell tumor. Both responded to surgical removal; steroids would have never worked.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:56PM
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meghane - thanks for your feedback. Neither of our cats go outside at all - ever - so we don't do flea control. We have not had a biopsy yet - started with the add'l prednisolone dose first which did help. I would just really like to reduce that now that his IBD has improved so much. Maybe that just won't be possible. I will ask about a potential biopsy as a next step. He has this in a couple areas - it's not localized. Would that be the case for a tumor or lymphoma?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 8:28PM
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Unfortunately the second case I saw covered most of the cat, which turned out to be lymphoma. It was a heck of a surgery.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:18PM
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How bad is it, in your opinion, for him to be taking 5 mg of prednisolone three times a week? He's been taking it for a few years - recently reduced the dose to half that amount since he was doing so well with the IBD - 1/2 pill 3x a week. The scratching has definitely gotten worse as I've lowered the dose. In fact today I gave him a whole pill again and it already seems like there's a difference in the scratching.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 12:00AM
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