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Hyperesthesia

Vito

Site Supporter
Hi All, it hasn't been officially confirmed yet, but Lola is suffering terribly with Hyperesthesia, for the past 10 weeks. She is displaying all the distinctive signs,
Acting as though in heat
Excessive meowing
Hyperactivity, dilated pupils
Skin rippling on her back (twitching)
Biting her tail and pulling her hair out in clumps
All of this proving very distressing to both poor Lola and very upsetting to me to see her suffer. Before going down the route of having her prescribed medication, I have tried various methods to help relieve her symptoms.....

Using buster collar
Thunder vest alternated with recovery suit
Up to date on parasitic treatments
Valerian spot on
Feliway spray and plug ins
Diet changed to a hypoallergenic diet (incase it was a dietary intolerance) cut out any treats.
More routine and playtime , and more recently CBD oil twice per day.

All of which have had no positive effect whatsoever, infact the hair pulling is getting worse. After feeling totally defeated in all efforts to help her, she has an appointment with the vet hospital on Friday, when I'm sure the vets will agree that it's hyperesthesia. Apart from acting the way she is ( these episodes last between 2 & 5 minutes) , she seems very happy playing with her brothers, eating, drinking, defecating and urination is normal. She is a highly intelligent savannah and it's breaking our hearts seeing the damage she's doing to herself. She must be absolutely stressed to the max.
I feel now that medication is required, be that a course of steroids or gabapentin. I believe these are commonly used. Do any of you guys have any experience of this? If so, what medication was given? Did it help?
Should I insist on X-ray's to rule out a spinal problem ! Would bloodwork be useful ?
Any help or advice would be very much appreciated. Perhaps there's something I'm missing or overlooking.
 
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Vito

Site Supporter
Well Lola had her vet visit today and vet is sure it's hyperesthesia, she has been given Gabapentin (liquid form) 50mg at a dose of 0.7.5 mil twice daily.
Apparently this is a low dose to start with as we don't want to comatose her. She was very chilled at the vets but looked so pitiful with all her missing fur.
She will be reassessed in two weeks time. IMG_2674.JPG
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
I'm sorry to hear about Lola's malady. Are you also discussing behavior and environment modifications in case stress is a factor -- i.e. more individual play time, more individual cuddles without the other cats around, a quiet place all to herself, sufficient toys/high places/perches/cat trees to reduce sharing of such with the other cats etc. Seemingly unstressed cats can be affected by stressors that we humans may not see as issues.
 

Vito

Site Supporter
I'm sorry to hear about Lola's malady. Are you also discussing behavior and environment modifications in case stress is a factor -- i.e. more individual play time, more individual cuddles without the other cats around, a quiet place all to herself, sufficient toys/high places/perches/cat trees to reduce sharing of such with the other cats etc. Seemingly unstressed cats can be affected by stressors that we humans may not see as issues.
Hi Deborah, thanks for your reply, yes that was one of the first things we did, (tried to think like a cat) got more trees and put up high perches which she has been using, giving her a lot more one to one attention, she has an extremely high prey drive so got lots of new prey and chase toys, they have hoards of them but you know how bored they get with same stuff. Also been taking her out on harness a bit more. According to the vet, cats showing signs of displaying hyperesthesia usually are around one year of age and that's exactly when she started with this behavior.
Think I covered all bases but to no avail, really didn't want to go down the route of medicating her, it was a last resort, but nothing else was helping. If this dosage of gabapentin helps, the plan is to try and reduce after few weeks to a month and see how she goes and if it's the opposite and doesn't help it'd need to be increased slightly. I shall keep posted on here of any improvements we see. Fingers crossed we can help her through this.
 

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Vito

Site Supporter
Six days on the Gabapentin, and WOW!!!!!! No skin rippling on her back, no manic behavior and eating a lot better. Fur pulling has also stopped, it is only an extremely low dose of 0.75mil twice a day but it's working with no side effects. Hoping it continues like this, Lola is so much happier in herself and not the usual tormented wee lass. Review with her vet in a weeks time.
 

Vito

Site Supporter
Sadly Lola has had a few terrible episodes over the last couple of days and has been very tormented with the Hyperesthesia, just when we thought things were getting better she's been pulling her hair out again, she's now on 0.7 of a mil gabapentin every 8 hours , the vet wants to see how she fairs over the next day or two on this dose. Then she will review her again. I've read that an x-ray of the spine could be beneficial to see if there is any disc problems, possibly pressing on a nerve, however the vet seems to dismiss this and I really feel she's not looking into it seriously enough. My vet of many years recently retired and I'm not to enamoured with his replacement.
Any advice guys ? Anything I should be insisting on ? Any help would be appreciated, my poor baby is being driven mad and I'm feeling so helpless.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
I'm not too knowledgeable about hyperesthesia, however I don't think it's ever wrong to get a second opinion. Is there an emergency or specialty vet hospital in your area that you might be able to take her to?
 

Vito

Site Supporter
I'm not too knowledgeable about hyperesthesia, however I don't think it's ever wrong to get a second opinion. Is there an emergency or specialty vet hospital in your area that you might be able to take her to?
The hospital Lola's with is probably the best one in the country, The Royal Dick Vet in Edinburgh, thing is we always had a fantastic vet there who recently retired and it's kind of pot luck as to who you see. Our vet that retired was very knowledgeable with savannahs and I feel it s a great loss that he's no longer there.
Lola seems to have settled on one mil dose of Gabapentin every 8 hours, and she has a review in four weeks unless of course the meds stop working.
It's been a kind of suck it and see scenario to be honest Patti. If she starts with the erratic behaviour and self mutilation again I'll definitely ask for a second opinion.
We don't seem to have any vets in Scotland that specialise or have great savannah experience.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
Well I hope the increased dose works for her. One of my SVs has aggression issues and is on daily meds for it - it seems to be a daily toss up as to how well the meds are working on any given day... some days she's as sweet as can be, other days she is relentless in her attacks on the other cats - so I know how you feel, hoping that this time you've found the magic dose that will finally control her symptoms...
 

Vito

Site Supporter
Well I hope the increased dose works for her. One of my SVs has aggression issues and is on daily meds for it - it seems to be a daily toss up as to how well the meds are working on any given day... some days she's as sweet as can be, other days she is relentless in her attacks on the other cats - so I know how you feel, hoping that this time you've found the magic dose that will finally control her symptoms...
That's really interesting Patti, we had Franco (you may remember) on Gabapentin for severe aggression and it was the same, good days and bad.
Lola is on liquid gabapentin 50mg strength and she gets 1 mil every 8 hours, can you possibly tell me what dose your girlie is on and her rough weight ? Also how often do you give her it ? Trying to gauge if Lola perhaps needs more, as they said it will be a trial scenario to get it right, I believe this is still a fairly low dose, I think we have got it or close to it but only time will tell, they had to up the dose as she seemed to be lapsing on the 0.75 ml
 
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