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Talk to Me About Steroids

One of our kitties, Scamp, has been having recurring skin issues for the past year. I've tried several things to treat it, and we've determined its allergy-related, but just can't seem to get it under control. Here's where we stand:

I tried a natural liquid from the pet store, and it did jack.

A couple of short courses of prednisone cleared her right up, but obviously that doesn't last.

We switched her food, and her skin is flaring up badly again for the first time since the switch, so I don't think food's the issue (we cut out all grains and chicken, most common food allergens).

She was getting a daily Zyrtec dose (5 mg), but her skin issues started showing up again while she was on it. I also think it made her ravenous, and she started going after every little bit of food or leftover residue on dirty dishes. It's been a nightmare keeping her off the counters and out of unopened packages of bread (yeah, bread!!). 

She's on Advantage for flea prevention. I really think she has a flea allergy, but I haven't seen any evidence of fleas in the last couple of months to cause her skin to be as irritated as it is right now.

 

SO > my sister's cat gets a steroid shot to help control skin flare-ups. It's a type of prednisone shot (I want to say methylprednisolone??) but can't remember exactly. Can anyone give me some information on this type of shot? Approximate cost, side effects, frequency (she says he usually got it about every 6 months), etc.

Thanks! 

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Daisypath Anniversary tickers
TTC since July 2012
BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
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Re: Talk to Me About Steroids

  • spalkospalko member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper

    Is it a depo medrol shot? Which is a methylprednisolone.

    At our office the shot, which we typically give every 3-6 weeks depending on the cat, is $24. We use it on our allergy kitties to help keep everything under control when nothing else will work. Another option is to look into a product called Atopica which is a cyclosporine. We've also had really good results with this medication in our allergy kitties but it is expensive. You can eventually get their dose to be about once every couple of days but in the beginning it is rather expensive ($100/bottle).

    If your cat does have flea allergies you won't necessarily see any fleas on her. Cats with flea allergies will bite and bite and bite to get rid of any fleas on them because they irritate their skin so much. I would suggest getting a good flea treatment for your home and trying that along with the flea preventative and the steroid to help calm her skin initially.

    Hey, Hey Hockeytown!photo hockeytown_zps6a7377b0.jpg
  • image spalko:

    Is it a depo medrol shot? Which is a methylprednisolone.

    At our office the shot, which we typically give every 3-6 weeks depending on the cat, is $24. We use it on our allergy kitties to help keep everything under control when nothing else will work. Another option is to look into a product called Atopica which is a cyclosporine. We've also had really good results with this medication in our allergy kitties but it is expensive. You can eventually get their dose to be about once every couple of days but in the beginning it is rather expensive ($100/bottle).

    Depo medrol sounds about right. $24/shot isn't bad either, especially if she'll only need it every few months (she was good to go without a spot on her for at least 3 months after her prednisone course).

    Thanks for the info. I'm already thinking about re-treating the house. I've got several pounds of diatomaceous earth I've used before and will use again. It's just such a freaking pain. I hate fleas!!! 

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
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    Badge Unicorn
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  • I am sorry!  Allergies can be so frustrating. 

     Animals with allergies will inevitably be on steroids from time to time but steroids are serious drugs and should only be used as needed.  With the severely allergic animals my goal is to reduce how much steroids they get in a year. 

     

    The depo shots are long lasting steroids with effects for 3 weeks or more and much more potent than oral pred. I typically don't recommend more than 4 doses a year because of the long term consequences of steroid use. And would rather use short term oral steroids before depo.  

     

    It zyrtec isn't working you can try chlotrimetron anti histamines are hit and miss in animals. Some work for certain pets and others don't.  

     

    Also with allergies contact time plays a big role so wiping them down daily to reduce contact with allergens can help.  Douxo is an excellent line of products (mostly shampoos) that can help with allergies.  They have a mousse called Douxo Calm which you can get off amazon that will help with itch and improve the skin barrier

     

    Also it doesn't sound like a true diet trial was done. Yes those changes can find food allergies frequently but it also misses many allergic animals.  I suggest doing a true diet trial for 6-8 weeks on a strictly limited ingredient diet.

     I know this is a lot more info than you asked for and I am on my phone so it's difficult to reread for clarity. But I would be happy to answer Amy questions you may have about anything I have said. Or about steroids in general

     

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • image aggiebug:

    I am sorry!  Allergies can be so frustrating. 

     Animals with allergies will inevitably be on steroids from time to time but steroids are serious drugs and should only be used as needed.  With the severely allergic animals my goal is to reduce how much steroids they get in a year. 

    The depo shots are long lasting steroids with effects for 3 weeks or more and much more potent than oral pred. I typically don't recommend more than 4 doses a year because of the long term consequences of steroid use. And would rather use short term oral steroids before depo.  

     

     This is the reason we did not go straight for the shot. She cleared up well on the short course of oral pred, but even on the Zyrtec, her skin issues have returned now (I believe she got the pred in Feb/March). My sister was a vet tech for several years, and her cat gets the shot occasionally to control skin irritation. I wouldn't be looking at it if she didn't suggest it.

     

    image aggiebug:

    Also it doesn't sound like a true diet trial was done. Yes those changes can find food allergies frequently but it also misses many allergic animals.  I suggest doing a true diet trial for 6-8 weeks on a strictly limited ingredient diet.

     

    We did switch to a limited ingredient diet. It was more than 8 weeks ago (more like 12 at this point). Her skin was fine for a couple of months after the food switch. It has gotten much worse in the last couple of weeks.


    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
    image
    Badge Unicorn
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  • Sorry I was trying to give advice based on what I know which is relatively little. Hence generalize response about allergies.   Having been in a few practices one very heavy handed in steroids I am very cautious about others advice on steroid medications. They are a great and powerful drug. They can work miracles in dogs but they can also be very dangerous.  

      

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • You may have done an adequate diet trial but it's very easy to do it incorrectly too.  I think most veterinarians do it incorrectly. I know I have in the past.

     

    What we're you feeding and what did you switch to?  And oral meds? Does your kitty find crumbs on the floor?

     

    I know that is mot what you were asking sorry to digress! 

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • image aggiebug:

    You may have done an adequate diet trial but it's very easy to do it incorrectly too.  I think most veterinarians do it incorrectly. I know I have in the past.

    What we're you feeding and what did you switch to?  And oral meds? Does your kitty find crumbs on the floor?

    I know that is mot what you were asking sorry to digress! 

    We were feeding Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul. She ate it for 2 years and did very well on it. Her itchiness, and resultant constant scratching and biting, making herself bleed and get scabby, started last June. We went to the vet, she was checked for fleas, she got a course of prednisone. Issues returned to a lesser extent a couple of months later, and then got better as the season changed/we closed the windows, but then came roaring back worse than ever back around December/January. Went back to the vet after trying some holistic and topical options that did nothing. Got more prednisone, did the food switch to Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet (venison or salmon varieties; no chicken). Started daily Zyrtec.

    She responded very well to the prednisone again. Itchiness and raw spots on her belly returned around beginning of May. Stopped Zyrtec a few weeks ago, since it's obviously not helping.

    Yes, she's gotten into food items in the meantime. The prednisone and Zyrtec turned her into a food fiend, and she would jump on the counters and chew through the plastic of a bread bag to chow down. It's probably only happened 4 times in the last 6 months, though, and doesn't seem to coincide with when her skin irritated her. She hasn't gotten into anything in weeks, and her skin in worse than ever now. 

    I'm not following a veterinarian diet trial. I spoke to my vet about my food switch back in Jan/Feb and she was happy with my choice of a limited ingredient diet. have I tried a second food? No. Because she cleared up on the prednisone and stayed clear for weeks after the food switch. The warming weather and likely increased chance of picking up a stray flea coincide with her skin resurgence.

    I'm planning to treat the house again, may bathe her this weekend, and will reapply her Advantage in another week. I have a dog who goes outside, and while she's obviously treated as well, I realize she may bring a flea inside every now and then, which is why the cats are treated, too. Of course, it doesn't stop one from biting Scamp several times before it dies. I'd just like something to help her reactions when/if it continues to happen. 

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
    image
    Badge Unicorn
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  • spalkospalko member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    I'm inclined to think it is more of a seasonal allergy then a flea or food allergy. I don't know if this is something you've already considered but it would explain why she flares up in spring/early summer. I live in N. Michigan and the pollen count has been incredibly high this year and the molds aren't far behind.
    Hey, Hey Hockeytown!photo hockeytown_zps6a7377b0.jpg
  • First off I want to say your poor kitty doesn't sound like a classic food allergy case but if definitely can't be ruled out.   I tried looking at the diets you mentioned but am not 100% sure which of the new diet you are giving as there are a pot of types. That being said I do notice salmon is a common ingredient among all forms of your old diet. So if your kitty is allergic to salmon- and fish allergies are becoming much more common- than you did not omit that from her diet at all. Also venison is a terrible protein for a diet trial since it cross reacts with a lot of common allergens.   

     While the prescription allergy diets can be effective in diagnosing  food allergies they aren't 100%. I don't tend to recommend them for diet trials as there are decent options available for a more reasonable price. 

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • image spalko:
    I'm inclined to think it is more of a seasonal allergy then a flea or food allergy. I don't know if this is something you've already considered but it would explain why she flares up in spring/early summer. I live in N. Michigan and the pollen count has been incredibly high this year and the molds aren't far behind.

     

    Agreed!  Although Dec/ Jan are not typically a problem for seasonal allergies.  So it's definitely an odd allergy case in general- if it truly is allergies. (i think so but I have been fooled before)

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • Our lab (while a dog, not a cat), gets a regular steroid every day because of her allergies. She chews her paws raw, her ears are a mess, etc. We have done food trials, added zyrtek and nothing. The steroid has helped the most, but with a lot of side effects. We are trying to wean her to see if we can get it under control with things like regular baths in Zymox (look into this?) and other kinds of solutions.

    For a while we were convinced that the steroid (even with risks of side effects) was the best course of action for her because without it, she is miserable. That may exactly what she will have to be on for the rest of her life if the other things can't get it under control.

     

  • I avoid steroid medications as it can affect badly on my dog.
  • image susanmiller696:
    I avoid steroid medications as it can affect badly on my dog.

    Well this is helpful.  

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