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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33761
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I am just wondering if you could offer some advice please

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Good morning,
I am just wondering if you could offer some advice please for my 14 year old cat. Over the last few weeks I have noticed that she keeps trying to attack her tail, she will watch it move and then try and catch it but it seems to be annoying her. Also on her back, around an inch before her tail, if I touch it, she starts trying to lick or nibble the air, it seems as though it is extremely sensitive now and when I am grooming her, as soon as I brush over that area she tries to bite the air, its extremely odd.I don't really want to bring her to the vets as its quite traumatic for her, but shall do if this could be serious.Many thanks
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She has always pulled a face like she is in a trance in the past when I have tickled the top of her tail but now I only have to put my finger on that area and she starts pulling the face and trying to lick or nibble the first thing she can. I don't think she is in any pain, still wants cuddles and attention and is eating and drinking normally.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Louise, Molly is hyperesthetic which you can read about here:

She doesn't sound as if she's as severely affected as you'll read can occur, however. Because you've noted hyperesthesia in that saddle area a flea saliva allergy should be an important consideration. Whenever the area between the edge of a cat's rib cage to the tail is involved, a flea saliva allergy is most likely. Even if you can't find any fleas, it's best that you apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage/Advocate or a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or one of the newer flea spot-ons available from Molly's vet. In severe cases we can either inject or orally administer a prescription antihistaminic glucocorticoid (steroid) such as prednisolone which often works wonders in these cats. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) aren't reliably effective against allergic skin disease but you might see how a dose of 2mg of an over the counter chlorpheniramine once or twice daily affects Molly. Please note that cats can be such effective groomers as to remove all evidence of fleas. It's important to still use the flea products.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello thank you for replying, this does make sense to me, although I do treat Molly for fleas and she is actually due her flea treatment this Saturday. As I do not know her collect weight, I could not use the Advantage but Pets at Home gave me Frontline, is this at all effective? I use a flea comb regularly and have not noticed any fleas but I do see little bits of black dirt that is actually dried blood.Is there anything stronger or a better make as perhaps Frontline is not that effective with Molly. She is totally well in herself but I really don't want her to feel irritated by this. I am also going to purchase another Feliway as this totally calmed her down when I moved last March to our new property.Many thanks

Many flea populations have become resistant to the fipronil in Frontline. If you're seeing flea feces (which consist mostly of blood), a flea saliva allergy makes the most sense. Molly's vet can prescribe one of the newer flea products to which fleas haven't become resistant - Bravecto (fluralaner), Cheristen (spinetoram), Comfortis (spinosad), Vectra (dinotefuran and pyriproxyfen) or the Seresto collar (imidacloprid and flumethrin)

You're quite welcome. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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