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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4695
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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my cat is scratching all the time,he has a very scabby skin.he

Customer Question

my cat is scratching all the time,he has a very scabby skin.he is healthy and eats well.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Joey :

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

Dr. Joey :

I am sorry to hear about the troubles your pet is having, but I’m sure we can come up with some options.


I must ask if you are using monthly flea control on him right now. We are experiencing significant fleas of both indoor and outdoor cats. Therefore, if not already done, the first step is to treat for fleas. You can get an appropriate preventive from your vet (such as Revolution/selamectin) or you could look to purchase Advantage which is sometimes available without a prescription over-the-counter.

Dr. Joey :

If you are already doing flea control, then the next most common cause of scabs and itching is an underlying food allergy or environmental allergy (called atopic dermatitis). Most severely food allergic will have a lot of scabbing around the head area. You can work with your vet to do a hypoallergenic food trial for 8 - 12 weeks while treating his skin for the itching, and have his skin checked for underlying infection by your vet doing a skin scraping (for mites, bacteria/yeast). Your vet can then treat the secondary infection with appropriate medication +/- steroid to clear the itching while doing the food trial.

Dr. Joey :

If this has already been done, and we are certain there are no allergies or mites or secondary infections, then the third most common non-infectious cause is an immune-mediated disease such as pemphigus. This would require a skin biopsy to diagnose.

Dr. Joey :

So, what to do for now at home until you can have him seen by his vet? I would advocate topical flea control to clear any fleas (you may not even see fleas since cats eat them as fast as they can when they jump on). If he was my patient I might recommend you try an antihistamine that you could purchase at a pharmacy for people such as chlorpheniramine 4mg at 1/2 tab every 12 hours or diphenhydramine 25mg at one-half tab every 12 hours. These may help with itching. You could also try bathing in a good cleansing shampoo such as one with the active ingredient selenium sulfide, but do not get this in his eyes.

Dr. Joey :

Please let me know your questions.

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

You appear to be unavailable for a live chat or we are having a difficult time connecting. I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. We can continue our dialog in this setting.

I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.

Please remember to select REPLY TO EXPERT if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer.

My goal is to provide the best answer possible prior to you leaving a feedback rating.

If you received all the information you needed, then kindly submit a rating.

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