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Pulling out own fur

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  
Mr. Purrs

The world's my- toy
 
 
Purred: Sat Mar 16, '13 6:11pm PST 
So my 8yo cat has been pulling out her own hair and it's not growing back. About a year ago, I had her to the vet and found out that she has an immune disorder which is causing her body to attack itself. At that time, they gave her a steroid shot and some steroid pills and that seemed to help clear it up. She started to do it again about a month ago so I got more steroid pills, but this time it doesn't seem to be doing much good except she's not scratching/biting the spot now. What is sad is that once she pulls out her fur, it doesn't come back in. Also, she had an IV over a year and half ago and where they shaved the fur, it never grew back.

Curious if any other cat owners are experiencing these same problems with their cat?
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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Sun Mar 17, '13 9:54am PST 
First thing is what kind of a diet is she on because that can exacerbate the issue. If she's on any food with grains and/or a dry diet you need to think about changing it to a wet, grain free diet or even a raw food diet. She may have a skin allergy also with that immune disorder and grains turn to sugar which causes a lot of damage to the body. Also, ask your vet about Atopica which has been used by a lot of kitties here on this site with good results. Make sure she's getting enough water in her diet as well.
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Mr. Purrs

The world's my- toy
 
 
Purred: Sun Mar 17, '13 2:45pm PST 
She is on a low allergen dry cat food which has greatly improved her fur (soft and shiny) as well as keeping her from puking (another previous issue). She refuses to eat wet cat food. I will definitely ask about the medication at our next visit. Just wish I could figure out why her fur won't grow back - the vet seemed a little confused by this too.
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Miss Tiny- Burr Burr

Love and adore.
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 18, '13 8:48am PST 
i have to agree with that she needs grain free/starch fee/vegetable free wet catfood. if your unable to make your own, i would try canned friskies pate style. they have some rice in them but not much, and of all the grains/starches, it is the best if you have to feed it. avoid corn, wheat,soy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, greenbeans, peas.

to be honest, i believe vet prescription diets are junk. I say this because i went threw a sickness with my cat Tiny. she almost died, and she was on pills and "special" diet. desperate, i spent a lot of time researching and finally switched her diet to raw no grain/starch diet. And im not even kidding that it changed her digestive problems in a week.

I also had a cat who licked all the fur off her legs because she was stressed. is there any changes in the house? does she dislike other pets? I ended up having to keep this cat separate from other pets and her fur grew back on its own.
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Alex (sweet- angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 18, '13 1:18pm PST 
Actually switching to raw is another great idea. I know there's a kitty here BK who eats raw and is on Atopica for his skin conditions which were really bad and he's doing well.
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 19, '13 5:30am PST 
Here we are! I agree you have to get off that awful dry food. An elimination diet of raw food would be best, but if you can't do that try to do a canned elimination diet where you feed a single novel protein source for 8-10 weeks. We used Natural Balance Limited Ingredient venison when we first started BK on an elimination diet and he wouldn't eat the canned prescription food. This was before I knew anything about feline nutrition - because of his allergies I seem to have become an expert since then!

Ask your vet about Atopica. I'm not sure it's something that would work for you - it's actually an immune suppressant. Hmm, maybe it would help now that I think about it - definitely worth asking about. Let us know how it goes!
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Blackberry

Somewhere there- is love for- everyone
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 19, '13 9:55am PST 
Hi Mr. Purrs. You said that your cat won't eat canned food; have you read catinfo.org? This website is maintained by a pro-raw feeding vet, but she has a lot of information on canned vs. dry cat food. If you look at the right side of the home page in the dark green shaded column you will see a link to the part of her site that has a good number of methods for converting a kibble only eating cat to a canned food cat. Please consider trying to again to switch away from kibble if you can afford to do it. As others have mentioned, the species inappropriate ingredients contained in dry foods will definately not help an allergy kitty.

To address another point, Blackberry also has very bad allergies/immune system problems. He is fed mostly a raw diet with some grain free canned food, yet despite the diet (at one point I even had him only on raw rabbit) he continues to scratch, bite himself, and pull his fur out. His dermatologist feels that he has environmental allergies and I am saving up to have serum allergy testing done. The point here is that you can't assume that all allergies are food related.

Blackberry was also on Atopica for about one year. At times this medication helped him and at other times it didn't seem to do too much. Effectiveness probably depends on the individual. Currently BB is on Gabapentin and an antihistimine which I can't recall the name of at the momment which seem to be helping him; his sores have healed over and at least some of his hair is growing back.

Good luck!

Purrs,
Blackberry
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Mr. Purrs

The world's my- toy
 
 
Purred: Sun Mar 24, '13 6:52am PST 
Thank you all for your advice; looks like I have some researching to do! She's pretty happy and healthy (for the most part), but I don't want her to be bald! I had never heard of dermatologists for cats - where do you find one?
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Blackberry

Somewhere there- is love for- everyone
 
 
Purred: Sun Mar 24, '13 3:48pm PST 
My regular vet gave me the name of the dermatologist that BB sees. There is an American College of Veterinary Dermatology that certifies dermatologists. If you google that, or just veterinary dermatologists, perhaps you can come up with some in your area.
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