Thursday, March 22, 2007

Of Mice and Men

A call for help for Isabella. Thank you. Click to enlarge--if you aren't skeeved out by severe skin rashes.

I've come down with a rough ladies time the last three days. I had some bad pain yesterday and my eyeballs seem to be tracking in different directions. I hope to be better tomorrow and get back to animating as I'd planned.

Something else that has had me preoccupied lately is Izzy. if you have a mind to, I sure would appreciate some good thoughts going to our cat, Isabella, right now. If you would, please see her skin smooth and healthy and free of sores, for the highest possible good of all concerned.

For the last few months she's been suffering from a frightening and nasty skin reaction. Normally, if a cat looked as in trouble as she does it would be taken to a dermatological Vet right away. There's a challenge to do that with Izzy. I'm convinced she would find the experience far worse than her horrible skin condition. She is still so wild and undomesticated, no one, not even me, can ever touch her or get near her. Since capturing her wild from a canyon about 7 years ago, we have been unable to establish any level of trust in her, despite taking great care to provide her a calm and loving environment. Getting her yowling into a carrier and driving far to a skin specialist Vet, and the examination and treatment itself would surely cause her significant trauma that I believe could be worse than nearly anything. She's not like normal cats.

Instead of doing that, I've read up a lot online about what sort of things could cause this kind of skin reaction. Things like allergies, parasites, stresses, diet, deficiencies, etc. Firstly, we upgraded all the cat's food to grain-free, human-grade quality several weeks ago. It started to look like the solution, but then the rash roared back worse than before. I thought it might be a reaction to the perfume in the clay litter we were using, so we switched to a great non-fragrance corn litter product throughout all the boxes, still no sign of improvement yet. We tried to apply gels that are supposed to calm inflammation and mist her skin with enzymatic/mineralized water. This operation took both of us all our brute strength and risked bleeding and scaring, on our parts. That treatment plan lasted only four consecutive days.

Her appetite is at full force, she drinks plenty of fresh water, her eyes are shiny and clear, her elimination is healthy. It's just frightening to see a creature in our care so ravaged by skin rash and so obviously uncomfortable. We're giving her until next week to see if she can do anything to visibly turn things around so we can see some improvement. Otherwise, it's sedation and expensive Vet visits, and possible steroid cream treatment, antibiotics, and plastic cones?


  1. Aw, poor kitty kat!

    I don't know, but that might be the same thing my dog had for a few months recently. Though she didn't have the sores, just lost a lot of hair (I mean huge patches, almost half of her hair!) and her skin was reddish and hot. My mom's friend who used to work dog shows and stuff said there's some kind of disease carried by fleas that's prevalent right now that can cause this.

    I just kept putting salve on the exposed skin (which obviously made her feel better) and suddenly it all grew back unbelievably fast! Once it started to come back in it was like a hair explosion! Her entire tail was bare, looked like a rat's tail, and now it';s all bushy again.

  2. Thanks, Mike. It could be that here, except, we see no evidence of any fleas on any of the cats when combed or in the house anywhere. Iz's whole rash still could all be from a single flea bite tho, I've read. No heat on the body patches when I cop a feel while brushing her. So, I dunno.

    I sure wish I could get some salve on her like you did on Star. That would be so great to help get her over this thing.

    argh. sigh.

  3. Awww, such a cute Cat, I did not look at the pic (a bit squeamish) but I know how you feel!

    All my prayers with you and your Cat!

  4. Thank you so much, Ben.

  5. good thoughts!


  6. Hey Shell, sorry to hear about poor Izzy....I have a very kind cat-loving doctor friend, I'll send her the link and see if she can help at all....

  7. Anonymous11:24 PM

    Hi, I am Ubatuber's cat-lady-doctor-friend. He told me about your poor baby's problem...OUCH! I can see why you are worried. Well, I'm not a vet, and I'm only licensed to treat people, but I can confidently say I think it's time to bring her in. I definitely sympathize with the carrier-related trauma, but the problem is, it could be anything, and it could be easily treated. Looks like you have done a really good job researching--here is some more info that may or may not help: You can usually break down problems like this into 4 basic categories, and the trick is to rule them out one by one based on physical examination, history of the course of the symptoms, location of the skin areas involved and lab studies/biopsies. The 4 basic categories are:
    1. Infection (Viral, Bacterial, Fungal, Parasitic) Could be due to Staph infections, Scabies, Herpes Virus, etc. and also FIV, FeLV can result in "opportunistic infections" of the skin, etc.
    2. Trauma - (this does not look like trauma to me unless it started out with skin trauma which then became infected)
    3. Autoimmune/Allergy (Granulomatous lesions, rodent ulcers, excoriations, etc.)
    4. Neoplastic (skin cancers, skin manifestations of internal cancers)

    To get an accurate diagnosis and treatment a vet might need to run some tests, or, they might looks at it and know from experience immediately what it is. What worries me is that it looks wet/bloody/weeping--which looks more like an infection or cancer to me. If it came on suddenly and progressed pretty quick, it is more likely infectious rather than cancerous. How quickly did it come on? Is there any pus or drainage? Do you see any pattern to the lesions? Are they raised, round, ulcerated, etc.? Is it located only in that spot between eye and ear, or is it elsewhere on her body as well? Is the eye involved at all? I noticed you said the eyes look clear, but can you compare the whites of the eyes on both sides (may have to pull lids to sides to peek)? Is the white part of the eye on the affected side full of more red blood vessels? Has she been tested for FIV/FeLV?

    At any rate, I'd definitely stuff her in her carrier the best you can and bring her in ASAP. You really need to rule out the bad stuff first. DON'T try to treat it yourself because depending on what it is, if you don't know what you are treating you can make it much much worse. I once saw a patient who started out with a small lesion on his butt. His doc prescribed an anti-fungal and a steroid cream to treat it, but the patient only bought the steroid cream b/c the anti-fungal was too expensive. By the time he came back in for his next appointment, the fungal infection had spread over his entire butt because he was treating it with steroids (which suppress your body's own immune system) without using the antifungal to treat the infection--thus leaving the fungus to party on without interference from his body's immune system. I never forgot that! His whole butt looked like a huge, red scabby pancake!

    Anyways, you might want to call around as some vets take house calls. I think you could start out with a reputable general vet clinic before jumping to a skin specialist. Also, here are a few interesting web sites:

    I hope some of this is helpful to you......wish I could tell you for sure what it is!
    Good luck with your baby, she's very beautiful--please keep me posted....and drag her little bootie in to get treatment! She'll get over it as soon as you open the can of Fancy Feast when you get her back home, trust me!

    Best wishes, Schoener

  8. good thoughts, isabella!

  9. Firstly, Jeffery, thank you so much for bringing this to your truly kind doctor friend!

    Secondly, Dr. Schoener, I can't thank you enough for your advice. I'm sure you are right and I will indeed go ahead and take her in.

    I didn't post the most disturbing photos here but I can say the reaction is all over her body, red, bloody and weeping, terrifying, except for her back which seems to date to be untouched.

    I could NEVER check the whites of her eyes, unless she was sedated first, no way, she's completely wild. The only thing in your list above that I can definitively rule out as the causen is physical trauma. The rest is completely possible.

    Looks like tests and decisions are in our future. I think I'll cry now.

    Again, thank you for your kindness here.


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