I have a 6 year old Cat that in the last year has developed skin sores. I have had her to the vet every other month with no real diagnosis. The Vet did put my Cat on a regiment of Prednisone and Chlorpheniramine Maleate. The Prednisone starts out at a fairly high dose...5mg every 12hrs. for 3 days and then a taper. The Antihistamine is given twice daily at 2mg.
My question is that it seems that when my Cat is on the high dose of the Prednisone, she does fine but when we taper the medicine, the sores start re-appearing. I am lost as what to do next. I do not want to keep this poor cat on Prednisone for the rest of her life. She has gained considerable weight in the last few months. She is at 16lbs. Do you have any suggestions as to what she may have?? I will tell you that these sores started developing after I brought another cat into the house. This was a year ago. Could she be allergic to another cat??
Cats develop sores due to a variety of reasons, such as allergies (food or pollen/dust, cats are not allergic to each other), skin parasites (fleas or microscopic mites), and ringworm (which is a skin fungal infection). If the sores developed after the other cat arrived, I worry about infectious diseases, and so it is important to make sure that both cats are on good flea and parasite control (such as Revolution spot on, used every 2 weeks for 3 treatments on both cats), and your vet may want to culture your cat for ringworm. If symptoms persist despite parasite treatment, and if the ringworm culture is negative, then I would consider food allergy or pollen/dust allergies, and you could talk to your veterinarian about starting a hypoallergenic diet trial (unfortunately there is no accurate skin or blood test for food allergies, so the test and treatment are the hypoallergenic diet trial for 8 weeks, with no other treats or foods). I agree, keeping her on steroids for the rest of her life is not a good option, because there are potential side effects such as diabetes, so although steroids are a good quick fix to treat symptoms, it is going to be important to identify and treat the underlying cause of the sores. If your cat continues to have problems despite the above plan, then you can talk to your vet about referral to a veterinary dermatologist for further workup, such as skin biopsy or allergy skin testing/desensitization for pollen/dust allergies. Veterinary dermatologists can be located in your area by going to www.acvd.org and click "find a dermatologist".
Kimberly Coyner, DVM DACVD
Dermatology Clinic for Animals of Las Vegas
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