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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My 14 year old cat has been diagnosed with an allergy,

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My 14 year old cat has been diagnosed with an allergy, the vet ruled out flea allegy but said it was a needle in a haystack job to find out what she is allergic too, A steroid injection sorted the problem, which returned after a few weeks, I returned for a second steroid injection ( approx 5 week) now again back to square one with constant grooming & a bald sore patch on her belly. She is otherwise in good health. My problem is I cannot afford to keep paying for a steroid injection every few weeks, is there anything else I can try please? I have tried giving her an antihistamine with no sucess at all thank you
Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I see that your vet suspects allergies - is your kitty having skin problems then? If the problem is allergy related, then it would likely improve with steroid treatment but relapse and become worse again when the steroids wear off. If this is the case with your kitty, I would discuss other allergy treatments for her. Steroids can have some nasty side effects in cats, especially if they are given frequently. I have had great success in maintaining allergic cats with a medication called Atopica for cats. It is a daily to every other day maintenance medication to control allergy symptoms. As you've already seen, unfortunately antihistamines don't tend to help much. Make sure that she is absolutely FLEA FREE, as fleas are a very common allergy trigger - even ONE bite can make her absolutely miserable. I'd be happy to talk more about fleas if you'd like - just let me know. In rare cases itching can be a symptom of a mite infection, but this is pretty unlikely. Allergies can also be set off by foods, so in many cases the vet will recommend a hypoallergenic food trial if the kitty is responding well to steroids but relapsing after the medication wears off. Cats can become allergic to food or other environmental antigens at any time in their lives. The other thing I consider for cats who are losing their fur from over grooming is anxiety or stress. Cats calm themselves by grooming, so if they are anxious, some cats can over groom and pull out their hair like this. In these cases, the hair usually doesn't grow back with steroid treatment because the problem isn't an allergy. These cats can respond well to treatment with anti-anxiety medications. It's often difficult to determine exactly what is causing the anxiety - just like some people who have anxiety or panic attacks can't always tell you exactly what it is that they are upset about. If the hair loss is mostly over the belly, another thing to consider would be bladder disease. If a cat is over grooming their belly and pulling out the hair there, I also always check for bladder problems. If their bladder is painful because of an undiagnosed bladder infection or bladder stones, then this could be the cause of the over grooming. Here is also a link with some more information on over grooming and hair loss in kitties: So, in closing, other options for you to discuss with your vet would be food trials and maintenance allergy medications like Atopica for Cats. Please let me know what questions I can answer for you ~Dr. Sara
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