Raven’s allergies are back in full force. 

I thought we had solved Raven’s itching & hair loss problem by eliminating chicken and fish from her diet. She was doing really well for about six months and over spring & summer had regrown quite a bit of fur. But her hair nibbling started again in September and continued despite being given steroids. She’s bitten the fur off her legs and a good portion of her tail again. It’s not as bad as last year (yet), but it’s obviously not been fixed by changing her diet. The vet thinks it was probably a coincidence that her allergies settled down when I changed her food.

We’re at a loss as to what’s causing her itching and the vet suspects we’re going to have to manage this for the rest of her life. Allergies often get worse as time goes on, so that really….pardon the expression….sucks! He’s mentioned using cyclosporine, but I’m very hesitant to use such a powerful drug. I’m more comfortable using steroids if we can find a dose that keeps her comfortable without causing too many side effects.

I know this isn’t the worst medical issue to deal with. I’m just frustrated that despite our best efforts we aren’t having much luck keeping Raven’s allergies under control. I guess we’ll just have to keep trying!

Tuesday update: I checked in with the vet and we’ve started Raven on oral prednisolone and zyrtec (cetirizine antihistamine) daily for the next two weeks. We’ll reassess after that.

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24 Responses to Raven’s allergies are back in full force. 

  1. Summer says:

    What a bummer! 🙁 I wish there was some way to figure out what is causing Raven’s allergies, that didn’t involve really heavy duty drugs.

  2. Oh dear. We are sorry to hear this.
    We wish there was a better fix.
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

  3. Jan K says:

    Oh no, that really does suck! Do you think her allergies might be seasonal (since our dog Luke started with them in the fall also, but his are better now), or have they been year round?
    I saw something recently, I think, maybe a way to test for allergies or food sensitivities from home, but darn I can’t remember where now and if it was for cats too or just dogs. If I think of it/ find it I’ll let you know (though I think it was pricey).

  4. Grace says:

    Well this indeed sucks – hope you find a solution soonest.

  5. Have you thought about consulting with a vet dermatologist? I took Ernie to see one when he was having some issues. She did an allergy test on him and found out all the things he is allergic to (one being dogs!). She told me we could start him on allergy shots, given once every 2 weeks. Fortunately, his issue cleared up and we didn’t have to go that route, but it’s available should he start having problems again.

    Also, the dermatologist told me I could give Ernie an antihistamine to help when he’s having problems. She suggested chlorpheniramine which is an over the counter med and fairly inexpensive. That helped Ernie as well. If it didn’t she said Allegra would have been her next recommendation. Just something to mention to your vet. ~Island Cat Mom

    • Raven says:

      Short answer – been there, done that. 🙂

      Long answer – We took Raven to a dermatologist last year who did a skin scraping and suggested flea medications (Raven doesn’t have fleas and she had adverse reactions to the flea meds). The next step was food trials, which we essentially did with her no chicken/no fish diet and thought we made very good progress until Fall came again. The dermatologist did not recommend allergy testing because she said it’s not very accurate.

      Antihistamines didn’t do much other than make Raven sleepy. We tried benedryl and zyrtec (cetirizine) which is supposed to be one of the most effective antihistamines for cats.
      Apoquel – approved for dogs but not cats didn’t work either.

  6. Poor Raven. We were wondering if you’d tried antihistamines too. We’ve used OTC diphenhydramine HCL tablets with success before. The dose depends on the cat’s weight. (Our Mom says you should have a pill splitter to get the tiny tabs to split, or someone will end up crying.)

    • Raven says:

      Diphenhydramine was very good at putting Raven to sleep, which stopped the biting 🙂 But it wasn’t very effective at controlling her allergies.

  7. Brian says:

    Dang it all, we thought you had solved it too. I sure hope you can find something to make it more manageable soon. Purrs from all of us Raven.

  8. Just a set back; you’ll find a way to help Raven! The Island Cats’s mom makes good sense in her comment, and I’ll just add that a holistic vet can really help with allergies.

    • Raven says:

      We have an alternative medicine vet here in town, but when I read the website, my scientist skeptic antennae get all tingly (not good).

  9. Allergy causes are hard to pin down both in animals and people. Maybe it’s the cold weather? One guess is as good as another I think.

    • Raven says:

      It’s appearing to be more Fall weather related than food. Food may be playing a component, but she’s having a much more serious reaction this year that I would have expected if it really is chicken & fish – which she has not eaten in at least 6 months.

  10. Mary McNeil says:

    I’m so sorry Raven is having more problems ! My gray boy has food and flea allergies that are a year-round struggle to control (just one flea bite sets off a full-body reaction.) The vet and I try to use steroids as seldom as possible but sometimes he needs that help. Purrayers and POTP to you and Raven !

    • Raven says:

      I know a lot of kitties do ok on steroids, and that may be the route we have to take with Raven, at least for 4-6 months of the year.

  11. Oh no. I’m sorry to hear this. Island Cats seem to have some good advice about maybe seeing a dermatologist. I had a friend who had to give her kitty pred for his whole life (he lived a very long life).

    • Raven says:

      Pred makes me nervous due to the long term risks. I had a diabetic kitty and really don’t want that to be the side effect of managing Raven’s itchy skin. But the cyclosporine scares me….maybe I’m overreacting, but it’s designed to suppress the immune system for things like organ transplants. That’s a whopper of a drug!

  12. 15andmeowing says:

    Poor Raven, I will be praying for her. I have read zyrtec works well for things like this. I was going to ask the vet about it, but I am waiting until her thyroid i sunder control.

  13. Oh no, we’re so sorry to read this ! Don’t give up ! Purrs

  14. Oh no, I’m SO sorry to see this! I hope you can find some ways to manage it. I wish I had some fabulous advice, but we haven’t had to deal with this before. My sister’s dog has terrible allergies, and they have to be so careful about what she can eat.

    • Raven says:

      Our Golden Retriever had sensitivities/allergies, but we were able to keep it under control with a special diet. He reacted severely to bug bites, so I’d keep cortisone cream and benedryl on hand to treat that. This is our first experience with what appears to be an allergy to something in the environment (mold, tree spores?) and maybe some food sensitivities on top of that.

  15. Cathy Keisha says:

    I’m going out on a limb here to help my furrend Raven. Have you investigated using CBD products? They’re safe. I think Blogpaws even had a campaign for one brand. I hope there’s some hope to make her more comfy rather than shaving her. I’m sure you know whether it could be itchy dry skin. I’ve been doing much better with the Venta.

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