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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22604
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat has a patch on his neck which he scratches and

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My cat has a nasty patch on his neck which he scratches and makes bleed. Not sure what has caused it. Any advice?

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has Ambrose had this patch?
Where on his neck is this (just under the ear, neck or on the back of the neck)?

When did you last apply a flea product? What did you use?

Any changes in his ears (ie discharge, redness, inflammation)?
Any head shaking?

Is he itching anywhere else?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He has had it for 4 or 5 days.
Under ear.
He is a rescue cat, only got him a week ago. I believe he was treated with Stronghold by his rescuer on the day I got him.
No problem with ears.
No head shaking.
Not scratching anywhere else.

Thank you Nancy,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, Ambrose’s lesion is due to his continued self-trauma. That said, the reason for my questions about fleas, ears, and such is because it is very likely that there was an original trigger (ie allergies, bacteria, ear mites, skin mites, etc) that started off his skin irritation. Only once he started scratching the area, the self-trauma would have allowed bacterial infiltration of the skin leading to an increased itch and therefore a continued need to scratch.

In this situation, I do want to note that if the skin is terribly raw with serious damage and soreness, it may be ideal to have his vet (or the rescue’s vet) put him on a course of steroids to stop the itch +/- antibiotics if infection is suspected. In cases like this, we often will give long acting steroids via injection to these kitties to just break the itchiness cycle and allow the skin to settle and heal. So, if it is very severe, then this would be the prudent course of action.

Otherwise, if the lesion isn’t very severe, then you can try to settle this at home. To start, we’d want to cleanse the raw areas with salt water (1tbsp salt in a pint warm water) a few times daily, dry them, and then apply the an OTC topical hydrocortisone cream. If bacterial infection is suspected, then a combination antibiotic cream (or you can alternative between the 2 cream types) may be a better option.

As well, if you think this could have been triggered by an allergy based issue, you can consider trying him with a course of antihistamines. These can help settle allergic skin reactions and decrease general itchiness and may just be enough to help give him some relief and let this skin heal. In regards XXXXX XXXXX we use in kitties, you can consider putting him on a course of Piriton (1mg or 0.25 of a standard 4mg tablet) up to twice daily. We like to keep the dose low in kitties, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your kitty has any pre-existing conditions or are on any other medication without speaking to your vet.

Furthermore, you do want to limit Ambrose’s ability to directly traumatize the skin (since this leads to risk of secondary infection which will just make them even more itchy). Therefore, depending on just where on the neck the lesions are you can consider fitting an e-collar to protect the area (this should be fine if its right under the ear). Alternatively, if the lesions are too low for an e-collar (or it might rub them and irritate them further) you can potentially put a baby t-shirt (with an elasticated waist) on him to protect him scratching the area. And if they are just in too awkward a locale for either of these options, then you can consider a light gauze wrap around the neck to keep them covered while letting them breathe and dry out (since thick bandages will trap in moisture and let them fester). As well, do make sure his nails are kept short (to limit damage), consider baby socks (worth a try but a lot of kitties don't like it) or apply Soft Paws (example) to limit the self- trauma.

Overall, it sounds like Ambrose's skin is just not settling because he keeps traumatizing the area. Therefore, at this stage, you want to focus on addressing the itch, protecting the skin, and keeping the wounds clean and dry to settle this for him. So, do try the above and hopefully once the itch is settled, he will let his skin rest and heal.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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