Friday, August 26, 2011

Mysterious Scratching in a Cat: Not Always What You Think!

Well, my sister’s cat Sox (who has been mentioned in many articles but in particular in my Feb. 4th article) who had the EGC (eosinophilic granuloma complex) issue a while back had still been scratching her neck area and just wouldn’t stop. Now, I knew that a reaction from whatever triggered the EGC could cause this for quite a while but this had been a LONG time since flea/tick topical (the suspected cause of the EGC) had been applied. I was casually talking with my sister about this one day and we both agreed that it couldn’t be a food allergy because we were both under the (wrong) assumption that food allergies made cats sick (vomit, diarrhea, etc) and that they didn’t make cats scratch. Well, later that night, I called my sister back because I had gotten suspicious and had looked some things up and, sure enough, had found that food allergies do in fact make cats scratch and that it is an “intolerance”, not an allergy, if a cat throws up a particular food all the time. She was NOT happy to find this out (although we were both relieved that it was possibly something as simple as this) but asked me what I thought she should do. I told her that while she could take the cat to the vet, they would likely run a blood test and tell her either that it was not a food allergy or that it was indeed a food allergy. If it was a food allergy, I told her, then they would tell her to use a certain diet that contained different ingredients (and simpler ingredients) than the ones she was getting right now and to feed her that for up to six weeks to try and find out what the ingredient causing the allergy was. So, first off, she fed Sox only Friskies canned food (a food that we knew had never caused issues for Sox) for a while but, as you might imagine, that can get really hard when you are not always home to give it to the cat. So, she went to a store and bought a bag of PurinaONE Beyond, which is new and is Purina’s best product (in my opinion). Sox has been on this food for a while now and I am happy to report that she is NOT scratching anymore and hasn’t been for several weeks. She got to have “the sweater of shame” taken off her and is a much happier (and cooler) cat now! So, if your cat is scratching and won’t stop, you might consider the possibility of a food allergy. The food that Sox had been eating was a very high quality food (Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul) but unfortunately, it has “dried skim milk” as one of its ingredients. This is not usually an issue with cats (except for ones that are allergic) because it is a small amount, however, this is the ingredient that was the issue for Sox. Food allergies are more common in cats than many people realize and probably go unnoticed in many cats because their owner attributes the symptoms to something else.
Here are some facts about food allergies. This came from Drs Foster and Smith website.

“Food allergies account for about 10-15% of all allergies in dogs and cats. Food allergies may show up concurrently with allergies to pollen, dust, etc. Symptoms include:
Itching, especially face, feet, trunk, limbs and anal area
Ear problems, often yeast-related
Skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then recur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases
Occasionally, dogs with true food allergies may have increased bowel movements and soft stool. Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerances, which are not true allergies, and generally cause diarrhea and vomiting.”

Blog Update!

Well, it has been a while since my last blog update because I’ve been busy with lots of things. Here is an update on how things are doing and what’s new. First off, Smokey and Sunny have been doing well although I think Sunny has been eating bugs that get inside, or something else that she shouldn’t be eating, because she has gotten sick several times lately. Fiona is doing well and really likes her larger cage (she went from a little over 1 square foot to 7 square feet). She also likes the time she gets to run around my room on the floor! Gex and Seze are doing great and Seze is truly an amazing hunter! She has such accuracy now that she is older and bigger. It is really awesome to watch her stalk a cricket and grab it! My fish tanks are doing pretty well now but instead of three tanks, I have two. My ten-gallon nano-reef had many issues so I moved everything over to my twenty-gallon tank. Things are doing much better now, but my candy cane coral was not doing so well, and it turns out that the hardness of the water was too low so I’ve been adding a product called “Superbuffer dKH” to raise the carbonate hardness. It seems to be working thank goodness! My forty-seven gallon freshwater community tank is doing great and now has a live plant in it (it was supposed to have six but five of them didn’t grow!)! I’ll try to be more regular with my blog updates!