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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 26277
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My female cat is 5 years old and she is losing hair on her

Customer Question

My female cat is 5 years old and she is losing hair on her stomach and under her tail. She is quite thin but eats well and is full of energy
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Patsy's excessive grooming isn't due to her shedding but, instead, because she's pruritic (itchy) - particularly in the areas in which you're seeing her hair loss. Pruritic cats are suffering from an allergic dermatitis the great majority of the time. Allergies to flea saliva, environmentals such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, and foods should be considered. In rare instances the mange mite Demodex might be responsible.

Our dermatologists tell us to apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as the imidocloprid-containing Advantage or a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline, FiproGuard and PetArmor even if fleas aren't seen. Cats can be such effective groomers so as to eliminate all evidence of flea infestation. Indoor cats can contract fleas because we walk them in on us and flea eggs and larva can remain viable in your home for months. As the weather warms, eggs hatch. In severe cases, an anti-allergenic prescription corticosteroid such as prednisolone will work wonders for cats allergic to the saliva of the flea. Your other pets may not be allergic to the saliva of the flea. Any change in the skin caudal (toward the tail) to the ege of the ribcage in cats should be considered to be flea-related.

Environmental allergies are usually addressed with prednisolone as well. In some cats an over the counter antihistamine such as the over the counter chlorpheniramine dosed at 2mg/cat daily will be helpful

Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Patsy's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. There are many prescription novel protein diets and the prototypical hydrolyzed protein diet is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (my preference). We usually see a positive response to these foods within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. A food intolerance can appear at any age and even if our cats have been eating the same food for quite some time.

We used to diagnose these cats with psychogenic alopecia - a neurotic over-grooming - but have come to realize that most of these cats truly are allergic cats. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 26277
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.

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