UPDATE 2017: I have not needed to use tacro for a number of years now. I manage Mika's dryness with coconut oil and it's never as bad as it was when she was younger. If you can't afford tacro or have a mild case of bengal nose, start with coconut oil! Less expensive and safe to ingest.
The tacro is still doing the job with our once-a-day applications and we're not even a third of the way through our tube of it after a year of treatment. Totally worth that upfront cost for how long it lasts. We find it's best if it is applied to the bridge of the nose as well as the nose itself.
Mika has had a chronic dry and cracked nose pretty consistently the
whole time we've had her. We worked with our awesome vet to find a
solution to the problem, first trying glycerin as a moisturizer. It
helped a little but didn't solve the problem. She did some more research
and discovered that she likely has a breed related keratinization disorder. I'll include more information about that at the end of the post for those who are interested in knowing more.
Here's a picture from before the treatment (originally from this post
Our vet's recommended treatment was tacrolimus
ointment, which is sometimes used to treat severe eczema in people. It was not exactly a cheap upfront cost, but a little goes a long way. We started with twice a day applications (we started treatment in late September) and have since backed off to once a day. I apply a thin layer to her nose using a q-tip and then hold onto her while it absorbs so that she doesn't lick it. We usually end with a play session, to continue to distract her from licking. Her nose has healed tremendously and is looking plumper and healthier now.
This picture was taken about a month and a half into the treatment:
Pretty drastic improvement, yeah? I don't have any more recent pictures than this one at the moment. But her nose is free of cracks and is no longer dry and she is breathing much easier. If you want more info about the dermatitis she has, you can read more after the jump.
Also: if you're local, Corvallis Cat Care
is the way to go for your beloved felines. They are really great. We love our vet Carissa and appreciate how much time she spent helping us find answers to this problem. :)