Purrbaby advice?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by AnnieO, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Well, the elder cat is now 15 1/2, and his skin issues have returned. I've been told everything from "it's fleas" (it wasn't) to "he's allergic to something" (can't figure out what, though).

    We've been giving him a nightly antihistamine (pilling a cat is SO much fun... NOT)... I guess it has helped some. But he's still scratching the snot out of himself, has scabs all over his back and sides and legs. I don't know which came first, the scratching or the scabbing.

    The only thing that seemed to REALLY help was a steroid shot, but we really cannot afford those every 2 weeks.

    This purrbaby has had medical issues off and on his whole life. As a kitten, I got him with gummy eyes and a bladder infection. We thought he was a girl. He got neutered, then the vet said if the antibiotics didn't stop him peeing on everything, we'd have to consider Prozac because he was so nervous. Well... I lived with XH in a house with hardwood floors... I'd be nervous too if I was an itty bitty kitty! But the antibiotics helped. A couple years later, same thing happened. Poor thing went through x-rays, being knocked out for those, and antibiotics - and then we found out chondroitin on his food helped! Also, this cat never grew the hair on his belly back after it was shaved for neutering, but the chondroitin helped with that, too.

    One vet told me his collar was too tight and that is why he has a hairless ring on his neck. Nope, it just doesn't grow back! When I can fit my entire hand under his collar and he's not choking - it's not too tight. He's just weird.

    He's had three more episodes of infection since. Nothing at all for at least 5 years now. But... There's this skin thing. He's itchy... And there are clumps of fur everywhere. We vacuum daily. Even so, the baby finds some... Ugh.

    You can't even gently touch the poor thing's back without him yelping and trying to bite. And honestly... I don't wanna, it's icky. We've bathed him in oatmeal stuff... We've tried everything. sister in law works for PetSmart, so she's given us some ideas... But, no.

    Aside from sleeping a lot, which he has always done, he is eating fine, coming to get petted (on the head and neck and ruff)... And with all his issues, I never expected him to live this long.

    He's clearly miserable with the itching, but as I mentioned happy otherwise. And he is old. I just don't know what to do... I don't know whether to let him continue or to just go ahead and put him to sleep... I don't want to, but what kind of quality of life does he have if no one wants to touch him besides on the head? I just don't know. I feel bad for considering it. on the other hand...
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    They do have an over the counter cortisone spray for animals. There is also that stuff called scalpisone or something like that which is for humans but all it is is liquid cortisone which spreads very quickly over the scalp when you put a few drops on your scalp. I think I would try both of those as well as cutting out all gluten, soy, dairy and if you can, dyes. Yes the food is more expensive but...

    I buy my food at Tractor Supply and the bag I buy that is actually good for my dog is cheaper there than a same size bag of name brand dog food which has all the nasty's in it. For example, I pay just over 20 bucks including tax for an 18 pound bag of my food. A 17 pound bag of premium dog food is over 24 dollars at my grocery store.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Janet, I've tried the spray... It makes him run around the house like a feline demon. I guess it stings... Though it works really well on Pat's dry skin patches! Also, we started feeding the cats Taste of the Wild from TSC, back in April. At first they were eating less... Now he seems to be eating more. Though he has lost some weight, too. But it didn't help the skin issues.
  4. jal

    jal Member

    My parents have a cat that has suffered for years with an allergy to something. My parents couldn't figure it out and the vet tried countless things. She would go through periods where she would groom excessively and scratch at herself. They went the cortisone shot route with immediate relief and things always ended up coming back. She wouldn't get raw to the point she had open sores, but you could see where she was pulling out fur. They now have her on a cream that you apply once a day. Just a little dab inside her ear. They get it though the vet and it has been a godsend for the cat. She no longer goes after herself excessively or experiences these flare ups and she is much happier.

    I will get you the name of it.
  5. jal

    jal Member

    It is called Prednisolone TD.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Years ago I had a dog with the same issues, I never did figure out what the problem was, but I did try many different things. You may have already done this, but have you changed his food? It could be a food allergy to corn or whatever they put in cat food. I put bacon grease and brewers yeast in my dogs food and that seemed to help. Sometimes it's the grains in the food, you can buy grain free canned cat food, it's more expensive but it may help. Like with human allergies sometimes it's accumulative and takes a while to develop, so it could be the food. Someone mentioned it might be an allergy to grass and my dog was outside a lot so I kept him away from the grass too. Vitamin E oil applied directly to the affected areas is soothing and healing too. It was awful to witness because he would just scratch himself so much..........hope you find something that works for him.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Not a lot of suggestions here, but they do make a liquid Benadryl for kids. Might be easier to get down him with a syringe than a pill. I always keep a bottle of it around for my dogs for emergencies like insect stings or allergic reactions.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'll check out the prednisolone - heaven knows it worked wonders when my asthma kicked up! (Haven't had that problem in a while, hmm.)

    Donna - have you ever seen a cat who has just had a bit of Benadryl hit their tongue? It is HILARIOUS! Apparently Benadryl is SUPER bitter to cats. DROOL - everywhere - for 10-20 minutes. We tried putting the syringe as far back in his mouth as it would go but... LOL! Still drooly. And a dose for a 9-lb cat is about 1ml - which is a LOT when you're fighting a struggling kitty!
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    :bigsmile: I've always just squirted it down their little goozles so fast they don't know what hit them! They may sputter and gag but it goes down!
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've not read the other responses, sorry.

    I do know that companies are rapidly changing the content/proportions of ingredients in pet foods (including cat food) to try to keep their profit margins.

    I noticed Bruce looking worse than ever...........gunky eyes.........fur looking bad.........just really not looking well. I switched his food (he'd basically stopped eating his old food). He's at least eating again......not noticing much improvement in either him or midnight who is also not looking so hot. This is name brand food...........generic I can't do, they flat out refuse to so much as sniff it now.

    I have, however, been giving the cats some chicken livers ect when I'm making dog food. Seems to help. It has me wondering if making cat food...........would really be that difficult. Bruce won't touch rice, but I know long long ago people fed cats organ meats people didn't eat ect.......especially chicken.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Lisa, from what I understand... Dogs are omnivores, but cats are pure carnivores. I'd suggest random meat and bone ick for Bruce...
  12. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I'm trying to figure out what advise to give without writing a book here.

    I give pills to cats you can't touch or get near - I will make a pea size meatball with hamburger or tuna around the pill put at very top of food in bowl and watch if cat spits it out get the bowl put pill back in coated and cross your fingers. People think I'm nuts but I will say when putting pill back "you need that pill it will make your cough/fleas etc go away" Have yet to have to put pill back more then twice not sure if cat understood or pill dissolved into food at that point.

    With house cats where I can open mouth and give pill whole I always coat it with a little margarine, it works kind of like a sticky bomb where stuck to throat or back of tongue cats only way to get rid of it is to swallow it. Misty still bites me 9 out of 10 attempts so I usually go feral cat route with her; though the time I told her the capstar could also be given anally she swallowed it (who said they don't understand what we say, they do!)

    All 3 of my fur pickers I've dealt with over the years had 2 things in common; first they can't stand a single flea running around on them it gets that stressed out excessive grooming thing going and second they suffered from dry skin. Dry skin needs to be treated internally more often then externally. All 3 of those cats I would give a little bacon or hamburger grease, a little pat of butter helps too. With buddy I would put a drop of olive oil on scabby or raw areas - don't rub down whole cat with olive oil it will give it horrible diarrhea that might kill the cat.

    Unfortunately the kitty you described sounds like what I went thru with Molly, she was 17yo when dislocated hip and was finally put to sleep. Yes we all loved Molly but there was never a bigger PITA cat put on this earth. Kitten- 5yo cortisone shots & antihistamine pills seemed like if wasn't snow on ground she needed them, seizures started at around 10yo, she was leaving trails of pink urine everywhere the last 3 years (vet said they never live more then 6 months doing that was why didn't put her down then). My thought was if not suffering let her live. Thinking back we kept that poor cat alive about 5 years past the point where there was any quality of life - out of my own selfishness of not having the guts to let her go. Trying to take that cat from Angel would have gotten me beaten for sure, so guess I could say fear not selfishness; point being it was about what the people wanted not what the cat needed for those last 5 years.

    At the time I felt I was doing the best thing by keeping Molly alive, now with all this TNR work I've been doing I realized I could have fed and vaccinated probably 20 cats on the money I spent on vet bills, special food, medications etc. Not telling anyone what to do but at some point you need to weigh if keeping an animal alive past it's time is taking a home away from a healthy one that spends its life sitting in a shelter is the right thing.

    Whatever you decide I support you and will pray this all works out for you, hopefully I suggest something that clicks and helps you. Nancy
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh, you are SO right they understand!

    sister in law suggested putting the Benadryl in his food. Yep. You guessed it. Would not TOUCH it. However, I did not have to worry about the dog having seasonal allergies that day...

    He's become resigned to the pill... He's not happy about it, but he takes it. In food - he wouldn't touch it and he knows I know it.
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I might just wind up doing that. I'll have to figure up the cost of it though........and see how much he'd eat at a time.
  15. goomer

    goomer New Member

    Prednisolone pills are not expensive to give. Once you start giving them, you must keep doing so and not stop abruptly or the cat can go into adrenal crisis.

    I haven't seen fleas mentioned on this thread, but this is another possibility. Our indoor cat seems to contract an awful case of fleas every year, and this year we took him to the vet where he got Rx only flea medications (Revolution), a steroid shot because he was itching like mad and pulling his fur out....and adjuvant Prednisolone pills in the event the itching returned.

    The long term steroid injection has been known to kill cats occasionally, so we opted for the short term injection and the pills. I use pillers on our cats:
    [​IMG]They work wonders lol
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Thanks goomer... No, fleas are not the problem. We thought they might be, but since we got rid of them it's been getting worse. Actually the other cat had a lot, he didn't...
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would be SUPER leery of using a topical flea treatment on an animal in such bad shape. Frontline and the others are very hard on the skin and with the sores can make things FAR worse. It is also absorbed differently when the skin is in bad shape and they can easily get WAY more than they are supposed to. given that they are pesticides, they are hard on the body and in an elderly or weakened animal this is very risky.

    So what do you do? You can start with capstar if the vet approves. It is an oral flea medication that works for a day or so (or that is what we have been told). It isn't great to give long term though. I would go online an order neem oil for her. Then mix it with some olive, almond, or even canola/vegetable oil and apply it topically to her. NOT everywhere because it will end up giving her the runs, but over part of her body.

    Neem is an organic pesticide and is actually approved for use on organic crops. It kills almost any bug out there but is not at all harmful to humans or animals. In Africa it is even used to cook with! It has a strong odor which is why you dilute it. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to help with the scent. Lavendar is not harmful to animals as far as I know and it is helpful, as is citronella. Of course you want only a couple of drops of the essential oil mixed into a few ounces of carrier oil and about a teaspoon of neem oil. problem 2-3 oz of carrier oil and 1 t of neem is plenty for fleas.

    Neem is in one of those as seen on tv cracked heel repair creams in a stick form. You can actually coat yourself in 100% neem and not get sick from the effects of it other than the smell. It is awesome at killing lice too, not that you have that problem now. A little goes a LONG way and is a repellant as well as killing the insects. It would help heal her skin and soothe it, and deal with any fleas that may be a problem. It is far gentler than frontline or other flea products and very effective.

    You will also want to spray her bedding and wherever else the fleas are if you have them. I dilute the neem and add a bit more essential oil to what I spray on the house than I use on the pets.

    I get it from ebay. I search for 100% neem oil and many sellers will let you choose the amount you want, so you are not stuck with ten ounces when you only want a small amount. I have never gone through even half of a four ounce bottle in a year, not even the year we had five lice outbreaks over the winter. A small amount goes a LONG way.

    Even if you choose to ignore the neem recommendation, go to ebay and order some shea butter. It is amazingly helpful for healing skin problems. I buy 100% shea butter that is refined. Sites will tell you that unrefined is better, purer, etc.. and maybe it is, but it also has a very strong odor that I cannot stand. I have horrible skin problems and cannot use most commercial products on my skin or I get tons of itching (and I do NOT have fleas!! lol) and deep open sores that don't heal well. Using pure shea butter on them has drastically reduced the number and severity of the sores. You can mix neem with shea by melting the shea and stirring them together. I melt shea by using a cup set into a pan of hot water. If the water is too hot to keep a finger in, it is too hot for the shea butter. If you use the microwave to melt it, use 50% power and very short amounts of time (15-30 sec) and stir after each one.

    If you choose prednisolone (aka prednisone), be aware that it comes in tablet form very very cheaply. My mom took it for health problems and when that $4 list of rx medications came out it more than doubled what she had been paying for 100 tablets. And that was the cash price, not the insurance price. The cream form will cost more, most likely. You can crush it and mix it with water and dab it on her paw. We did this with an older cat for quite a long time. Cats will lick the medicine off if you dab it on their paws. We didn't want to force it down the cat's throat because he was 17 and very frail and we felt it might hurt him to force it down. He never fell for that pill in the meatball thing, so we would crush the pill and mix it with just enough water to make a paste, then we rubbed it on his paws. when he cleaned it off he got either tuna or whipped cream (the spray kind, all our cats have gone batty over it!). Knowing the treat was coming every single time (and that he got to pick - I held the tuna can and his whipped cream can down and he would rub on the one he wanted) Occupational Therapist (OT) him to lick the medications off his fur. We put it on the fur on his paw or ankle area of the front feet so it would be easy to get to. We also made sure the water bowl only had a small bit of water so he couldn't rinse the area off in the water. He tried that the second time we put medications on his paws!.

    The other tip for giving pills is to use pliers. If it has to be done and the cat is a biter, wrap him up in a towel or have someone hold his scruff, hold the pill in a pair of needle nose pliers and put the pill as far back as you can. Not far enough to hurt, of course, but as far back as you can. It really, really helps with some cats.

    Talking to your cat is NOT strange. They do understand, often way more than we think they do. if you tell thme what you are doing and why, they are far more likely to let you do whatever it is.
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Susie, I may have mentioned a few months ago, the other cat got too much flea treatment and started seizing, etc. We got her taken care of but it was UGLY. The company (Sentry) is reimbursing us for vet bills. Yeah... So no more of THAT. And this started up before then anyway...

    I already have some neem oil... I've heard you sing its praises before. Fleas actually aren't the issue at all (don't have any).

    So I need to get with sister in law about the prednisone.
  19. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I would NEVER use any of the topical OTC flea medications on any pet. And I would hesitate to use even the Rx flea medications from the vet on an animal that already has skin problems or allergies. I use Comfortis on my dogs with great results and they make a cat formula too. It's a once a month tablet that you break up and mix with their food. It works so well that within 30-60 minutes ... no more itching!
  20. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Donna, is that stuff OTC or Rx???