Wednesday, April 8, 2009


See the picture? That's my cat, Kiki,with a homemade elizabethan collar. Here's the story. A few weeks ago, I noticed black fur all over the place. I thought maybe the weather was getting warmer and Kiki was molting, shedding her thick fur, to cool off. The clumps of fur got worse, and she would show up with fur sticking out her mouth. Patches of skin started appearing on her body. My son and I looked this up - there's a cool vet site at - and realized the problem was either of two things: she had some internal chemical problem and was losing her fur; or she was yanking out her fur. We figured the latter since we had seen her with fur in her mouth. She was always scratching as well.

We gave her a dose of her flea medicine. She continued scratching and biting off her fur. I finally gave her a bath in diluted medicated Selsin Blue, and fashioned a homemade elizabethan collar so she can't pull off her fur. I applied a bit of Hydrocortisone on some of the raw spots on her behind, but she got really angry at me. I ordered a cat antihistamine, Chlorpheniramine 4 mg, from Petmeds; she can have 1-2 mg every 12 hours. Read vet's review of this stuff:

Vet's Review (Michael Dym, VMD)
"Chlorpheniramine "
Inhalent/contact allergies are one of the most common reasons for veterinary exam for dogs and cats outside of yearly wellness exams. Such allergies result in much itching, fee chewing, secondary bacterial and/or yeast infections of the skin and ears. This frustrating condition often leads to repetitive vet exams, cortisone and antibiotic prescriptions and increasing expense. For those pets prone to these allergic conditions, it is often an excellent idea to try an antihistamine first such as chlorphenirimine, diphenhydramine or clemastine from 1800petmeds. As I discuss under these other product reviews, the overall effectiveness of anthistamines in symptomatic relief in dogs is approximately 25% in my experience, and thus they are most effectively used when combined with essential fatty acids like Super omega 3 from 1800petmeds, regular shampooing, and antioxidant therapy with supplements like proanthozone. I especially find the chlorphenirimine antihistamine useful and my number one choice in allergic cats at a typical dose of 1 or 2 mg twice daily. However to enhance effectiveness in cats, I will prescribe a fatty acid such as nordic naturals pet cod liver oil, or be well, or missing link to my feline patients. The only rare side effects I see with this inexpensive antihistamine is mild sedation and even less common rare digestive upset. However I always try anthistamine therapy first, in conjunction with other supportive allergy treatments, before reaching for more expensive drugs like atopica or using cortisone, which can occasionally have short term and long term side effects in some patients. My overall rating of chlorphenirimine is a 4. Its ease of use a 5. Its efficacy a 3.5, when combined with the supportive measures listed here and under my product review of diphenhydramine.

Based on our internet research, vets will assume it's an allergy problem before looking into other matters. We are doing that. Hopefully, this will clear up. If not, we will have to take her to vet. One of the reasons I hate taking her to the vet is that we've had vets run expensive tests on our cats, and have suggested drastic measures as pulling out my cat's teeth or putting another cat to sleep in order to get rid of that black stuff in her ears - tests and measures which proved unnecessary. I've arrived at the conclusion that they want to make money more than to help my cat. I recall how our vet insisted we could only get Advantage flea medicine from her, which meant we had to pay her an office visit to buy the stuff. Same thing with cat senior's food - she had insisted we could only buy this from her. I've found answers to many of these cat problems in the internet, from the use of Immugen to boost her immunities to how-to-make an elizabethan collar.

So, here's what I think happened to my cat. Someone in our household believes there are no fleas in the winter, and stops giving our cat her flea medicine during that time. Our Kiki loves to sleep under a bougainvillea bush in the rose garden, and I think she either got bit by fleas or some other little creature. Kiki is very allergic; she's had episode similar to this, although this bout is pretty bad. I've had to bathe her in medicated cat shampoo, and I've squirted anti-itch stuff. I think some of those chemicals made her sicker last time, so I thought I'd do it my way. I'm going to rub some olive oil with tea tree oil on her bald spots, later on.
It's a bit tough because she gets upset, and I'm easily intimated by her.

I hope this allergy problem clears up.

The internet is a great place to find information about pet problems.

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