Tag Archives: allergy

Puck has Fur Again

As some of my readers know, our Puck has struggled with an over-grooming problem since shortly after we moved into our new home just over a year ago. He licked most of his fur off of his legs and backside.

The first vet we brought him too said he had a flea allergy even though the vet never saw any fleas on Puck and neither did we. Nonetheless, and gave him a steroid and antibiotic along with flea medication. I don’t know what brand it was but I do know we were buying Advantage at Petsmart after that for a ridiculous amount of money.

None of that worked although he did get slightly better for a short time before getting worse again. Off we went to vet number two several months later. He checked the records from the last vet and then did a test for mites. When that came back negative he decided to go the natural route first and put Puck on a special diet to test for food allergies. We tried that for a while but that ended in failure.

I didn’t want to go back to the vet and subject Puck to more useless drugs so I did nothing for a while. Eventually I brought him back to the second vet’s office where Puck was seen by vet number three. This vet was the owner of the clinic.

He examined Puck and saw no fleas but, like the first vet, assumed Puck had a Flea allergy. He gave Puck a Steroid and antibiotic, which all vets love to do, and started him on a flea medication called Activyl. He said Advantage no longer works in Florida even though Petsmart has no problem selling it here.

I hate to admit it but these invisible fleas seem to have been the cause of Puck’s problem because he now has fur again, It hasn’t fully grown back yet but there is a noticeable difference and his skin feels smoother.

our cat Puck

our cat Puck

Compare these to the one below taken several months ago.


I don’t like that I have to put medication on our cats every months but I am glad Puck is finally doing better.


The Failure of Puck’s Special Diet

Puck has had a problem with his skin since not long after we moved to our new home at the end of May. The first vet said he was having a reaction to flea bites, even though she could see no fleas and gave him a flea treatment as well as steroids and antibiotics.

That didn’t work and I didn’t want to subject him to more drugs so I put off doing anything for a while and finally brought him to another vet who said he thought it was a combination of nervousness and an allergy, possibly a food allergy. The only way to know was to put him on a 90 day limited ingredient diet that did not contain the proteins that he was already eating, such as chicken, beef and salmon.

I bought a Feliway diffuser to help with the stress and changed his food. The vet wanted me to give the diet 90 days to work because it could take that long for the old proteins to leave his system but after about five weeks Puck was making no progress and actually seemed like he might be getting worse.


I decided to abandon the diet early and try something else. Of course, I didn’t know what to try and thought very hard about what could be different about our new home. The only thing I could think of was the water.

We had bottled water in our other house and I gave the cats spring water in two of their three water bowls. The third was a larger bowl in the back room that was mostly in case something unforeseen kept us from coming home for a night or two. When we moved, I decided to not keep the water delivery service and instead I would buy a Big Berkey Water Filter. They are close to $300 with the Fluoride filter, which we couldn’t afford at the time since the cost of moving was so great.

Since then, something was always more important to spend our money on, so I am still buying water by the gallon at the supermarket. Since that is such a hassle, I have been filling the cat bowls with tap water. I know, that sounds selfish to be drinking spring water while the cats have tap water but most of it gets dumped out every morning and I always thought it was temporary. So a week or so ago I started filing their bowls with spring water.

Another thing I wanted to try was to eliminate cleaning chemicals, at least for a while, after learning that some cats are allergic to them. I tried this before and even have a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water under the sink but Rose is one of those people who thinks the smell of chemicals is a sign that the house is clean.

To my surprise, she was willing to go along with the chemical free cleaning so last week I cleaned the floors with vinegar and water. When she came home she immediately commented on how the floors didn’t feel right. They felt like floors to me. I don’t know what she was talking about but the next day she re-moped the floors with a nice, comforting, harsh chemical. So much for that idea.

It has been over a week that the cats are off the tap water and I sometimes look at Puck and think he is looking better and sometimes I’m not sure. I guess I will know in a few weeks. Wish us luck.

Adjusting to a Limited Ingredient Diet

A couple weeks ago Puck visited a new vet for his over-grooming problem. The vet said it was probably partly due to stress but he was also having an allergic reaction to something. The vet recommended a Feliway Diffuser for the stress and he recommended switching Puck’s food for three months to see if the problem went away. The vet had food that I could buy but they didn’t push it on me. The dry food was $64 for an eight pound bag. I decided to try my luck at a local natural pet food store where I buy the cat’s current wet food, Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori.

The Feliway was expensive, over $50 at the pet food store, but I did find it on Amazon for Under $30 so I ordered it. The food was also expensive but getting it at the pet food store was cheaper than getting it at the vet.Limited IngredientLimited Ingredient

I needed to buy a food with a single protein that was unlikely to be in our cat’s current food. The vet suggested rabbit or bison but he did not limit it to those two. He said duck was okay but sometimes an allergy to chicken can cross over to duck since they are both fowl. The woman at the pet food store helped me and we found a dry food with rabbit as the main protein from Nature’s Valley called Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Meal Formula. I shared an Amazon link to the food so you can see what it is but in this case it was cheaper to get it at the pet food store.

While the dry food was more money than normal (I don’t remember what I paid), it was not unreasonable. The Instinct wet rabbit food, however, was too much to justify buying, especially considering that I have to buy it for three cats since I don’t want the trouble of trying to separate them for meals. I don’t know the exact price but it was around $3.50 per can.

The pet food woman found another brand of rabbit food called Wild Calling: Rabbit Burrow, for $1.89 a can. That was just a little more than I was already spending on wet food so we added a few days worth of that food (about 6 or eight cans) to my order. I didn’t want to buy too much in case they didn’t like it.

Finally I picked out a cat treat that was also rabbit. This was yet another brand called Vita Essentials Freeze Dried Rabbit. The one I bought was labeled “for dogs.” It was a larger package then the one for cats but had the same ingredients. The entire order was just under $64.


They loved the dry food and the treats, but unfortunately, they were not crazy about the wet food. When I would open a can they would all get so excited and then Frankie would give me this “What are you trying to push on us?” look.

20151219_084515After a couple of days of that I went back to the pet food store and we decided that I didn’t need to feed them just rabbit. The goal was to avoid the proteins that Puck was eating such as chicken, beef and salmon. With that in mind I bought food from a company called Mauri. They use a single protein, New Zealand sourced meat that is unlikely to be in American pet food. Their website even says it is great for pets with allergies. I bought New Zealand Unagi, Wild Brushtail, New Zealand Venison, New Zealand Hoki, and Australian Wild Kangaroo.

These are mostly pâté type foods that our cats are not crazy about but they seem to be okay with this food. Chris does not generally care about wet food, he is more of a dry food junkie (hence the girth) but yesterday he would not give up his Venison to Frankie. Usually Puck or Frankie scarf their food down and then take what is left of Chris’s food. Chris usually takes a couple of bites and is done by then anyway or he walks away when he sees another cat coming his way, but this time Frankie had to force his head into the bowl because Chris would not walk away.

20151227_Cats_516The Feliway showed up about a week later and I plugged it into the bedroom where Puck was spending much of his day. He was in a self-imposed exile until Rose’s son left the day after Christmas. I then moved it out into the living room near the door to the patio.

It’s been a couple of weeks now and Rose seems to think Puck’s fur is looking a little better. I am not sure I can see a difference yet. The vet did say it could take eight to twelve weeks because certain allergens can remain in their system for that long. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know what else we can do.

Related posts:

New Vet, New Hope

Puck’s bald spot returns

Puck’s Vet Adventure


New Vet, New Hope

Puck’s grooming problems have not gotten any better since his vet visit visit a few months ago. I hesitated bringing him back to the vet because I did not want to subject him to more drugs that would not help the problem.

I did some research and even though holistic vets are rare in this area, I did find a veterinary practice that understands natural medicine. It is called the Animal and Bird Medical Center in Palm Harbor, Florida. They were pretty highly rated and my only concern was comments about how expensive they are but I figured that a little extra money would be worth it if I could find the root of Puck’ problem.

I made an appointment for 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. As usual, I put the carrier out early so the cats would get used to it being there. Of course, everyone has to smell it or get inside of it first. When it was almost time to go Puck knew something was up and got nervous. He led me on a big chase around the house. Fortunately I closed our bedroom door so he couldn’t hide under the bed. That would have been a nightmare. As it was I had a hard time catching him.

The car ride was not bad. Puck did not cry or make any attempt to get out of his carrier. He just quietly accepted his circumstance.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

We got to the vet about 20 minutes early and I started filling out the paperwork right away. Before I was finished, Puck’s name was called and we were ushered into a nearby examination room. A couple of vet techs were there and they helped get Puck out of his carrier. It was a much quicker start then our last vet visit where we waited a long time for someone to show up. They weighed Puck and did whatever else vet techs do. They then left saying the doctor would be in soon.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

Our cat Puck's vet visit

We waited about 5 minutes or so before the vet came in. While we were waiting, Puck didn’t know what to do with himself.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

He eventually settled in under a chair.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

I thought it would be better if he wasn’t under the chair when the doctor came in so I picked him up and put him on my lap.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

When the vet came in, he asked some questions and then examined Puck. He also looked at the records from the last vet. He said that he thinks that there is a few things going on. It, could, in part, be a psychological problem, he told me, but he also had said there is a physical aspect to the problem as well.

Puck has small bumps on his body that is some kind of skin condition and I don’t remember what the vet called it. He did indicate it is probably an allergic reaction to something. He also said it could be the result of mites and wanted to eliminate that possibility so he suggested doing a test for mites.

Looking over the previous vet records, he notice they gave Puck steroids and antibiotics. He said steroids can be effective but they are like using a nuclear bomb when all you need is a gun. He also said the effects do not last very long so he was not a big fan of recommending steroids for Puck. He did, however, suggest that antibiotics might help him. His main concern was finding the source of Puck’s allergy. He suggested a limited ingredient diet that consisted of limited proteins. In other words, a cat food that not only has limited ingredients but also has protein from only one animal that is not likely to be in his current food, such as rabbit or bison. He also suggested getting a Feliway plugin to help with the psychological end of this problem.

He left for a while to work up his recommendations. Puck just stayed on the exam table. I picked him up to put him on my lap but Puck decided he would feel better behind my back where it was safe.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

When the vet returned with his recommendations I agreed that he should do the test for mites but I said I would prefer to wait on the antibiotics to see if we can find the problem naturally. He left and came back a short time later with one of the techs and scraped a few of the bumps from Puck’s skin.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

When he returned he said that there were no sign of mites. That was good news and bad news because if there were mites at least we would know how to treat the problem.

When I went up front to pay,  I was pleasantly surprised to find the bill was less than $85, about half of the last vet. That is because drugs are expensive and solving problems without drugs is usually healthier in the long term and cheaper too. The expensive part is the special food I have to buy. The vet had it for $64 for an eight pound bag of rabbit food and about $2.50 a can for the wet food. The wet food was actually reasonably priced but I needed to find a cheaper source for the dry food because I needed to feed three cats for three months. Feeding Puck one food and Chris and Frankie another is just too difficult.

The ride home was better for Puck. He seemed less nervous and even seemed interested in looking around.

Our cat Puck's vet visit

When we got home Puck was the center of attention for a little while.


But ultimately it was his carrier that got the most attention.

IMG_20151212_120720 chris and frankie

All in all, I am happy with this vet and would go back again. We were there for a long time, perhaps an hour and a half, but I never felt ignored. The vet and techs spent more time then usual (at least more time than I am used to) with us and most of the rest of the time was spent waiting for recommendations or test results.

What do you think? I’d like to hear about your vet.

Related Posts:

Puck’s Vet Adventure

Puck’s Bald Spot Returns