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Old 04-14-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: NW Penna.
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Default Cat scratching itself raw from intense itching?

In addition to the common causes, also look for hemolytic anemia and bartenellosis. Itching and scratching were the original warning signs, along with a sporadic awkward and "robotic" gait.

If you can't find a cause or solution, have a CBC run and look for hemolytic anemia and bartenellosis in addition to the more common causes like flea allergy, food allergy, ringworm, etc. You can also suspect reaction to vaccine or antibiotic or other immune system problems.
Hemolytic anemia in cats: Infectious or immune-mediated? (Proceedings) - Veterinary Healthcare


Just like humans, a CBC (complete blood count) will tell a lot about what's going on with the cat's systems.

Medscape: Medscape Access says "Hematologic pruritus occurs in people who have anemia." (Pruritus is intense itching.) My med-surg nursing book also lists pruritus as a sign/symptom of anemia in humans. I'm going to presume that it might also happen in cats.


I have a cat that I adopted after he was dumped off here by somebody who didn't want him. He's 1.5 years old. I turned him into a housecat in January, but he lived outdoors for at least 6-7 months prior to that. He received regular flea treatments while outdoors,and no fleas or flea dirt were ever found on him once he came indoors.

When neutered and vaccinated in Jan, he had several large welts on his neck that were scabbed over. We presumed that they were cat claw injuries from a fight. But when I got him in the house and observed him, it was obvious that he was causing them himself by scratching at his head, neck, shoulders. Still had the problem and it was worse by March. Treated him w/ cephalosporin antibiotic and did cultures for fungus and bacteria but both were negative negative. Aside from being itchy, the cat seemed healthy and normal. Twice, 3 months apart, he's tested neg for FeLV and FIV.

In retrospect, I did notice some sporadic and odd awkwardness to his gait from mid-January on, but I wasn't sure (at the time) that he didn't have it before he became a housecat. It was sporadic when I did observe it, so I didn't think it was of concern.

On April 1, this cat was lethargic. On April 2, he was slightly feverish and off his feed, lethargic but still moving around and interacting with people. By 6 am April 3, he collapsed from severe anemia. A CBC showed red blood cell levels so low that he needed an immediate blood transfusion. Lack of RBCs is oxygen deprivation to cells and body systems, and it also affects neurological and motor functions, and I presume this was also what was causing his sporadic awkward and jerky gait.

He got one blood transfusion, was also put on doxycycline and prednisilone. The vet suspects hemolytic bartonellosis, and the doxycycline is for that. The prednisilone is to settle his immune system down, in case it's vaccine-related.

April 14 now, and he's regained strength, balance, coordination, motor skills, and appetite. AND there's no more itching. He moves with the fluidity and litheness that a young cat should have.

Bartonella can be picked up from fleas, ticks, goats, rodents, etc.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:22 AM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,558 posts, read 1,383,034 times
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You can check your cat's capillary refill time, which I would do if the gums and /or tongue look pale or jaundiced. Capillary Refill Time - Cat-World

My cat wasn't pale and his cap refill was normal when he was checked on Mar 27, so the vet suspected bacterial / fungal skin condition and/or some immune system prob, possibly vaccine-caused. But his condition was deteriorating visibly by Apr 2. Probably was anemic all along. A CBC if done earlier might have been a good thing, but it's like a $100 test, so the vet took the conservative route and treated for the most-likely causes first: Fungus or bacterial infection, and/or food allergy, or flea allergy.

So, I recommend spending the $100 and getting the CBC, in addition to other diagnostic tests, if your cat has unexplained health problems occurring.

Here he is:

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 04-14-2012 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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When you say CBC, do you mean a complete blood chemistry? CBC, complete blood count, is not an all inclusive blood test. CBC IS important, especially for the things you are mentioning here, it tests the blood only.

A Super-chem or Bio-chemistry is the lab work that tests everything, including the CBC, except thyroid. That has top be specified, but does not cost extra.

A CBC shouldn't cost $100. That's a relatively simple test and can be done in the clinic. A super-chem is expensive, usually about $100, because it is sent out to a lab.

PS What a gorgeous boy!

Last edited by catsmom21; 04-15-2012 at 09:20 AM.. Reason: to add info
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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My invoice says "Total Body Function (cbc/t4/superchem) $102" from a couple years ago. That's when we came in with the weight loss and they ultimately diagnosed the hyperthyroid.

Just as an example along these lines for blood testing.

And yes, very pretty cat.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
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Beautiful cat. I hope he does well from now on.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:21 AM
 
4,221 posts, read 4,552,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
My invoice says "Total Body Function (cbc/t4/superchem) $102" from a couple years ago. That's when we came in with the weight loss and they ultimately diagnosed the hyperthyroid.

Just as an example along these lines for blood testing.

And yes, very pretty cat.

Oh yes, thyroid has to be specified to be included, it is not part of a standard superchem (though it should be) I have edited my post to include that, thank you!
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:08 AM
 
1,069 posts, read 1,286,384 times
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Gorgeous cat he is, my, my... !!!

Yes, just had a superchem done Mon. w/ T4 thyroid included. Bill was $125 total, as $100 was the entire bld work, & only $25 for follow up on our hyperthyroid medicated cat. She is a reasonable vet here in Tucson, & an ALL cat lady vet, thus I feel very good w/ her treating my girl.

She (cat) is now due to get her Radioactive Iodine this Mon. thru Sat., I think, when hopefully her radiation level drops such so she can come home. It'll be a long wk for her & us, as we await her return, & hope she feels better not having to eat Methimazole pills 2x/day.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:02 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,558 posts, read 1,383,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsmom21 View Post
When you say CBC, do you mean a complete blood chemistry? CBC, complete blood count, is not an all inclusive blood test. CBC IS important, especially for the things you are mentioning here, it tests the blood only.

A Super-chem or Bio-chemistry is the lab work that tests everything, including the CBC, except thyroid. That has top be specified, but does not cost extra.

A CBC shouldn't cost $100. That's a relatively simple test and can be done in the clinic. A super-chem is expensive, usually about $100, because it is sent out to a lab.

PS What a gorgeous boy!
Oops. I did mean chemistry and CBC.


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Old 04-17-2012, 09:07 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
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^ That was the day he collapsed.
PCV 4/3 was 12
PCV 4/9 was 27
PCV 4/16 was 30

Is that slow progress, or okay, or bad news? He goes back 4/25 for a re-exam. They've palpated for tumors & masses but he doesn't have anything apparent. Seems pain-free.The splenomegaly was gone by 4/4.

PCV of 30 is still the low end of normal, but his stamina is very good. His gait and movements are very lithe and fluid now, like a young cat should be. He trots, runs, goes up and down stairs. Has a voracious appetite now, too. The vet some cats take a while to get their blood cell count back up. At least he's increasing and not decreasing. Bartonellosis is what the vet thinks he has.

He doesn't scratch himself at all now, All the lesions and bumps are healed / gone. Hair is growing back. So, that had to be connected to liver function or heme or something "off" in his chemistry, imo.

Yes, he is quite good-looking. lol And he's the most laid-back and trusting cat on Earth, I think. He loves people, all people.

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 04-17-2012 at 09:18 PM..
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,558 posts, read 1,383,034 times
Reputation: 1447
Quote:
Originally Posted by movintime View Post
Gorgeous cat he is, my, my... !!!

Yes, just had a superchem done Mon. w/ T4 thyroid included. Bill was $125 total, as $100 was the entire bld work, & only $25 for follow up on our hyperthyroid medicated cat. She is a reasonable vet here in Tucson, & an ALL cat lady vet, thus I feel very good w/ her treating my girl.

She (cat) is now due to get her Radioactive Iodine this Mon. thru Sat., I think, when hopefully her radiation level drops such so she can come home. It'll be a long wk for her & us, as we await her return, & hope she feels better not having to eat Methimazole pills 2x/day.
I just got a quote of $1250 for that, for my cat w/ hyperthyroid. He reacted to methimazole and can't take it anymore. He's 10. I am trying to work out the logistics for the radiation treatment. I hope all goes well for your cat.
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