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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16314
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my female cat has sores on her body she keeps biting and scratching

Resolved Question:

my female cat has sores on her body she keeps biting and scratching she been fleed and wormed she been like this for two or three weeks she is always out she is loosing her hair
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm really sorry to hear about Sukie's hairloss, sores and excessive itchiness.
I do not recommend using tea tree oil on cats or dogs as they cannot metabolize it properly and it can lead to nerve toxicity, drooling, vomiting, liver damage, and skin rashes. Though it may be tolerated at lower doses, for a cat with open sores it is more dangerous as it will be absorbed more easily increasing the chances it will be toxic for her.
The most common reason for the symptoms you report is flea allergy dermatitis. 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. If you have other pets who aren't itchy they may not be allergic. I am glad to know that you have used flea control but you must use it every 3 weeks year round in an outdoor cat that is 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, a newer flea collar that treats ticks too called Seresto. All pets in contact with her 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.
To control allergic symptoms 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 8-12 hours. That's a half of 25mg tablet every 8-12 hours for a cat that is 4 to 8 kilograms.
OR
2) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg per cat orally twice daily.
Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines 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 kilogram of body weight per day. For example a 4 kilogram cat could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. 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.
Food allergy is another reason for excess grooming. You might wish to try a hypoallergenic food for 8 weeks or so. 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. I understand that because she is outdoors she may choose to eat other things, thus this may be difficult for you to do.
If there are other cats in the area that she doesn't get along with or outdoors that upset her perhaps 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.
Because she goes outside other parasites like Cheyletiella 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 a 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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