Holistic Treatment for Cats
Our contributing blogger, veterinarian Tricia Stimac, shares a few summer tips for cats. Here are some holistic ways to treat your cats for bites and allergies.
1. Even though most cats are indoors, some people do let their cats outdoors – summer is the season for insect bites and scratches. What are some holistic ways to treat insect bites and scratches?
For scratches and wounds the main idea is to keep it clean and allow it to heal. I like to clip the hair away from the area of concern so I can see how bad it is and allow air to get to the area. If it is full of hair you can harbor an infection in the area and prevent healing. I like disinfecting the wound with either povadone iodine (also called Betadine) or chlorahexaderm (also called Nolvasan) both diluted with water. Dilute concentrated Betadine with water to a light ice tea color (or Nolvasan with water to light blue color) and use the solution as a flush. Flush area 1-2 times a day until healed. Note: For white or light haired dogs: use Nolvasan to prevent hair staining.
I do not use a lot of ointments for cats because they lick so much. Usually simply keeping the area clean helps promote healing. Remember: Many cats need an oral or injectable antibiotic in addition to the above depending on the severity the wound.
2. On the same vain – what are some holistic/natural ways to treat allergies?
That is a very big question and I usually need an hour long appointment to help my clients understand this area of concern. Briefly I will review 3 pillars of health, which were taught to me by my mentor Dr. Karen Becker.
- Nutrition: Always feed a species appropriate diet; cats are carnivores so stay away from grains and many times you need to change your protein source. Also adding essential fatty acids, such as fish oils and coconut oil, to the diet can be very beneficial for the coat.
- Balance the Immune System: Many times you need supplements to balance an over stimulated immune system. The supplement depends on the problems and I use many different supplements. One I often use Cats Claw to help balance an over-stimulated immune system.
Also I do not suggest vaccinating your animal when allergies are bad. This will only cause more problems for the immune system.
- Overall Body: You need to remove allergens to reduce the load and keep skin free from infection. I suggest weekly to bi-weekly baths for dogs but cats are a different breed; they usually don’t appreciate being bathed. Instead you can try foot soaks/body wipe downs with the diluted Betadine or Nolvasan as mentioned above. You can make a foot soak in a kitchen sink, bowel, or Tupperware tub. Place your cats feet in the foot bath for 1-5 minutes (remembering to irrigate in-between their toes). When finished pat dry their feet (no need to rise off). You can also use the mixture and apply to the skin with a washcloth to perform body wipe down/baths.
Note: If the animal has excessive habits, infections, and/or allergies this irrigation therapy should be done at least daily, preferably after all trips outside are completed. If you are just trying to be proactive and prevent licking along with containment ingestion you should perform these therapies several times a week.
Cats and dogs can also take Benadryl for itching and other allergy symptoms. The dose is 1 mg per pound; so a 10 pound cat would take about 10 mg every 12 to 24 hours.
Remember serious skin infections usually require an antibiotic.
Overall allergies usually require a multi-modal approach.
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