Fiv+ Cat With Fur Loss Around Ears, Food Sensitivity?

deepsearch

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Butch is about five years old, but I haven't had him for very long. I caught him in a trap last July. When I had blood work done on him in Oct. I found out for sure he is FIV+. The results of the blood work were good, the vet said that other than being FIV+ he is in good health. But she noticed he had dry, rough paw pads. She said this could just be due to malnutrition or a food allergy and it hasn't really improved since he's become a house cat. He also had some diarrhea, but he didn't have it consistently and I chalked it up to changes in his diet or too many freeze-dried treats. The vet suggested that if he continued to have issues he could be put on a prescribed hypoallergenic diet to see if that helps him.

Now that I've had Butch for a few months it does seem that he has a food sensitivity. He is losing some fur around his ears, just in the past week or so, and I've noted that he chews/grooms himself more than what seems normal for a cat. So I suspect he has itchiness. Presently he also has some cat acne on his chin that I've been treating myself and presumably that makes him want to scratch more.

I have been concerned with getting him a high quality low-carb food and have not yet tried a restricted diet. Whenever I take him back to the vet I don't know if they would recommend more tests or have me buy a prescription food from them. I have four other adult cats so if I can get a healthy limited-ingredient diet that they would all eat that would be ideal. Lately the cats have been eating Nulo chicken and duck indoor formula and I just introduced them to some Tiki Cat chicken and fish kibble. I have been feeding various wet foods since they got persnickety about the canned diet I had been getting them... So multiple sources of protein, no grains.

I would appreciate any suggestions or input from anyone with a FIV+ cat or a cat with allergies or similar issues. Thank you very much for reading.


^ Thinning fur behind his ears. I haven't had a cat with food allergies before, but having read that this is one of symptoms, I am guessing that is what's causing this.

^ Butch's son, probably, Moby. They do like to groom each other and snuggle.
 
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cheeser

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We have a cat with FIV and food allergies, among other things. :wink:

In Buddy's case, an allergy to chicken caused chronic yeast infections in his ears that made him scratch himself raw and bald, as well as a weird black fungus around his toenails. The vet prescribed Tresaderm for the ear infections, an OTC antihistamine, and once we eliminated all chicken and other poultry/fowl products from his diet, he showed significant improvement. Of course, things are never quite that simple, and through a process of trial and error (mostly error!), we discovered that Buddy is also allergic to shellfish and egg products. Fish can also be a common allergen, but fortunately, we had already eliminated that from his diet after he developed some urinary tract problems.

At the moment, Buddy is mostly eating Hound & Gatos lamb, pork, and rabbit flavors. But he also likes Natural Balance LID venison, KOHA venison pate, and a few odds and ends.

Hope you get your guy's problems sorted out, and that he feels better soon! :vibes::vibes::vibes:
 
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deepsearch

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Thank you for responding. That definitely sounds like an ordeal with your guy, hope he's doing well. :kitty: I was concerned that Butch's ears are hurting him, but when I checked them out he didn't react at all and they didn't look red or irritated or anything. So hoping he doesn't develop an infection. In the past the vet has recommended Zyrtec when one of the cats had sneezing fits. I didn't even think about it helping with potential food allergies.

I've bought Hound & Gatos lamb in the past and the cats seemed to like it well enough, but they've been getting tired of a food after awhile... Do you feed exclusively canned food? I'd prefer to feed all the cats wet food, I've just had issues with getting one in particular to eat enough to maintain a good weight so I incorporated dry back into their diet. The LID kibbles are all pretty heavy in carbs, it seems, though. Best I found so far is the First Mate chicken with blueberries. If Butch isn't allergic to chicken, could work for all of them. I'd rather try him on that than any carb-heavy vet prescribed diets that have chicken, anyway. I've fed Butch cooked chicken and he likes it a lot, so potentially I could make him a homemade diet with a commercial vitamin/mineral mix. I have been giving him freeze-dried meat treats, but since I read that FIV cats probably shouldn't eat raw, I was going to just offer him cooked meat as a treat instead.

Thanks again for your input~
 

epona

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I have no experience of FIV at all, just want to suggest some things that may not be related to that, just things that any cat can get, that you have probably already looked into, but just in case...

-fleas often bite cats around the neck result in cats scratching around the neck
-ear mites can make cats scratch their ears
-polyps can make a cat's ear very itchy and uncomfortable - my Radar balded his ear and made it bleed on the outside a few days before it started bleeding from the ear canal (poor Radar, love him and hope he is better soon, he's still in hospital right now)
-are you absolutely sure that Moby isn't overgrooming Butch's ear?

Just a few thoughts. I wish you all the best, they are both lovely looking cats :)
 

cheeser

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I've bought Hound & Gatos lamb in the past and the cats seemed to like it well enough, but they've been getting tired of a food after awhile... Do you feed exclusively canned food? I'd prefer to feed all the cats wet food, I've just had issues with getting one in particular to eat enough to maintain a good weight so I incorporated dry back into their diet. The LID kibbles are all pretty heavy in carbs, it seems, though. Best I found so far is the First Mate chicken with blueberries. If Butch isn't allergic to chicken, could work for all of them. I'd rather try him on that than any carb-heavy vet prescribed diets that have chicken, anyway. I've fed Butch cooked chicken and he likes it a lot, so potentially I could make him a homemade diet with a commercial vitamin/mineral mix. I have been giving him freeze-dried meat treats, but since I read that FIV cats probably shouldn't eat raw, I was going to just offer him cooked meat as a treat instead.

Thanks again for your input~
Our cats tend to get tired of anything after we've fed it to them for awhile. So we like to rotate their options as best we can. We feed our cats canned food, and occasionally some freeze-dried treats such as PureBites, Sojos, or Orijen. I'd like to be able to make our own cat food, but it simply isn't possible right now for a number of reasons.

I know that some people feed their FIV+ kitties a steady diet of raw food, and they've never had any problems. We just prefer to err on the side of caution since Buddy was already symptomatic when we took him in, and has some other health issues as well. So the freeze-dried treats are as adventurous as we get. :wink:

But as epona epona said, your kitty's problem may not be allergies at all. Hope you and your vet get this figured out soon. *crosses fingers...and toes*
 
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