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My cat had fleas aprox 3 months ago, I have kept her treated
My cat had fleas aprox 3 months ago, I have kept her treated with Advance and treated the area's she was sitting in and also flea comb her most evenings, but she is still constantly scratching. The vet gave me medicine to put in her food, but this made her ill and she would not eat for 2 days. She did have a small patch of cat dermatitis from the fleas but the fur is now grown back. She has a thin patch of fur on her side from over grooming. She is now so stressed out, everytime I come home she associates the front door with either being given medicine or being put in a cage to go to the vet and will only come in the back door after 1/2 hr.
Any help to sooth her scratching.
3 years ago.
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replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help with your concerns about Tess and her itchy skin.
The most common reason for these symptoms is flea allergy dermatitis so I am very glad to hear that you are continuing to use protection on her. Flea allergy dermatitis is horrible. In allergic cats it only takes one bite a month for them to itch like crazy. If you don't see any fleas you might not have a huge population and if she is very allergic she may be removing any the evidence with her excess grooming. If you have other pets who aren't itchy they may not be allergic. Ideally you need to apply topical flea control every 3 weeks in an allergic cat. Many over the counter products have a problem with fleas being resistant and some can be down right dangerous. I never recommend any products that Hartz or Sargent's make. I recommend Advantage II or Frontline Plus every 3 weeks for at least 4 months for indoor cats and all year round for cats that go outside. All pets in the house must be treated as if you don't the nonallergic ones serve as a flea reservoir for the allergic one and you'll never solve your problem.
Inhaled allergies (to pollens, dust mites or mold spores) are another possibility for her itchy skin.
To control allergic symptoms (from fleas or inhaled allergens) you can try:
1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at 2mg to 4mg per kilogram of body weight every 8 hours. That's a half
of 25mg tablet every 8 hours for a cat that is 4.5 to 7 Kilograms.
2) Chlorpheniramine at 2mg to 4mg per cat once or twice daily.
Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines can work to relieve her itchiness. I like 3V caps or Derm Caps. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 20mg to 40mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 4 kilogram cat could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. Together antihistamines and omega-3 fatty
acids work synergistically. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use.
Cool water baths with an oatmeal based shampoo can help as well, both to soothe the skin and rinse off allergens. Though the effects are temporary they can be part of the plan to help her. Make sure to wait 3 days after or give a bath 3 days before applying any topical flea products as they will be less effective if given too close to a bath.
Food allergy is another reason for excess scratching. You might wish to try a true hypoallergenic food for 8 weeks or so. Full improvement may take 12 to 16 weeks but she should be improving in 8 weeks. My suggestions are Hills Z/D or Royal Canin Duck and Green peas. She will need to eat only that food, no other treats or foods during her food trial.
You can also use cortisone cream or spray on especially itchy areas.
If there are other cats in the home that she doesn't get along with or outdoors that upset her perhaps some of this is stress related. If so a product called Feliway, which is a synthetic version of a calming feline pheromone, may help. You can purchase this from petstores or online.
If she goes outside other contagious parasites like Cheyletiella, Demodex gatoi or Sarcoptic mange are possible causes as well.
For now I would start with continued flea control, an antihistamine and omega 3 fatty acids. If she's not significantly better in 2 weeks then it's time for another veterinary examination to look further for problems and/or a hypoallergenic food trial.
Please let me know if you have further questions by replying to this post.
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