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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 18170
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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mites behind her ears and round her neck

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mites behind her ears and round her neck
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that Samson has "mites" behind his ears and around his neck.
I suspect that your fellow picked up ticks. Here is a link to see some pictures of ticks:
If that is the case I highly recommend that you use Frontline Plus consistently to prevent tick infestation.
For now I would try to remove as many of these ticks as possible, making sure to remove them as close to the skin where their mouth parts are attached as possible. If part of the tick is left attached that can create an inflammatory response. You can use tweezers or specialized tools you can purchase at the pet store.
See these links for pictures of one product:
Once the ticks are removed clean the attachment areas well with warm water and antibacterial hand-soap, pat the areas dry, and dab on a little antibacterial ointment like Polysporin.
Best of luck with Samson, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


These are not ticks.

I think they are lice.

They are on the skin and the base af the hairs.

They look like tiny scale insects.

Thank you for the further information.
Lice infestations in cats are pretty rare, and when we see it we worry that there is another underlying, systemic disease process that is allowing them to invade (organ failure, feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency disease).
Here is a link to a picture of lice:
The good news is that if that is what she has then treating her with Frontline Plus every 3 weeks and treating the environment with products used to kill fleas should kill lice and their emerging larvae. Lice are species specific too, meaning cat lice only live and breed on cats. Your other pets or you may get them on them or you, but they cannot survive.
I would use Siphotrol Plus II Premise Spray or Siphotrol Plus Area Treatment in your home and wash all bedding/soft toys in steaming hot water. Repeat home treatment in 2 weeks.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes these are lice that he has.

I wondered if it was anything he picks up at harvest time since we live in a farming area.

So are you telling me to just carry on with the Frontline Plus as I was doing?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes these are lice that he has.

I wondered if it was anything he picks up at harvest time since we live in a farming area.

So are you telling me to just carry on with the Frontline Plus as I was doing?

I'm sorry that I wrote she instead of he, of course Samson is a fellow, my apologies.
I would recommend continuing to apply Frontline Plus, but I would use it every 3 weeks rather than monthly as efficacy does wane a bit after 3 weeks.
I would also use a home area treatment, either Siphotrol Plus II Premise Spray or Siphotrol Plus Area Treatment, and wash all bedding/soft toys in steaming hot water. Repeat home treatment in 2 weeks.
I think the trouble may be the lice are laying eggs and as they mature if there's nothing in the environment to kill them they are hopping on and thus the problem continues. If you don't treat the environment too, then they will be very difficult to get rid of.
I suspect that the reason they are more prominent at harvest time is that they have had all summer to proliferate and their population is at the highest point in early fall so they are easier to pick up.
Also as evenings/days get cooler cats tend to use cozy hiding spots more and he may be picking them up from what outdoor cats leave behind.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you,

I have done further research and frontline still seems to be the best solution. I think he must pick them up outdoors as I have three other cats which are not affected. He must be putting his head in somewhere which is contaminating him. He has fallen out with me today, as although he enjoys grooming, he does not enjoy Frontline!!

I'm sorry to hear that he is unhappy with his Frontline application, most kitties don't appreciate our help in these circumstances. I agree that he has found some spot outside that must have loads of these critters in the environment. Let's hope he doesn't share his special hiding spot with his housemates!
Dr. Kara and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


As I mentioned Samson is always unhappy at being Frontlined for a few days he is under the weather. This time he is salivating and grooming himself excessively, he is wet all over. I have combed him once or twice a day to remove the lice, also the odd flea newcomers, but he will only put up with short sessions. I am making progress but i am not happy about Frontlining him too frequently.

I'm sorry to hear that he is especially sensitive to Frontline, and I can see why more frequent applications would be unappealing. Frontline does cause some nausea when ingested, it tastes horrible, so we do see drooling when they are grooming a lot.
Sometimes they can tolerate another product better, so other options are Revolution (which contains Selamectin) or Advantage Multi (imidacloprid and moxidectin) for cats or a newer flea collar called Seresto that also prevents tick infestations. I don't normally recommend flea and tick collars but Seresto seems to work very well and though pricey it lasts for 6 to 8 months, working continually so you don't get the up and then waning levels of protection like you see with topical drops.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have looked at these other products, but they only seem to deal with fleas and ticks. Daily grooming deals with these. It is the biting lice that are the problem.

They don't have lice listed on their product guides because they would have to do expensive testing to have that claim on their literature, and lice aren't common enough that it would make it worth their while to spend money on testing and have that claim on their label. But the CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council), which is the best source of information for parasite control, lists both imidacloprid and selamectin as well as fipronil as effective control measures.
Here's the link to the site:
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been having a very stressful time with Samson.

Thank you for the link that you gave me.

I switched him to a product containing imidacloprid as you suggested.

The odd “flea newcomers” that I previously mentioned, turned out to be infestations deep in his fur, on his skin.

Impossible to comb out and driving him spinning madly, salivating and grooming himself excessively, again he is wet all over.

I searched the web for information on “cat flea infestation”.

It seems that this same problem is very common this year and Frontline seems ineffective in controlling it.

Other people have also changed to Advantage.

In desperation I managed to arrange a visit to my Vet.

She has seen this problem many times recently.

She gave him immediately one Capstar tablet to kill off the livestock and a Colvasone injection to relieve the irritation.

We will then start him on a course of Activyl spot on.

She also suggested that come Springtime it would be beneficial to start him on Program injections.

At last he seems to be having a calm day today.
I an glad to hear that poor Samson is finally having a calm day, it sounds like your poor fellow has been quite miserable. I suspect that the Colvasone injection was very instrumental in giving him some relief as steroids are very helpful in stopping allergic reactions.
Capstar is a wonderful quick kill product, unfortunately the effects only last for 24 hours.
I have heard that Frontline is losing efficacy on some flea populations in the southeast portion of the United States. Given his extreme flea bite allergy I would recommend that he stay on a topical adulticide to avoid any flea bites. Activyl is a relatively new product, thus there shouldn't be much if any resistance to it yet and may be best for him.
Program injections are good for keeping the numbers of fleas down, as it works by making the eggs of any fleas that bite him sterile eggs. But Program does not affect adult fleas, and they need to bite him and feed for it to work, thus he will still have allergic reactions to the adult fleas that bite him. So Program injections must be used along an adulticide, such as Activyl, in very allergic kittties.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Yes, my own Vet did explain that Program does not affect adult fleas, it is more of a preventative action. I cannot start him on Activyl for two more weeks because I had given him both the Frontline and the Advantage recently. He has never had a reaction like this before, let us hope it is a "one off". I will start him, and have started the other three, on the Activyl and review thoughts on Program in the Spring. How frequently can Capstar be used if is only active for 24 hours?

I am glad that your veterinarian explained how Program works, some people think that it kills adult fleas too and I wanted to make sure that you were aware that it doesn't.
I understand that he's had other topicals recently so we need to wait to apply Activyl.
Capstar can be given daily if necessary in cases with very heavy infestations where we want quick knock down, but I probably wouldn't use it for more than 2 to 3 days in a row and then take a break.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for your concern re Program, and advice on Capstar.

I have treated the other three with Capstar.

Because Samson needed an additional dosage of Capstar ( his infestation was mega ) before starting him on Activyl, I dosed the other three cats with Capstar also. I crushed the tablet and incorporated it in a tiny piece of their favourite food before feeding them, --- worked a treat!

I will start Samson on Activyl next week.

As I groom them daily, I hope I now have the situation under control.

I am amazed that this "magic" pill, Capstar, is not widely known about.

I do thank you for your help and support in this distressing matter, the like of which I have never come across in my (75+) lifetime of cats.

Fleas can be horrible especially for an allergic patient, and they are so hardy that they can be a bear to get rid of once they've settled in.
Capstar is a wonder, but I suspect it isn't widely used or known about because if its short duration of action. Most people are looking for longer duration products. I like it a lot for stray kitty situations or when we need a fast knock down.
Best of luck with your kitties, hopefully this is the end of your troubles.