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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience:  21 years small animal general and emergency practice
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We wondered if you knew why when we stroke the cats on their

Resolved Question:

We wondered if you knew why when we stroke the cats on their backs why they start licking their legs what could this be? Diane
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Dave replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Dave :

Hello, and thanks for writing in.

Dr. Dave :

From your description, it sounds like a condition called Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome.

Dr. Dave :

You can read a short article about it HERE.

Dr. Dave :

One of my cats at home has this same condition.

Dr. Dave :

We see it fairly commonly in cats when they are in the clinic and we are petting or scratching them, and many owners will ask what that is.

Dr. Dave :

Sometimes if there is an underlying skin disorder (i.e. fleas, allergies, bacterial infection, etc.), cats are more likely to have this condition. But, even cats with normal healthy skin can do this.

Dr. Dave :

It's thought to be a type of compulsive disorder.

Dr. Dave :

Many times no specific treatment is needed (if the skin is OK), and if the cat does not seem in pain, or if the symptoms are not interfering with the cat's daily life. But, there are some medications that can help to treat it, such as different behavioral medications (i.e. anti-depressants, or anti-seizure medications).

Dr. Dave :

I hope this helps, Diane. Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Customer:

Thanks but why would they both suddenly start with it together unless its a flea bite allergy could it be that. We have flead them but they are still doing this.

Dr. Dave :

Fleas or flea allergies can certainly cause these symptoms. If they are allergic to fleas (not every cat is actually allergic to fleas or flea bites), then they can be itchy for over 1 month after a flea has bitten them, and you may not find any fleas on them, and they could have been treated for fleas a month ago.

Dr. Dave :

So, it's possible that they are itchy and may need anti-itch medication, such as a cortisone injection or cortisone pills prescribed by your veterinarian.

Customer:

thank you I think we will be visiting the vets now but if they have an injection is that a long term solution to the problem or not and why all of a sudden have they started suffering with this when they are old ladies 9 years old?

Dr. Dave :

As far as treating with an "injection", it just depends on what the veterinarian finds...i.e. if they feel that a long-lasting cortisone shot is warranted, they can do that. So, in that example, there is a long-lasting cortisone injection that lasts about 1 month.

Dr. Dave :

It's hard to say for sure why they just started with the symptoms, unless again, they have developed an allergy that is making them do this, or some other underlying skin problem or behavioral issue that is leading to these symptoms. It would be to get them examined, so your veterinarian can see if there is more going on that needs to be treated.

Dr. Dave :

sorry..."It would be BEST to get them examined..." is what I meant to type.

Customer:

Thankyou I will get them booked in and sorted, thanks for your advice

Dr. Dave :

You're very welcome - glad to be here to help out! I hope everything goes well, and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving next week!

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