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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 25074
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I've just sent you info about Simba. I'm having trouble

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Hi Pearl, I've just sent you info about Simba. I'm having trouble proceeding with payment via my phone. I'm now on my laptop which should work better.
JA: What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: A cat
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the cat?
Customer: His name is*****'s suddenly developed a hairless patch which is making him restless.
JA: Where does Simba seem to hurt?
Customer: On the hairless patch which he keeps scratching.
JA: Can you see anything that looks wrong or different?
Customer: Yes, there is a hairless patch near his back on his left, which wasn't there earlier.
JA: How old is Simba?
Customer: nearly 15 months
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Simba?
Customer: No

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara, with over 20yrs of veterinary experience. Please give me time to review & type a full response. I can't take phone calls.

Does your fellow go outside?

Do you have other cats, if so how are they?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
No. Simba is too young to go out. There are no other cats here.

The most common reason for an itchy spot and secondary fur loss is flea allergy dermatitis given the location of his lesion and the time of year his symptoms started. Fleas are at their highest numbers in areas with distinct seasons. Flea allergy dermatitis is horrible. If you don't see any fleas you might not have a huge population. And in allergic cats there doesn't need to be many, it only takes one bite a month for an allergic cat to itch like crazy. Even if he doesn't go out fleas can make their way in via screened windows and doors. Ideally I recommend topical flea products be applied every 3 weeks during the spring/summer/fall months in an allergic cat when fleas are at their peak, or with an active problem and then monthly as a prevention. Many over the counter products have a problem with fleas being resistant and some can be down right dangerous. I never recommend any products that Hartz or Sargent's make. I recommend Advantage II or Frontline Plus, or the new Seresto Flea collar. I don't normally recommend flea collars, but this one really works and lasts for at least 6-8 months.

Inhaled allergies (to pollens, dust mites or mold spores) are another possibility.

To control allergic symptoms you can try a combination of antihistamines and an omega 3 fatty acids. Ideally they should be started about a week before his symptoms usually start, as they work much better when they can stop the allergic pathway before it starts rather than trying to regulate an already ramped up allergy.

Options for antihistamines include:

1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at a dose of 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 hours. That's a half of 25mg tablet every 8 hours for a cat that is 8 to 15 pounds. Benadryl is very bitter and some cats will drool excessively or may even vomit because of that. That doesn't mean it is making him ill, he just hates the taste. If that's the case with him try a different antihistamine.

OR

2) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg twice daily.

OR

3) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.

Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines work to relieve his itchiness. I like Welactin as the company that makes it is highly reputable, producing high quality products. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 160mg of EPA per day. Antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically, better together than either one alone. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use.

Food allergy is another reason for excess grooming, but should not have a seasonal pattern, so watch for that.

If he won't leave the spot alone you may need to place an elizabethan (cone of shame) collar on him to give the medications time to work and reduce the itch.

If there are other cats that he doesn't get along with outdoors that upset him, and he has more awareness of them with doors and windows being open, perhaps some of this is stress related. If so a product called Feliway, which is a synthetic version of a calming feline pheromone, may help. You can purchase this from petstores or online.

If he went outside other parasites like Cheyletiella or sarcoptic mange that need close contact to pass would be possible causes as well, although since he doesn't go out those are less likely.

For now I would start with flea control, an antihistamine and omega 3 fatty acids. If he's not significantly better in 2 weeks then it's time for a veterinary examination to look further for problems. If he has a secondary skin infection from excessive grooming that too is itchy and will need prescription antibiotics to help get under control.

It has been my pleasure to help you today, and I hope that I have earned my 5 star rating. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen (rating me now does not close your question). You are welcome to ask follow up questions about my response here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

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