Hello, my 5 year old cat has been having allergy problems for about 8 months now and the vet and I can't seem to figure out what it is. I don't want to keep getting her cortisone shots so we are going to go to a dermatologist for allergy testing. My question: has anyone had this done lately? We are going to do the injections (not a blood test). Any advice? I'm at the end of my string and desperate to find out what her allergy is even if it means doing this testing! Is there any discomfort for the cat or do the sedate them? I would be asking this to the doctor but we have to wait until her current shot wears off before we can go the dermatologist.

Thanks,
Paige
Hello, my 5 year old cat has been having allergy problems for about 8 months now and the vet and ... to the doctor but we have to wait until her current shot wears off before we can go the dermatologist.

What kind of allergic reaction is your cat having? With our cat, it is inhalant allergies and our vet said that since the treatment would be the same no matter what she was allergic to, there was no point in spending money on the allergy tests.
Of course, if the vet had suspected it was a food allergy or maybe a flea allergy, there would be a way to eliminate the cause and in that case, I would have been willing to do the test. I hope in your case it turns out to be something simple to eliminate.
Hello, my 5 year old cat has been having allergy problems for about 8months now and the vet and I can't seem to figure out what it is.

What kind of allergy problems? What are the symptoms?
I don't want to
keep getting her cortisone shots so we are going to go to a dermatologist for allergy testing.

Wise choice. Sadly, too many people settle on indefinite symptomatic treatment when allergy testing may lead to identifcation of the allergen and simple avoidance of the allergen which may be the best and only therapeutic option that's necessary.
My question: has anyone had this done lately? We are
going to do the injections (not a blood test). Any advice? I'm at theend of my string and desperate to ... to the doctor but we have to wait until her current shot wears off before we can go the dermatologist.

If I were you, I'd opt for one of the serologic allergy tests (RAST or ELISA) first rather than the intradermal (a/k/a "patch test", "skin test"). The RAST or ELISA test are much easier and less stressful for the cat. Both tests involve simply obtaining a simple blood sample, then separating
off the serum, and then testing the serum against possible allergens in a test tube rather than on the cat.
Some vets feel that the serologc tests may not be as accurate as the patch test, however, they have some very significant advantages over the patch test. In addition to avoiding all the stress and discomfort that the patch test subjects the cat to, allergen groups instead of individual antigens can be used for testing. This means you can test and rule out several possible allergens in a single test. After you narrow down the possiblities to a few allergens, then you can opt for the patch test if the RAST or ELISA doesn't identify the specific allergen. This plan is much easier on
the cat and will probably cost less in the long run because you can test more allergens with fewer tests and office visits.

Also, another thing you have to remember with the patch test is that a positive reaction only indicates skin sensitivity and not necessarily systemic sensistivity.
Good luck.
Phil
Her symptoms are itching, chewing at her feet, scratching her cheeks and top of her head. When this first started she scratched herself bald around her neck and behind her ears. The hair has since grown back but the itching and agitation is still there. It must be an inhalant allergy because she's had the problem even while on a hypoallergenic diet. I've since switched her back to normal food. Also While on the hypoallergenic diet (or maybe the shots I don't know) she has really dry flaky skin. Hopefully the dermatologist can help solve the puzzle.
Thank you for your advice, I will consider the blood tests. It's just that I work in the laboratory and those kind of tests are not as specific as the other in terms of identifying what you are allergic to.

Thanks,
Paige
Her symptoms are itching, chewing at her feet, scratching her cheeks andtop of her head. When this first started she ... agitation is still there. It must be an inhalant allergy because she'shad the problem even while on a hypoallergenic diet.

Do you have carpeting in your home? The chemicals in the backing as well as some of the glues used to affix the backing to the carpet can be highly allergenic. The cat is much closer, and her skin is in direct contact for longer periods of time than humans.
Does she have the same symptoms or are they as severe in the summer and warmer months? Homes are usually closed up in the winter so the concentration of allergens in the environment increase.
I've since switched her
back to normal food. Also While on the hypoallergenic diet (or maybe the shots I don't know) she has really ... and those kind of tests are not as specific asthe other in terms of identifying what you are allergic to.

True, but the RAST narrows down the possibilities significantly and reduces the number of skin tests and discomfort the cat must endure. I think there are something like >400 commercially available testing allergens!

Good luck
Phil
on 19 Feb 2004:
The chemicals in the backing as well as some of the glues used to affix the backing to the carpet can be highly allergenic. The cat is much closer, and her skin is in direct contact for longer periods of time than humans.

I've been wondering if a "contact" allergy is just as common as an inhalent allergy. Or is it the same?

Cheryl
Trapped like rats. In a chia-pet.
MIB II
I've been wondering if a "contact" allergy is just as common as an inhalent allergy. Or is it the same?

I don't think so. A contact allergy would be something the cat would come in physical contact with, while an inhalant allergy would be something they breathe. It could be pollen, for example, or something else outside the house they never come in direct contact with.