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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17285
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is licking and pulling his fur out there is no fles

Resolved Question:

My cat is licking and pulling his fur out there is no fles
nor dose he have worms so I am not sure what is wrong
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that Nanda is literally pulling his hair out he is so uncomfortable.
Has he ever done anything like this before?

Hair loss on the abdomen and rear legs can be related to allergies (food, fleas, inhaled), stress, arthritis pain or anal gland inflammation. In rare cases it can be related to abdominal pain.
Over grooming most often is related to itchy skin or it can be a self calming behavior. Grooming releases a calming neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a calming neurotransmitter.

Are you using any flea medication? Some are more effective than others and if he is experiencing an occasional bite that can lead to him overgrooming himself. In many cases with a very allergic cat and only a few fleas we won't see any signs of fleas because with their overzealous grooming they remove any evidence of fleas. If you have other cats and they aren't affected than it may be the other cats aren't allergic. I like Frontline Plus or Advantage II for cats. Many over the counter products aren't effective and some are toxic.

If he's been given a new food or treat then stopping that or trying a hypoallergenic diet such as Hills D/d or Royal Canin Duck and Green Peas may help. If you choose to use a hypoallergenic diet then it must be the only thing that he gets for at least 10 to 16 weeks to see the full effects, though you should see some improvement in about 8 weeks as the allergens clear from his body. No table foods or treats or flavored medication.

If this is stress related then decreasing stress by using Feliway may help. Feliway is a synthetic analog of a facial pheromone which cats use to mark their home territory and is calming for them. Even though things may seem fine there may things that you aren't aware of. Synthetic pheromones come in sprays, diffusors, and impregnated collars.

Sometimes anti-anxiety drugs like buspirone or fluoxetine prescribed by his veterinarian may be indicated.

If this is arthritis related then using a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement (like Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like Derm Caps) to improve joint lubrication and cartilage health may be very helpful.

If you think this may be inhaled or flea allergy related then therapy with Chlorpheniramine at 2mg to 4mg per cat once to twice daily and an omega-3 fatty acid such as Derm Caps should help him be more comfortable. I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 10mg to 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. Together antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use.

So in short you can have him checked by his veterinarian to make sure there's no physical reason for his discomfort (full anal glands, arthritis or abdominal pain). Or you can try flea preventatives, an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine) and an omega-3 fatty acid as well as a hypoallergenic diet or a glucosamine/chondroitin product if you think he may be arthritic, and feliway if you believe he is stressed, then take him in if those don't help.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
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