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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2808
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My cat keeps licking and scratching the back half of his

Resolved Question:

My cat keeps licking and scratching the back half of his body and tail.
I have seen no signs of flees or worms
What could it be please?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

Hello,
I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about your cat's itchy back half.
I'm so sorry you're having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need. You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.
In the meantime, in order to help me help you better, I'll need some more information. To start with, can you please tell me:

  • What kind of cat is he/she and how old?
  • Is she otherwise healthy and on no medications?
  • Does she go outside?

I'll be standing by and awaiting your reply.
Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He is called milo and is an 8 yr old domestic black cat. He dies go out but he never wanders far these days. He is very large too and always looking to be fed. I tried worming him again last week but he will not take the tablets. I have looked where he sleeps and there are no signs of flees or worms. He licks his back , legs and tail
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your quick reply. I want to start by letting you know you are not alone. What you are describing is a relatively common thing.

The most common reason a middle-aged or older adult cat will start licking the fur off his hindquarters and tail is some sort of allergy. This can be an allergy to something he inhales (like hayfever in people), something he eats, or something that he touches.

(typing more)

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

Most cats with this problem are allergic to something they touch, or - rather - something that's touching them - and that something is insect saliva. It's important to emphasize that you don't have to see fleas or worms in order for them to be the problem. If you're cat happens to be allergic to flea saliva, it only takes one or two bites to develop this kind of itch and hair loss. And with worms, the majority of them pass only their microscopic eggs, so there isn't anything you can see with the naked eye.

Because this is the most common reason for this type of itchy hair loss, every time I see a cat with this problem, I put them on a product called REVOLUTION. Revolution is a topical product (you put it on the skin) that is very broad-spectrum, treating mites, worms, and fleas as well as other parasites. It's important to apply a monthly dose for THREE consecutive months to break the lifecycle of any parasites that may be behind the problem.

(typing more)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He has no hair loss
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

When the cat I'm seeing is particularly itchy or broken out, I will also use a small amount of steroids. If it is any type of allergic itch (including a food allergy), the steroids will provide some relief. It's important to acknowledge that the symptoms will return, however, as soon as the medication is discontinued as long as the cat is still around whatever it is allergic to. That's why it's important to also do the Revolution.

Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

Yes, I understand he has no hair loss, at least at this point in time. Everything I'm saying still applies. It starts with an intense itch. Then, the intense licking eventually ends up removing the hair.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you very much for your great advice. You have been very helpful
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I will take up your advice thank you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

I'm glad I could be helpful. At this point it is reasonable to start applying monthly doses of Revolution. If that doesn't solve the problem, it is time for a trip to the vet.

Dr. Jo and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 11 months ago.

I hope this information was helpful to you.

Please also remember I am here for you and am happy to discuss your question until you are satisfied with the answer I've provided. You may return to this page at any time to review this information and/or post more. You may do so even after you've rated my response. I'll be notified of your response via email and will do my best to help you.
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