A systematic approach is especially important in difficult or chronic cases. You should not become disheartened too prematurely as it can often take some time before the cat responds to treatment. In Germany, the Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons for each federal state can provide pet owners with a list of vets who are specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions (dermatology).
Reasons for prolonged periods of scratching
When parasites such as fleas and mites as well as other micro-organisms and contact allergies have been excluded, a food allergy should be considered as a possible cause. Itchiness is triggered by so-called allergens, i.e. water-soluble proteins or sugars attached to proteins (glycoproteins), which are thermostable. Although all proteins in animal food can be antigens, it is often a small proportion that have an effect as allergens. All foodstuffs an animal is regularly fed have the potential to trigger an allergy. Identified food allergens include beef, dairy products, wheat, poultry, lamb and soya. Many pet owners also believe colourings and preservatives are the cause of allergies. As yet there is no scientific evidence to support these beliefs, however. Nevertheless, additives can act as partial antigens.