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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28596
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 17 year old ginger cat has suffered with black crusting

Customer Question

My 17 year old ginger cat has suffered with black crusting around eyes,nose and mouth which normally clears in a few days. However, this time the breakout is worse and she has started to drool a lot. We are in Turkey in an area where veterinary care is not very advanced. The local vet gave us some dark brown liquid to apply topically but there has been little improvement and now the cat sometimes has trouble eating. She acts as if the soft food has sharp bits in it and she cries and jumps away from the food. How can I help my cat.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry to hear of this. While I'm necessarily constrained by distance, I'm concerned that the crusting around her eyes, nose, and mouth - at mucocutaneous junctions (where mucous membranes meet normal skin) indicate autoimmune skin disease such as the pemphigus complex. When the oral cavity is involved, pemphigus vulgaris is the type of pemphigus present and that autoimmune disease is very difficult to manage. High doses of a corticosteroid such as prednisone are necessary and even that therapy fails in too many patients. Such a dose of prednisone is likely to be contraindicated in such an elderly cat in any event. I can't rule out that there are concomitant disorders. Perhaps her crusting is unrelated to advanced dental disease or even oral cancer at her age. I understand your constraints. I've worked with customers in Turkey and unless you have access to the veterinary school teaching hospital, the care your cat can receive is likely to be insufficient. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the reply. If untreated what is the prognosis for my cat.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. Very poor if only because she's likely to not eat enough to sustain herself. See if she'll lap a gruel of her regular canned food.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure if I have explained the symptoms properly. The brown crusting sometimes clears and in the past I have gently scraped it away to reveal healthy-looking tissue underneath. Does this support your diagnosis. Also she has been eating quite well up to now and hasn't lost weight. Lastly, I have four other cats and I am worried this could be something contagious.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
No, it doesn't. I would expect to find the underlying skin to be quite inflamed if not ulcerated. Thank you for clarifying that. We need to concentrate on her oral cavity at this time. We're looking for oral cancer and and advanced dental disease at her age. A cancer might be seen visually; advanced dental disease would require anesthesia and extractions - procedures likely to be unavailable where you live.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I guess we have to try to encourage her to eat and hope for the best. However, I will try to find a vet who can check her teeth as I suspect dental problems to be the cause of the drooling and apparent discomfort when eating.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Yes, see if you can find such a vet. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try to update you if you are interested although not sure how to do that without paying again. Is there a time limit on this consultation ?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome to return to this conversation at your convenience. There's no additional charge to you and you can bookmark this page for ease of return.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks for your time. Bye for now
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You're quite welcome. I'll watch for your next post.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.