Why does my cat scratch around his neck and ears?
I have a 3yr old foreign white boy named Lewis and a 14yr old blue point Siamese, my sister has 2 Havanas.
Lewis has a skin condition which causes him to scratch around his neck and ears until he's raw and I was wondering if anyone had any experience of this problem?
We've ruled out his food and fleas! We have him booked in the dermatologist this week but he has suffered with the condition for 2 yrs and seen several vets who just give him steroid injections and creams which don't always work!! Any advice appreciated!!
ps. Tito dances on my laptop as we speak
Hi Hannah.... In your title you mentioned "skin allergy". Your cat's skin is itching but the allergy, if it is an allergy, might be one of a number of different types of allergy caused by a variety of allergens so I changed the title to go back to the symptom. I have also moved your submission to the cat health problems page.
It does seem, though, that your vet has concluded that the itchy skin is caused by an allergen rather than a parasite because he has prescribed steroids; the last resort of the vet who has diagnosed an allergy but who has not successfully diagnosed the source, the particular allergen.
You also mention that you have discounted fleas and food allergens. I will leave these out.
As this is a very big and difficult subject I will focus on one or two things and link to some other relevant pages on PoC. First the links (these are just a selection, you can search for more on the cat health problems page by using "Ctrl + F".
My almost immediate thought was a possible inherited autoimmune disease, however. But this is pure speculation and a rare condition. I do recall though a woman who shared her experiences on PoC and who bought Siamese cats from a poor breeder. Her cats died young. I am not saying that you breeder is poor by the way.
The foreign white is an Oriental Shorthair, basically a Modern Siamese in a white coat as I understand it.
Now, I am not saying that this is a genetic disease or an autoimmune problem but it might be as your vet is struggling to figure what is causing the allergic reaction - the allergen concerned - and removing it from the environment. That is the best solution. Long term steroid use is not ideal and can cause side effects as I remember.
You have tested for the obvious possible causes and drawn a blank. The rarer conditions then need to be explored.
Here is another wild suggestion (I am compelled to make them as I doing this from a distance with little information); I note that your foreign white has a feather boa around his neck.
This is probably a one off event. But perfume may be an allergen to your boy. Inhalant allergies (allergens in the air) can cause the cat to itch around the head and neck. Just a wild thought.
One last thought! Fleas are quite noticeable when flea combed out. You can see them. There are some fleas that are very small indeed. They are hardly visible. I would at least double check this. Carefully flea comb around the neck and ears using a 32 teeth to the inch flea comb - very carefully and over and over again. Inspect the flea comb against a light source and watch it for a while to see if there is movement. If so you have caught a parasite, probably a small flea and fleas as you know can cause allergic skin reactions or just plain irritation.
Good luck. Sorry I have rambled a bit.