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Dr. Susan
Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6785
Experience:  8 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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My cat has recently been spayed and since having the stitches

Resolved Question:

My cat has recently been spayed and since having the stitches removed, she has been grooming excessively - (a maine coon) she has been licking herself until the skin is raw and bleeding - apart from the open wounds she's creating, she seems to bee content enough, but it is becoming more and more difficult to distract her from licking and pulling clumps of fur out.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Susan :

Hi, I can help you with your question today.

Dr. Susan :

Is she grooming along the incision site, or is she focusing on other areas?

Customer:

Other areas - orginally when she had the op, she removed the 1st lot of stitches within half an hour of getting home; she was returned to the vets who used staples (and put her in a bigger elizabethan collar), she still managed to get the staples out - cue visit the following day (more staples), she took one of those out (the remaining wond stayed closed so we didn't take her back until the wound was scheduled for review; the remaining staple was taken out, but by the time we returned home, the wound was fully open again (even though she still had the collar on).

Dr. Susan :

You said she has been grooming other areas excessively, but you only described the problems with the incision. Could you tell me where else she is focusing on?

Customer:

She was taken back again and had to be sedated and re-stitched, and had an overnight stay at the vets - when she returned home she was worrying the op site again so I got some "pet's pyjamas" so that she couldn't reach the wound - it has all healed well, but since this all started she has been grooming her shoulders and stomach until the flesh is raw, so I have tried to make it less tempting by putting her back in her pj's.

Dr. Susan :

Is she still on any medications at this time?

Customer:

No medication

Dr. Susan :

Does she go outside at all?

Customer:

No, an indoor cat - she rarely goes outside unless she has a human with her!

Dr. Susan :

OK, I think we should look at two possible underlying categories of problems here: she could have a true medical condition, or this could be a behavioral issue.

Customer:

She is generally calm and amenable

Dr. Susan :

With regard to medical conditions, we could see licking like this if she had an external parasite like fleas or a food allergy.

Customer:

She is treated on a monthly basis with Advocate; we have not changed her diet

Dr. Susan :

This could still be a behavioral problem. Since this all began with licking at her incision site, it may be a habit that initially had a real inciting cause. Now, the incision is healed, the pain is gone, but the behavior remains.

Dr. Susan :

Excellent, I'm glad to hear she is on Advocate regularly.

Dr. Susan :

The diet could still be an issue, as animals can develop allergies at any time. Prime age for new allergies is actually around age 2-3 years.

Dr. Susan :

So even without a diet change, she may just be sensitive to her usual food suddenly.

Customer:

Is there a way to convince her that she doesn't need to do this any more - she gets very distressed when the resultant hairballs have to be expelled

Dr. Susan :

I think that the pajamas are important right now to physically protect her skin.

Customer:

As she is still not much more than a kitten (aren't they all?) We play with her every day and she is rarely left alone in the house

Dr. Susan :

She may need antibiotics as well, if the raw skin becomes infected, it can cause itchiness also.

Dr. Susan :

I would consider a trial of an oral steroid like prednisolone, to see if she truly has a primary itchy condition.

Dr. Susan :

If she responds to steroids, it is not a behavioral issue.

Dr. Susan :

However, if we can't find an underlying medical problem, I would consider a behavioral drug such as amitriptyline or fluoxetine.

Customer:

I have been keeping an eye on the raw sites, they generally appear healthy with no sign of raised temperature or infection

Dr. Susan :

Good. Then I would start with a trial of prednisolone next. We would then monitor her response and proceed based on her response.

Customer:

Ok. Looks as if I need to get her on medication. Thanks for the help and advice

Dr. Susan :

You're welcome! If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION.

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Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6785
Experience: 8 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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