Hoppy: The “Feral” Foster – The Dermatologist

This blog was posted before our name change to For All Animals.

As we waited for the test results from the internist, we took Hoppy back to Dr. Wolf for a skin scraping and ringworm test ($32.75). It would be two weeks before they would have any answers. Lots of waiting.

After a few days we got a call from Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine of GB. The results from the needle aspirate gave them no reason to suspect cancer—and in fact showed reactive hyperplasia, which is what you would expect if his lymph nodes were responding to inflammation around his head. And Hoppy’s electrophoresis (blood test) showed a poly-clonal increase in his globulin levels which was expected with the chronic inflammation. The doctor was pretty confident it wasn’t cancer (the first good news we’ve heard about Hoppy—basically ever) and suggested no further testing. He did reiterate his suggestion to go to a dermatologist—and asked us to follow up with him, as he was now curious what was going on with Hops.

After a week we called to follow up with Dr. Wolf on the ringworm test—they said it wasn’t conclusive yet, but so far wasn’t showing any signs of ringworm. We made an appointment with the dermatologist.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the dermatologist appointment Jason, my husband, had to tackle on his own. This was less an issue of who was in attendance, and more an issue of how many hands there were to help wash Hoppy once we returned home. Hoppy has the lovely quirk of pooping every time he is put into a “carrier” (though we technically use a feral cat den to transport him around). On this occasion Hoppy pooped on the way to the dermatologist and they graciously washed him on arrival.

Around this time, Hoppy found our cat window seat.

Around this time, Hoppy found our cat window seat.

The doctor was a little stumped—but had some theories. They agreed it might be ringworm and wanted to do an additional test that was sent to a lab rather than done in house. They thought it might be herpes virus or allergies—specifically to mites. They even suggested severe chin acne. I didn’t know cats could have acne.

They started us off with a wood’s lamp examination—which is literally holding a black light up to a cat to see if the fungus lights up—which was negative ($10), another skin scraping ($45) for another ringworm test sent to a lab ($91.60). They gave us Feline Advantage that we were to use every other week to rule out invisible mites ($81.59) and wrote us a prescription for Doxycycline ($44) for inflammation—that would need to be filled by mail. (The exam charge was $170.)

Total for original ringworm test = $32.75. Total for dermatologist appointment = $398.19. Cost of Doxycycline = $44.
Total vet bills to date = $2437.09.


Ella Putsché is the executive director of Photographers for Animals.
Recognizing the impact and influence imagery can have on an audience to
take action, she founded Photographers for Animals to promote animal
issues and to help organizations utilize opportunities for photography and film.