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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18125
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 14 year old cat has recently has got a hairless with

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My 14 year old cat has recently has got a hairless arse with the baldness going up his tail a little bit. I'm using the teatree cream and it has become less red. Can you tell me what I should do?
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I'm sorry to hear that Mittens has been excessively grooming his perianal area and tail base. I know that the Tea tree cream soothes his itchy skin but it is toxic in cats and can cause neurologic symptoms including weakness, incoordination and tremors so I do not recommend using it any more.

Perianal itchiness and irritation are often caused by anal gland infections or impactions, flea allergy dermatitis, food allergies, or gastrointestinal parasites, or chronic inflammatory bowel disease or loose/ abnormal stools, or spinal arthritis.

If your kitty has normal stools and no vomiting or weight loss I would be most concerned about flea allergy dermatitis, anal gland problems, or tapeworms, as all can cause perianal itchiness/irritation.

I recommend a fecal check, looking for both worm and protozoal parasites. But I would also recommend worming Mittens for tapeworms with a medication that contains Praziquantal, because tapeworms cause perianal itchiness and can be passed independent of stools so they may not be seen on a regular stool check.
I also recommend that your fellow have his anal glands checked.

The most common reason for these symptoms is flea allergy dermatitis. Flea allergy dermatitis is horrible. In allergic animals 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 and if they are very allergic they may be removing any the evidence with excess grooming. If you have other pets who aren't itchy they may not be allergic.

Ideally you need to apply topical flea control every 3 weeks during the summer/fall months in an allergic animal. 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 every 3 weeks for at least 4 months for indoor cats and all year round for animals that go outside. 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.

To control allergic symptoms (from fleas or inhaled allergens) you can try:
1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at 1mg per pound every 8 hours. That's a half of 25mg tablet every 8 hours for a cat that is 8 to 15 pounds.
2) Chlorpheniramine at 2mg to 4mg once or twice daily.
Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines work to relieve itchiness. I like 3V caps or Derm Caps. Together 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.

For immediate comfort now you might try cool compresses to the perianal area then drying and applying a small amount of antibiotic cream to the perianal area a couple times a day. Distraction afterwards so he doesn't scoot or lick, with a walk or a special food treat to allow the ointment to be absorbed.

Best of luck with Mittens, let me know if you have further questions.
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