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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22616
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 red sore looking lumps on her belly and down her

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My cat has red sore looking lumps on her belly and down her back legs. She is regularly wormed and deflea'd.

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

First, I would note that you do not want to use tea tree oil (even diluted) on Hasar's skin. Cats will lick topical treatments off and ingestion of tea tree by cats can lead to adverse GI signs (vomiting, appetite loss, etc), neurological signs (wobbling, tremors, seizures), and can damage the liver. So, while it is safe for people, not so for cats.

Now are you seeing Hasar actively overgrooming or scratching this area?

You noted that she is regularly flea'd but can you tell me how long ago she was last treated? What brand?

Any change to her diet in the 4-6 weeks before this started?

Any change to her environment (ie new house, new people, new pets, neighborhood cats, new furniture, changes to routine, etc)?

If possible, could you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, I am happy to have a look (since it will let me see what you are seeing). To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar (How To). Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, etc) and paste the web address here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She was wormed on 16 August and deflea'd this Saturday. I use advantage products as I've discovered others don't work. I have two other cats who are fine. The only disruption going on is decorating my sons bedroom. The neighbours have a boxer dog and have recently got a staff pup. There is no change to her diet and her appetite is normal. She is her usual friendly self. She is licking the area a lot.

Thank you Tracy,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate overgrooming to the point of causing these sores can be due to a range of issues. When we consider these triggers, we tend to be able to divide them into two categories: allergy/irritative causes for overgrooming and stress/anxiety reasons for overgrooming. Now if you are seeing her excessively groom (like she must because something is bothering her) this suggests that our stress concerns are less likely here (since those cats tend to groom when their owners aren't looking). Therefore our top concern for Hasar will be potential allergies or topical irritants playing a role here. Allergies can literally be from anything she is in contact with. This includes allergens like food proteins, pollens, flea saliva, laundry powders, and dust mites. Again we can see them react to literally anything, so we do need to be aware of this.

Furthermore, if we are seeing sores, we do have to be aware that we can also see these lesions start for one reason but end up continuing to be itchy due to secondary bacterial infection (pyoderma). So, this too will be a consideration here.

Now with all of this in mind, we can start to narrow down the potential causes. If she has had no diet change in the past 4-6 weeks and no tid bits that she could be allergic too, then food based allergies would be less likely. Furthermore, I am glad to see that she has been recently flea'd with Advantage (as there are certainly some issues with other products like Frontline and flea resistance) and I would be a wee bit less worried about fleas since the distribution of her sores isn't quite characteristic of fleas bites (since they tend to target the back and tail base).

Therefore, this would leave environmental allergies as a concern here for your lass. These can be caused by particular pollens and therefore be seasonal. Other cats can show skin reactions of the nature to indoor allergens like dust mites. Often when we have environmental allergies these cats are diffusely itchy and will groom easy to reach areas (ie tail, belly, flank, etc).

In regards ***** ***** her situation, I am again glad that you have treated for fleas since they are so common and best ruled out on our list of concerns. Further to this, the next step would be to trial her with an anti-histamine. Anti-histamines can settle allergic skin reactions in early stages or mild cases since the skin irritation is an allergic response. Typically in these cases, we will use Piriton for these wee ones (ie 1-2mg or 1/4 – 1/2 tablet of a 4mg Piriton tablet up to twice daily). Do note that while anti-histamines will break that itchiness cycle and give her skin the chance it needs to settle, it can make kitties drowsy. Therefore, we always keep the dose low and if she were to be drowsy on this, then we'd reduce the dose to once daily for her. 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. That all said, if you treat her with this and she doesn't settle or her irritation is very severe, then she may require a short course of a steroids to allay the allergic skin response and associated itchiness.

Furthermore, since bacterial pyoderma will be a concern here, we would want to address this too. If there are just a few spots, then you can salt water bathe these for her. If there are many, then we may need her vet to put her on a course of oral antibiotics. Further to this, you may also want to consider putting a buster collar on her (from the vet or pet store) to protect skin from her grooming while you are using the antihistamine. If you do this and she cannot lick the areas, you can try putting a thin coating of OTC hydrocortisone cream on the lumps to soothe them further for her. But of course, we'd only want to use this if we can ensure she won't just lick it off.

Overall, her signs suggest a diffuse irritation of her skin as opposed to a stress based overgrooming. Therefore, your approach here needs to be to settle the irritation for her. So, we would want to consider using antihistamines at this stage. And if the lesions are few, then topical salt water bathing +/- hydrocortisone cream can help settle this. Of course if she is terribly itchy, the lesions are profuse, or these are not enough; then we'd want to follow up with her vet for a short course of antibiotics and low dose steroid to halt the itch and clear any infection involved here.

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.


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