Allergies & Smoldering Infection

Question:
My 10 year old cat has had eye drainage for quite a while. My veterinarian referred us to an ophthalmologist who thought it might be an allergy. Prescription food z/d did not help. He also has recurring sores above both eyes that he scratches open.

Dr. Nichol:
Your poor kitty sounds miserable with that discharge and the wounds on his face. Having ruled-out eye disease the ophthalmologist may be right about an allergy. Airborne pollens and other particles irritating the tissues beneath your boy’s eyelids could be responsible. Hair loss and chronic wounds on the forehead are a common result of repeated scratching and rubbing. It’s possible that skin disease is the underlying cause of this whole debacle.

Your cat needs to be checked for mange, bacterial and yeast infection, and ringworm. Scabies, demodex, and head mange mites can be crafty little devils, evading even the most exhaustive search. According to Dr. Rebecca Mount, of Dermatology for Animals in Albuquerque, if these burrowing insects are still parasites of interest they can be annihilated with topical Bravecto or Advantage Multi. An oral antibiotic to control the smoldering skin infection of your cat’s long suffering face will also be important.

Unraveling diagnostic riddles can become a process of elimination. If a careful workup plus mange treatment fail to reveal the answer, your boy may simply need a treatment trial for airborne allergies. An antihistamine like Benadryl, along with fish oil, could finally give him relief. More potent prescription anti-itch medications like cyclosporine are also available.

If all else fails it may be best for your cat’s skin to be evaluated by a veterinary dermatologist like Dr. Mount. Specialists like her tackle the really tough cases. Skin testing is sometimes necessary to determine the exact cause of allergies so that a series of desensitization injections can be custom-tailored for the individual.

It might seem easier to try one treatment and then another but your little guy has been itchy and uncomfortable for a long time. He needs targeted treatment so he can feel better and look his best. The Homecoming Dance is just around the corner.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.