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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22450
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Dear Sirs, My Ragdoll cat (10 years old - 3-4kg weight)

Customer Question

Dear Sirs,
My Ragdoll cat (10 years old - 3-4kg weight) has extreme grooming problem, she had a bad fleas attack end of last year. Although there is no sign of fleas anymore for last few months, she now seems to over-groom herself (constant licking), which causing bald patches on her back legs, belly, bum (and of her tail) and now on the left side. She is on a monthly flea drops now but she is getting worst by now she start pulling her body hair. We tried some wet/dry food prescribed by a vet for itchiness and allergy reaction, but that did not really help, plus she did not want to eat it anyway.
I tried herbal medicine, like natural soothing ointment and some sulphur drops, which seemed to sort out the belly and leg baldness, but seems that she started again and bald patches appeared in other places.
The skin on the said bald spots is not red or inflamed, apart from one or two small scabs on her back paw, which now seems to be going away slowly.
I was thinking of getting aloe Vera ointment for cat and a soft collar, which she could wear all the time. We also found an ointment for cats for itchiness with added bitter taste, which allegedly would stop her from licking it off. When she is wearing a collar she seems to be very quiet and only sit in the corner, so I am worried that if she will have to wear it all the time she want ever have an appetite, which would not be great, since she is on the 'skinny side anyway'
We also have an organic shampoo and conditioner for cats, which in theory should help, but it a massive drama every time I am trying to wash her.
Could you please advise what should I do and/or use, as I am get in getting worried now, and slowly running out of ideas.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you.
Kind regards,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

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

I agree with you that Paris's signs are suggestive of an ongoing diffuse allergic skin issue. This is because you are seeing her overgroom (which is characteristic of skin irritation as opposed to stress overgrooming) and because she is targeting those easy to reach places instead of specific sites where an itch focus (like a flea bite).

Now with the presence of a diffuse allergy, I do have to warn you that spot treating with topical creams doesn't tend to be helpful. This is because once you reduce the irritation in the current problem site, their diffuse itchiness drives them to lick/overgroom somewhere else. Therefore, in cases like this when we have not diagnosed the actual allergen (which can be done via blood test or intradermal skin testing), we need to consider systemic/oral treatment. This is because systemic treatment will treat the whole body and all of her skin at the same time to reduce her overall irritation and break the itch cycle.

In regards ***** ***** over the counter options you can consider for Paris, I would note that we often use antihistamines. Specifically, you can use Piriton (chlorphenamine) at a dose of 2-4 milligrams up to every 8 hours. Do note that we would start with the low dose when using this, as it can cause drowsiness. Otherwise, if she isn't keen on tablet taking, you could also consider a trial on Cetirizine (which she can have 5mg once daily). Both are available OTC, though you do of course want to double check with her vet if she has any ongoing health issues or is on any medication you have not mentioned.

Finally, if you found that her allergic skin issues are quite severe, then allergy testing could really be of benefit for her. This could allow you to pinpoint the root of her signs and target treatment against them for her. Otherwise, you could speak to her vet about immune modulating medications like long acting steroid injections or Atopica as options to settle her allergy and allow her to stop being constantly irritated and thus overgrooming.

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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