My cat is 14 years old and has been in pretty good health for most of his life. We just found out about 6 months ago that he has Diabetes. The vet checked his blood level and started him out on 1 unit of Lantus Insulin twice a day. He is now up to 3 units and is holding pretty well. My problem is not the Diabetes, Although, it could be part of the problem, I don't know.
Around the time, it could be a little before or after, he was diagnosed with Diabetes, he started getting a dandruff like stuff on the back by his tail. He is pulling out his hair and biting at his skin severely. He goes crazy if you touch the spot, which seems to be creeping up his back. It now is covered with little red spots that are scabbed over, I guees from licking and biting so much. The vet told me that he thinks it is a food allergy. I switched from cheap cat food (which he didn't have these problems with) when I found out about his diabetes to "Wellness" brand. The vet said to take him off of that and start giving him "Evo" brand. He has been switched for about 2 weeks now and has no signs of getting better, he is actually getting worse. The vet also gave him "Metacam" which he has been on now for two weeks.
I have spent so much money on him and cannot afford to keep on taking him back and forth. I am supposed to be seeing his vet in another 5 months to recheck his blood. In the meantime the poor guy is a mess and is constantly biting at his back. Please, any help would be appreciated.
Also,the vet checked him for fleas and found none, there are no other animals in the house and he doesn't go outside.
I don't know what to do for him, any ideas?
Dermatitis and itching on the back is usually due to flea allergy dermatitis or microscopic skin mites such as cheyletiella or demodex, although food allergy is also a possibility, as is ringworm/fungal skin infection. Sometimes cats can carry organisms such as demodex or ringworm and show no signs unless they are immunosuppressed (such as in diabetes) The chewing and self trauma often cause a secondary bacterial skin infection which makes the itch worse. I recommend skin scrapings to look for parasites and infection, and a fungal culture for ringworm. Since cheyletiella mites are difficult to find on skin scrapings, even if scrapes are negative I would recommend trial treatment for parasites with Revolution applied every 2 weeks for 3 treatments (on all pets in the household). If bacterial infection is present, then antibiotics would be needed. You can try oral antihistamines to reduce itch such as chlorpheniramine 1/2 tablet or 2mg twice daily, and an elizabethan collar may be needed temporarily to reduce further self trauma while the dermatitis is being treated. Finally, if his itch persists despite parasite and infection treatment, then a true hypoallergenic diet trial (ie. Hill's z/d, or a duck/pea diet) may be required to investigate possible food allergy.
Kimberly Coyner, DVM DACVD
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