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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 9966
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Badly irritant to back constant licking and movement in back

Resolved Question:

Badly irritant to back constant licking and movement in back through irritant dashing about to rid himself of this feeling.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 2 years ago.
Welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name is***** am a licensed veterinarian. I am happy to answer your question today. First I need to ask you a few questions so that I can be well informed and give you the best advice.

1- How long has this been going on?
2- Is he strictly indoors?
3- To make sure I got this right, the problem is that the skin in the back is very irritated?

There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I type out a thorough reply for you.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Only happens occasionally when he has been outside.

Goes out often.

Not necessarily his skin he is licking his fur.

Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 2 years ago.
Pamela, I am going to opt out so another expert can help you. I don't think I will be of any help in this case without a hands on examination. I am sorry. Please do not reply to this so the question remains open for other expert to see and does not come back to me.

Dr. Peter
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So what happens now if I paid £14.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you since the other expert has opted out.

My aplogies for the additional questions but I just have a few more:

1. Is there an intensity to his grooming (when he does it)? It's not "normal" grooming behavior, in other words?
2. And, just to confirm, he licks his fur but there are no sores or scabs or lesions, correct?
3. Does he primarily lick in only one place...on his back?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It is frantic licking all over not the tummy I am thinking it must be worms.
No sores.

Only happens occasionally. Today he was frantic again once he had fed it all seemed okay.

He is due another three monthly worming.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you responded back.

I not entirely certain that this behavior is secondary to internal parasites although I can understand why you might think it would be.

This sounds like he may have a milder form of a condition called Hyperesthesia Syndrome (LINK). There's a range of "odd" behavior with cats who have this syndrome which range from occasional excessive intense licking to almost seizure-like activity.
There are no specific tests which can be done to diagnose this problem but rather we suspect it based on an individual cat's behavior as described in more detail in the article I provided above.

If my patient only excessively licks near the spine in front of the tail base, then I'll want to rule out fleas but in most cases, these cats are creating sores or scabs on their bodies. But, if there's any doubt about whether fleas may be playing a role or not, use of a good topical product such as Advantage or Cheristin should be considered. Since he does go outside, unless it's the middle of winter with snow on the ground where you lie, then fleas may play a role in his behavior (even if you don't see evidence of them).

For the milder forms of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, I don't typically suggest any medical treatment options. Once the owners recognize the underlying problem, they usually agree that medication isn't something they want to give their cats.
Since there may be an OCD (obsessive/compulsive) component to this behavior for some cats, environmental enrichment (such as interactive toys, etc) may be of benefit. This suggestion may not necessarily apply to him, though, since he does go outside and I'm certain that he finds lots to do when he's out there.

And, as to why he seemed improved after he ate, I can't necessarily make a connection with the behavior stopping unless he was just distracted by his food.

It's not been my experience that this behavior worsens as these cats age although I suppose it's always possible that it could.

I hope this helps although, again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 9966
Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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