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Ask Dr. Loretta Your Own Question
Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28345
Experience:  25 years of experience in large and small animal medicine.
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My 17yr old cat has started to develop a scabby back, which

is getting worse, it doesn't... Show More
is getting worse, it doesn't seem to bother her, as in she doesn't try to scratch it or groom it. I've checked her for fleas etc and she doesn't have any or evidence of any. I know that she has 'small kidneys' and is now drinking quite a lot of water, she eats very well if fussy - she looks very well if slim but then she has always been a small, slim cat. We moved to the house we live in about 3 months ago and I suppose the scabs have appeared since then. The previous owners had a dog but no cat and there is no evidence of fleas etc in the house - I would know because fleas love me too and I have no flea bites or similar. She hates travelling in the cat basket to the vets, she finds it all very distressing and at 17 I don't want to stress her if I don't need to. Any advice would be greatly received.
Thank you,
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
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replied 4 years ago.

Good Morning Penny and welcome to Just answer. I am Dr. Loretta, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your question.

This scabby back is a common occurnace in older cats. It is caused by over active Sebaceous Glands which are oil glands within the hair follicles. There is no way to stop this production of the oils but it can be managed.

This is similar to a condition calledStud tail in male cats. LINK

Bath Charlie cat weekly with a good shampoo or a waterless shampoo if he does not like being bathed. then brush him daily to keep the scabs at a minimum. This can usually manage this condition.

Does that make sense to you?

Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please Reply so I can clarify for you

Sincerely, Dr. Loretta

Customer reply replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your prompt reply, It is greatly appreciated.


I will buy some dry shampoo for her tomorrow and will begin the grooming regime too.


Hopefully i will begin to see an improvement - I appreciate this may be a life long regime but can you give me an idea, should there be no improvement, of how long I should wait before I consider taking her to the vet? If I did take her to the vet is there anything other than the treatment you have recommended that they could do if this doesn't work?


Thank you,




Dr. Loretta, Veterinarian replied 4 years ago.
Hi Penny...certainly, if there is no improvement in Charlie Cat's condition, take him to your vet since there may be other issues that is causing this. If there is improvement, Penny, then this is this condition and there is nothing else aside from extra Omega 3 fatty acids that your vet can do.

I hope that makes sense...