Poor Zoe has been itchy and scratching her ears to the point of developing scabs. We've done a couple of rounds with cortisone shots, which remove the inflammation. We also did a food trial, where both cats ate nothing but green peas and duck. (Fabulous smell by the way.)
I took her the vet last week and the vet recommended giving her long-term pills to tamper her immune system so she didn't react so strongly to allergens. The downside is the pills haven't been tested long-term in animals and it could put her at higher risk for tumors down the road because her body wouldn't be able to fight them off. The other recommendation was cortisone shots whenever she has a flare-up. Trouble is, the shots increase risk of diabetes and eye problems, especially in hefty cats like Zoe. The final suggestion was to bring her to a cat dermatologist because they see skin issues more frequently. That seemed like the best option.
The dermatologist suspected pollen allergies and decided to run allergy tests on her. Poor Zoe had to be sedated, shaved and pricked with a buttload of allergens to see if she reacted to them. And boy did she react!
The poor baby is allergic to half of the trees (particularly poplar), most grasses, nearly every weed, some molds, some fungi, sunflowers, oat/alfalfa/hay pollen, dust mites, microbes, fleas and mosquitoes. She's also allergic to dog dander, CAT DANDER, PEOPLE DANDER and cotton lint (like you would find on the cotton sheets we use on our bed.)
The vet said it would be better for her if she didn't sleep with us, but she said her cat acts the same way when she tries to keep her out of the room. She said our goal should be to limit exposure to as many allergens as possible, with the understanding that we wouldn't be able to limit exposure to EVERYTHING.
I'm going to have to give her allergy shots for the rest of her life. We'll start out every other day and decrease frequency. I had to give her a shot of saline at the vet's office. It completely freaked me out.
Luckily, Zoe's the good cat. I don't think we'd be able to even treat Daphne.