Recurring Skin Infection in Cat

Possible Case of Cat Skin Allergy Caused by Environment

Possible Case of Cat Skin Allergy Caused by Environment

Reader Question (followed by some suggestions from our Veterinarian):

Hello, I have a 6 year old male, neutered cat. I adopted him when he was 6 months old. Approximately 4 months later he developed a chronic upper respiratory infection (wheezing, smelly breath, and occasional sneezing). My vet tested him for every disease and virus under the sun and we were never able to nail down exactly what he had. One year ago March he developed a snore above his left lip. The sore was red and crusty (he itches at it). It took on a very odd pattern. The sore would heal, however another one developed directly below the first. This continued as the sore progressed down the side of his face, under his chin, and then back up the other side of the face. While this was all going on I switched all bowls out from plastic to stainless steel. My vet tried three rounds of antibiotics, with finally the 3-week dose of amoxicillin clearing up and stopping the progression of the sores. Fast forward a year to the present, the cat developed the same symptoms almost to the day as a year ago. We've currently done two rounds of antibiotics and the sores have returned.There has been no major changes in environment or food during this time. Other than the itching and scabs the cat seems fine. He has a healthy appetite and plays nearly constantly with our dog. The only test my vet has run was for ringworm and came back negative. The cat has been eating Blue Buffalo indoor formula since last fall and previously was on Science diet for the entire time I have owned him. Any ideas on what this could be?


Suggestion from our Vet


The fact that your cat’s skin problems redeveloped almost exactly a year after his last episode makes me wonder whether or not an environmental allergy might be to blame (e.g., to a pollen that is present around the same time every year).

If your cat were my patient, I would want to run a skin scraping to look for mites, skin cytology to diagnose any infections that might be present, and a fungal culture for ringworm. If all of those tests came back normal and he was otherwise healthy, I might put him on a tapering course of prednisolone. If his skin quickly healed, an allergy of some sort would be a likely diagnosis.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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