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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 15577
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my cat has been excessively scratching and cleaning

Resolved Question:

Hello
my cat has been excessively scratching and cleaning fur for the last 3 weeks . She is starting to loose fur as a result . I have wormed and given drontal flea treatment .
There is no sign of fleas
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 sorry to hear that your kitty is grooming herself excessively to the point where you are seeing fur loss.
To be clear Drontal is a worming product used to treat roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. It has no efficacy against fleas. Did you mean that you treated her with Drontal to treat for gastrointestinal parasites AND that you also used something for fleas?
The most common reason for itchy skin in cats is allergies and the most common allergy 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, so we may not necessarily see any fleas when we look, especially if she is excessively grooming, she will literally eat the evidence. 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.
Ideally in a flea allergic cat I recommend using topical flea products every 3 weeks during the summer/fall months and monthly the rest of the year, even if they are indoor cats if we have a history of flea allergies. Many over the counter products have a problem with fleas being resistant and some can be down right dangerous, so depending upon what you used the product may not be effective. I never recommend any products that Hartz or Sargent's make. I recommend Advantage II or Frontline Plus. 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, dust mites are a problem especially this time of year when our furnaces are blowing.
To control allergic symptoms you can try:
1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at a dose of 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 to 7 kilograms.
OR
2) Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 4mg per cat twice daily.
Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use. Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines will work synergistically 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 kilo cat could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. In a cat that is already showing symptoms I recommend using the high end of the dosing scale.
Food allergy is another reason for excess grooming and itchy skin, especially of the face, paws, ears and sides of the abdomen. 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.
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.

 It comes in plug in diffusors, spray form and impregnated collars.
If she goes outside, or if any housemates do, other parasites like Cheyletiella, demodex, or sarcoptic mange are possible causes as well.
For now I would start with excellent 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.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi thanks for the quick reply

We used zerofen for worming and bob martins for flea .

Can I send you a photo ?

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.
Zerofen is a trade name for the generic wormer fenbendazole. It is a great product, and it kills hookworms and roundworms as well as giardia, but it does not treat the tapeworm transmitted to cats by fleas. I prefer a worming medication that has praziquantel (which treats flea transmitted tapeworms) in it for cats that go outside or have any suspicion of being exposed to fleas.
Drontal has both praziquantel and pyrantel so it treats tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms.
Bob Martin products use some of the older, less effective insecticides for flea control. These tend to have more side effects and a higher incidence of resistant flea populations. Frankly I think that you can do much better for your money and I would not use that line of products.
If you want to post a picture I would be happy to take a look. There should be a toolbar with a paperclip icon on it at the top of the reply box. Clicking on that will allow you to upload pictures from your computer. Not all web-browsers support it though (Chrome does not) so if you don't see a toolbar another option is to post the pictures to a file sharing site like imgur ( imgur.com ) and then give me the link.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

loss of fur from cleaning scratching

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry I missed your picture being posted earlier.
It is a little blurry but from what I can see it appears that the affected areas are the skin on her abdomen and the bottom of her chest. Is that correct? Are those the only areas affected?
That can still be related to flea allergies, but other possibilities would be stress related and/or secondary to abdominal pain and cramping. Abdominal discomfort can be secondary to internal organ disease, such as kidney or liver disease or pancreatitis, food allergies or sensitivities, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Some cats with early hyperthyroid disease can also have these sorts of symptoms. Elevated thyroid hormone levels can lead to intestinal hypermotility, cramping, vomiting or diarrhea, as well as increased anxiety.
Has she had any vomiting or diarrhea, weight loss, or an increase in appetite?
If she has not had any recent blood work (since this started) it would be well worth checking a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, T-4 and urinalysis.
If she is vomiting or often nauseous and those tests look normal then a specific blood test for pancreatitis, a feline specific pancreatic lipase would be reasonable.
I know that you are likely looking for things to do for her at home. Flea treatment and anti-histamines along with an omega 3 fatty acid supplement could help, but if they don't then I think some diagnostic testing needs to be done, especially if she has any gastrointestinal symptoms and/or weight loss.
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 15577
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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