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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 31112
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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my 6 month old female kitten has scabs all over her body. She

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my 6 month old female kitten has scabs all over her body. She scratches and grooms frequently.(as she is not spayed,she does not go out) My older male introduced fleas to the house recently. We treated both cats with fipronil and used flea insecticide on the cat bedding and furniture. We have also tried 'flea collars' on both cats. My male cat is fine,healthy,active and has no skin problems but my kitten is covered in scabs and seems sore. The only other thing i could mention is she has until recently refused to eat any food 'cat' related and has lived on ham and our scraps but in the last week has started to eat pouch cat food twice a day. Any ideas?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Honey. I understand your frustration but I believe that you're going to win this battle. I have a number of considerations for you...

You've acknowledged that you've had a flea problem. Honey's scabbing and pruritis (itchiness), then, is, at least partially, due to a flea saliva allergy - the most common of the allergies that causes miliary dermatitis - the crusted papules/scabs you're seeing all over her body. Your male is exposed to just as many fleas but apparently hasn't developed an allergy to the fleas' saliva. Here's what you need to consider...

1) We've found that some populations of fleas have developed resistance to fipronil. Consider switching to an imidocloprid-containing product such as Advantage or Advocate. If you prefer a collar, try the new over the counter Seresto collar. Please see here: http://www.petparents.com/products.aspx/index/seresto?WHGRedir=1 If you prefer an oral product, try the over the counter nitenpyram-containing Capstar. Please see here: http://www.capstar.novartis.us/

2) You can administer a prescription glucocorticosteroid such as prednisolone to Honey which is quite effective against a flea saliva allergy.

3) We also should consider an allergy to environmental allergens (atopy) such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites. This is also addressed with prednisolone.

4) There may be a concomitant mange mite present - Demodex. This isn't common but should be considered. Honey's vet would need to skin scrape Honey in an attempt to identify this mite.

5) A food intolerance may be present in cats such as Honey and this is more of a consideration because it appears that she's shunning cat food as well as suffering from a miliary dermatitis. 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 Honey'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. The prescription foods are available from her vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

6) Finally, you've been good about disinfesting the premises. Be sure that any area treatment spray you've used contains an insect growth regulator (IGR). IGRs don't allow flea eggs and larvae to develop into adult fleas and so break up the life cycle of the flea. Methoprene is a commonly found IGR and is found in many area treatment sprays found in pet and feed stores.

I've thrown a lot at you at once. Please take your time and respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 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.