Skin issues in cat.....should I use claritin?

Khrad

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Hi all,

I posted this a couple of weeks ago under Cat Behavior as I thought it was maybe stress related as one of the vets had suggested. I received some good advice on the thread, however the skin issues still have not subsided. A different vet had said it may be allergies. So I started searching posts on here and found some from others that were going through the same thing, however some of these posts are old and I have not heard back from anyone that I reached out to.

So I'm now posting this thread in hopes that someone can help me. I've been dealing with some issues with one of my cats for about a year now and I really need some advice, especially from anyone who has gone through this. I found a few posts suggesting the use of claritin/zyrtec and was wondering if anyone else has used these for their cats.

The issue is with my female cat who is grooming to the point of baldness and raw eczema like scabs on her belly, thighs, ears and ankles. I'm leaning towards seasonal allergies rather than food allergies, but I could be wrong? I'm suspecting seasonal allergies because I noticed from my timeline listed below that the flareups are around the same time as last year, around the fall and spring time and which are also when my allergies go into hyper-drive. If so, I would like know if Claritin or Zyrtec would actually work. If so how much should I give for a 10 lbs cat? Should I give the 24 hr. or the 12 hr.?

Little info about my cats.....I have two bengals, both my cats are young, female is 4 yrs old, male is 3 yrs old, I've had them since they were 10 weeks old. Both are indoor cats, the boy, I do take out onto the patio for some playtime once in a while, whilst the female wants nothing to do with the outside. Both are on Advantage Multi II and have no fleas, ticks or mites. I use a mixture of Smartcat Grass and LitterMaid Walnut litter for their 4 litter boxes, which are cleaned weekly. As for possible environmental triggers, I would be surprised as I am a neat freak and clean almost everyday. I don't use any harsh cleaning products, scented candles, air fresheners, etc. as I have allergies too.

I go out of my way to feed them the best food possible. My cats are and have been on 20% - Primal freeze dried rabbit & venison, 20% - Rawz can wet food (shredded variety chicken & duck) and 60% home cooked organic chicken, beef, turkey with Alnutrin Eggshell. Primal & Rawz are two of the most cleanest labels I could find. Both cats poop regularly, poop is firm, low in odor and semi-moist or dry (depending on can or freeze dried food). If my cat has allergies to food then I don't even know where to begin to eliminate. The only issue I can see is maybe the home cooked beef? Or is it the chicken?

The vet wants to put her on Royal Canin or Hills Science Hypoallergenic limited protein diet, but I looked at the labels on those and feel that the food I'm giving her is much more healthier (I can't believe the vets actually push this stuff!). When I told the vet that, she proceeded to give me a lecture about nutrition, so I have no intention in getting into it with her about anything food wise. I asked the vet what her course of treatment would be should it be seasonal allergies and she said that she would most likely give her more antibiotics and/or steroids for the flareups. But she insisted on first ruling out food allergies, so I don't know what to do. I'm so frustrated. And to top it off, due to Covid, I'm now unemployed so really can't spend anymore money on being the vet's guinea pig on finding a solution. Please advise as I'm having a very hard time with this as she is my baby and I only want what is best for her. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

So far the following has been done to come to the conclusion that it is allergies:

9/2019
- This all started after I went out of town for some weddings back to back. Shortly after my return, I found the cat started urinating outside the box and I noticed that her belly was balding with raw eczema like scabs. Took her to the vet, found out that she stressed herself so much with me being gone that she developed struvite crystals which resulted in a UTI. The vet said that the food had nothing to do with her condition and that she is just an overly sensitive cat and me being out of town just put her over the edge. The vet said baldness and scabs were probably due to the UTI as well. After a bill of $310 for ultrasound, antibiotics, steroid and ointment, she recovered.

4/2020 - The fur loss and scabs reappeared again. Took her to vet, was given antibiotics and steroid and charged $110. The vet said it was stress. Probably due to the change of everyone being home due to Covid? Who knows!

6/2020 - Took cat to different vet as the fur loss and scabs did not seem to disappear. Was told the same that she is stressed, was given antibiotics, Gabapentin (kitty Prozac) for as needed and different ointment. Was charged $100 for an exam, ointment and meds. Antibiotics and ointment helped clear scabs, but not completely.

9/2020 - Took cat back for recheck as the baldness and scabs did not subside, this time after charging me $80 for meds and ointment, the vet said to put her on Gabapentin (kitty Prozac) regularly as her condition is due to stress.

10/2020 - I wanted a second opinion before putting her on Gabapentin (kitty Prozac), so went to different vet, who after charging me $300 for a fungal culture, skin cytology (stain), antibiotics and steroids, she said that it's allergies and wants her on a hypo allergenic diet and suggested Royal Canin or Hills Science. The fungal culture & skin cytology were negative for ringworm.
 

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It would best to ask the vet about using Claritin or other Human medicine for your cat. The vet will be able to calculate the proper dosage for your cat and needs to be aware of anything you are giving to your cat in order to determine the best way to manage and treat the skin issue.

Chicken is a common culprit of skin issues in cats. Try eliminating all chicken from the diet for at least 13 weeks or so. Some cats are sensitive to all poultry so that might be a next step for you to eliminate from the diet.

The Advantage Multi could be causing a reaction. No idea why the skin issue only happens this time of year and not other times but the drier air and cooler temperatures may be a factor. Indoor only cats don't really need a monthly parasite preventative.

I don't see how the vet's treatment of antibiotics would be helpful for seasonal allergies :dunno: Sounds like that vet is just doing band -aid treatments for symptoms and not diagnosing the actual problem.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Hekitty takes Claritin. I buy the generic Loratadine at Walmart. LOL, I buy a lot, because I take TWO tablets a day during spring, summer and fall, and one during the winter, and Hekitty takes 1/2 of one tablet daily during spring and early summer. Have you tried using a wash of chilled chamomile tea to ease the itching? It can do wonders, as well as being antibiotic and antifungal. Brew the tea from a plain, commercial tea bag. Chill and apply with a cotton ball or soft cloth several times a day. I always recommend using commercial bags because they are ALL the German variety (no matter where they are grown). German chamomile is medicinally active and safe for cats, even internally for calming in proper dosages. The English variety is showy, but pretty useless medicinally and can be toxic to cats.
 

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5mg seems to be the standard dose, you can get Claritin in 5 and 10mg doses so make sure of which one you have. To be exact you might want to contact your vet and see what they say. I have had great success in giving small pills by hiding in a small tore off piece of Pill Pocket for Cats and then pushing it into a piece of bacon or cheese. Give the cat a small piece of the bacon or cheese first so they are more apt to just gulp the second piece down.
 
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Khrad

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It would best to ask the vet about using Claritin or other Human medicine for your cat. The vet will be able to calculate the proper dosage for your cat and needs to be aware of anything you are giving to your cat in order to determine the best way to manage and treat the skin issue.

Chicken is a common culprit of skin issues in cats. Try eliminating all chicken from the diet for at least 13 weeks or so. Some cats are sensitive to all poultry so that might be a next step for you to eliminate from the diet.

The Advantage Multi could be causing a reaction. No idea why the skin issue only happens this time of year and not other times but the drier air and cooler temperatures may be a factor. Indoor only cats don't really need a monthly parasite preventative.

I don't see how the vet's treatment of antibiotics would be helpful for seasonal allergies :dunno: Sounds like that vet is just doing band -aid treatments for symptoms and not diagnosing the actual problem.
It would best to ask the vet about using Claritin or other Human medicine for your cat. The vet will be able to calculate the proper dosage for your cat and needs to be aware of anything you are giving to your cat in order to determine the best way to manage and treat the skin issue.

Chicken is a common culprit of skin issues in cats. Try eliminating all chicken from the diet for at least 13 weeks or so. Some cats are sensitive to all poultry so that might be a next step for you to eliminate from the diet.

The Advantage Multi could be causing a reaction. No idea why the skin issue only happens this time of year and not other times but the drier air and cooler temperatures may be a factor. Indoor only cats don't really need a monthly parasite preventative.

I don't see how the vet's treatment of antibiotics would be helpful for seasonal allergies :dunno: Sounds like that vet is just doing band -aid treatments for symptoms and not diagnosing the actual problem.
Thank you for your response. See my gut's nudging me to go the antihistamine route first because there seems to be a pattern with the onset of these symptoms. They seem to occur in the spring and late summer/fall, just like my allergies. Unfortunately the vet is not interested in hearing about any other route than the food, which is very frustrating. And you are right, the vets are not diagnosing the actual problem, they want to go the text book route that tells them to eliminate food, which I understand, but when someone is telling you that these symptoms seem to have a pattern, why wouldn't they consider that? Instead they keep treating my poor baby like a guinea pig and shoving antibiotics and steroids at her. As a novice pet owner I went along with their treatments, but now I'm done. And that's why I want to try the antihistamine on my own. I'll eliminate the chicken in between the non allergy season as daftcat75 had suggested in a different post. It was also suggested that it may be the Alnutrin Eggshell that I put in her home cooked food, which I'm also suspecting as well. So if eliminating the chicken doesn't work then I'll have to look into the Alnutrin. I went with the Alnutrin Egg as I thought it seemed more like a natural substitute for calcium than the Alnutrin Limestone. Have you ever used either of the Alnutrin vitamins? And yes, I was also thinking maybe it could be the Advantage Multi. That will be the next runner up on the elimination list.

Also would turkey, duck and quail be considered poultry as well or would it fall under game? Sorry if I sound dumb. Please let me know as it will be very difficult if I was only left with beef, venison and rabbit as protein choices because they are expensive and pork is not an option because I will not feed them that. Thanks again for all your help!
 
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Khrad

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Hekitty takes Claritin. I buy the generic Loratadine at Walmart. LOL, I buy a lot, because I take TWO tablets a day during spring, summer and fall, and one during the winter, and Hekitty takes 1/2 of one tablet daily during spring and early summer. Have you tried using a wash of chilled chamomile tea to ease the itching? It can do wonders, as well as being antibiotic and antifungal. Brew the tea from a plain, commercial tea bag. Chill and apply with a cotton ball or soft cloth several times a day. I always recommend using commercial bags because they are ALL the German variety (no matter where they are grown). German chamomile is medicinally active and safe for cats, even internally for calming in proper dosages. The English variety is showy, but pretty useless medicinally and can be toxic to cats.
Lol, your allergy regiment sounds like mine. I have to take year round, but in spring and late summer/fall when it's really bad, I take Flonase as well. I've been using the Traditional Medicinal Organic Chamomile, hopefully it is made with German chamomile! Do you give your kitty fish omega supplements at all while on Claritin? I ask because when I googled drug interactions, fish omegas popped up. So is it not safe?
 
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Khrad

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5mg seems to be the standard dose, you can get Claritin in 5 and 10mg doses so make sure of which one you have. To be exact you might want to contact your vet and see what they say. I have had great success in giving small pills by hiding in a small tore off piece of Pill Pocket for Cats and then pushing it into a piece of bacon or cheese. Give the cat a small piece of the bacon or cheese first so they are more apt to just gulp the second piece down.
I wasn't able to find the 5 mg in Claritin, so I was going to do 1/2 of the 10 mg. Does your kitty take fish omega supplements at all while on Claritin? I ask because when I googled drug interactions, fish omegas popped up. So is it not safe?
 

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I would definitely stop the topical flea treatments. I had a cat lose ALL it's fur and he scratched like crazy. Flea treatments should really only be used when fleas are spotted. I have had outside cats for over 50 years and have only had to treat fro fleas a couple of times. It took months for him to grow his hair back. His gain, because it was right before winter and he had to be moved inside!
 

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. And you are right, the vets are not diagnosing the actual problem, they want to go the text book route that tells them to eliminate food, which I understand, but when someone is telling you that these symptoms seem to have a pattern, why wouldn't they consider that? Instead they keep treating my poor baby like a guinea pig and shoving antibiotics and steroids at her.

Some vets just aren't very good :dunno: Sure, they got into vet school and graduated but that doesn't mean they're great vets. They just throw band aid treatments without doing any diagnostics before they throw their hands up and give up. Are there any other vets in your area you could take your cat to?

As a novice pet owner I went along with their treatments, but now I'm done. And that's why I want to try the antihistamine on my own.
It's fine to question the vet on treatment and all that :agree: Be an involved pet owner and your cat's voice. It wouldn't hurt to try antihistamines but it would be best if the vet is kept in the loop.

I'll eliminate the chicken in between the non allergy season as daftcat75 had suggested in a different post. It was also suggested that it may be the Alnutrin Eggshell that I put in her home cooked food, which I'm also suspecting as well. So if eliminating the chicken doesn't work then I'll have to look into the Alnutrin. I went with the Alnutrin Egg as I thought it seemed more like a natural substitute for calcium than the Alnutrin Limestone. Have you ever used either of the Alnutrin vitamins? And yes, I was also thinking maybe it could be the Advantage Multi. That will be the next runner up on the elimination list.

Also would turkey, duck and quail be considered poultry as well or would it fall under game? Sorry if I sound dumb. Please let me know as it will be very difficult if I was only left with beef, venison and rabbit as protein choices because they are expensive and pork is not an option because I will not feed them that. Thanks again for all your help!

You can ask all the nutrition questions on the Nutrition from here on TCS. There's a separate sub-forum for raw and home cooked diets if you want more info on using Alnutrin and sourcing novel proteins.

Turkey and duck are poultry. Quail, pheasant, etc are game IMO.
 
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Khrad

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Some vets just aren't very good :dunno: Sure, they got into vet school and graduated but that doesn't mean they're great vets. They just throw band aid treatments without doing any diagnostics before they throw their hands up and give up. Are there any other vets in your area you could take your cat to?



It's fine to question the vet on treatment and all that :agree: Be an involved pet owner and your cat's voice. It wouldn't hurt to try antihistamines but it would be best if the vet is kept in the loop.




You can ask all the nutrition questions on the Nutrition from here on TCS. There's a separate sub-forum for raw and home cooked diets if you want more info on using Alnutrin and sourcing novel proteins.

Turkey and duck are poultry. Quail, pheasant, etc are game IMO.
I've already went to three different vets in my area, each is worse than the one before. They are all about the $$ and play with your heartstrings. I'm trying to find a reputable holistic vet in my area, but haven't come across one that seems legit. Most of the good ones are far, about 3 to 4 hour drive. Do you know of a tele-vet?
 

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I don't even think there is such a tele-vet at the moment. I know there is software for vets to do virtual visits with their clients but no stand alone vet hospital that operates only through virtual visits. A vet can't prescribe medicine to a new client without physically examining the pet first and doing the usual diagnostics.

Would your vets be willing to consult with a vet school or other hospital for your cat's case?
 

Mamanyt1953

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Lol, your allergy regiment sounds like mine. I have to take year round, but in spring and late summer/fall when it's really bad, I take Flonase as well. I've been using the Traditional Medicinal Organic Chamomile, hopefully it is made with German chamomile! Do you give your kitty fish omega supplements at all while on Claritin? I ask because when I googled drug interactions, fish omegas popped up. So is it not safe?
Flonase is a daily for me. ALL medicinal chamomile is German. And it doesn't matter where it is grown, it's a variety, not a location. I don't give Hek fish omega at all, so I can't address that
 
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Khrad

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I don't even think there is such a tele-vet at the moment. I know there is software for vets to do virtual visits with their clients but no stand alone vet hospital that operates only through virtual visits. A vet can't prescribe medicine to a new client without physically examining the pet first and doing the usual diagnostics.

Would your vets be willing to consult with a vet school or other hospital for your cat's case?
No, I doubt it.
 
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Thank you all so much for all of your great advice, I really appreciate it! I've decided to start with the 5mg claritin for my HarleyQuinn. I'm going to try it out for two weeks and see if there is any improvement. If not, then I will eliminate the chicken and see where that takes me. I'll try to post updates with each trial I take. Wish me luck! You all have a great Thanksgiving!
 
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