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Cat itching, licking and pulling hair out
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Cat itching, licking and pulling hair out

Around Thanksgiving, I painted my apartment and when doing that, I removed a 8 foot cat tree that my two Maine Coone/Siamese mix cats have had for about 6 years.  It was Delilah's sanctuary.  It has since been replaced - but with a much smaller unit.  

A short time after Thanksgiving, I noticed that she was losing hair on her paws.  Thinking that it might be stress, I watched it for a while and it did not resolve.  I tried the Science diet sensitive skin food, no change.

I took her to the vet in January when they gave her a steroid shot - they also pulled a small sample of hair and looked in the microscope and determined that she is indeed licking it off. The shot helped for a few days but quickly wore off. I took her back about a month later and they gave her another steroid shot - which was even less effective.

The vet mentioned possibly that she has developed an allergy to her food.  I decided to try the prescription Science Diet, Green Pea and Duck.  Neither cat would eat it, after several days of very minimal eating, I gave in, and gave them back their normal food - Iams Lamb and Rice.  I did find another food to try - Natural Balance Venison and Pea - and they did start eating that pretty well - but it was recalled the day after it arrived - so again, they are back on the Lamp and Rice Iams.

She is losing hair on her paws and now is starting on her underbelly. There are no open sores or inflammation - just bare skin.  She also sneezes a bit and always has.

Do you have any ideas?  She is 7 years old - as is Samson (littermates) who has no symptoms and flea free and strictly indoors.

Does this sound like allergies or stress?  Any remedies?
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234713_tn?1283530259
It might be best to have a complete dermatological work up done on your cat.  This would include blood work, skin scraping for ectoparasites (scabies, notodectes other skin parasites), fungal assay for ringworm, and possibly a skin biopsy.  I would also have a fecal test performed for worms and giardia.  If all is normal, than your cat could have food allergies or environmental allergies.  I know that you have already tried green pea and duck but there are many other choices.  If food allergy turns out not to be the case than behavioral/environmental problems may be to blame.  Is it possible to get back your old cat tree?  If not,  than behavioral medicine may help.  Your veterinarian can prescribe certain medications either tri-cyclic antidepressents or prozac types of medications try to balance her brain chemistry.

Lastly,  you cat may be allergic to the paint you have used.  If this is the case, a strong hepa filter may help or repainting with a hypoallergenic paint may achieve results.

Let me know if this helps.
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Has she had any other testing done besides the skin scrape? The vet I'm sure will give you great advice but if it were me ... if she has not had any blood work recently then I would suggest a general health profile and possibly a thyroid test as well as checking her blood pressure. These are common tests that can be done and rule some stuff out. It's easy to say oh it's just allergies or stress but I personally feel better hearing that along with a ... well all these things are definately normal. And even if those tests come back normal don't look at them as a loss. If she's not had them done in a while or ever then it gives the vet a great baseline for any future problems.

Another option, it can get pricey but they can do allergy testing to hopefully find specifially what the troubles are if needed.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I have a 12 year old dog who developed last year a bad skin condition: licking, scratching, pulling hair etc. My vet told me that she has a food allergy. After spending about $ 1000.00 on vet bills and testing 5 different foods, I changed vets and the first thing he did is eliminate everything in her current food and told me to start cooking for her. He gave me a list of food I should cook for her. ( Rice, potatoes, ground beef, lots of veggies, cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, turkey, lamb).  After 2 month her allergy was completely gone, after 6 month I went back to commercial dog food and I made sure to buy only food without any grains. My dog is happy with "Natural balance Duck and Potatoe" dry with a bit of same brand of canned food mixed with it. Her treats are only little carrots, bananas or apples (no seeds)

I don't know if an elimination diet would work for your cat, but might be worth the effort.
Good luck
Babs
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234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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