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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18901
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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my cat keeps washing excessive also scratching a little and

Resolved Question:

my cat keeps washing excessive also scratching a little and now has a bald stomach and legs , I have brought her to a vet twice already and they gave her a steroid shot both times with in a two month period. the shot seems to help for a short time but then she is back at it again.
I also have another cat washing and scratching but the this one has not removed the fur down to the skin. botrh cats have no fleas found on them. any suggestions ?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the question.

This is actually a very easy question for me to answer as I have seen a great many cats like this in my consulting room over the years. This pattern of hair loss which you describe usually relates to allergic skin disease of the cat. Unfortunately there is little you can do here on a home treatment basis so my advice has to be that you should continue to work with your vet as prescription drugs could well be the best way to have your cat feeling more comfortable more quickly.

There are a number of possibilities as to the allergen [ the cause of the allergy ]

1. It can be related to flea bites, the flea injects a small protein in to your cat's saliva when it feeds. If your cat has a predisposition then only one or two flea bites will set it off. Often the numbers of fleas involved are so low that the owner is not aware of them.

2. It can be related to other small proteins which get into the cat's blood stream via inhalation. Pollen and house dust are often implicated here.

3. Your cat could be allergic to something in her diet.

I am sure the above information is more or less accurate and thats all very well and good but what can you do about it? Well often it is difficult to work out precisely which allergen is causing the problem so these cats often get put on anti-allergy medication by your vet and this is satisfactory and works well but may not be a permanent cure and may have to be repeated a couple of times a year. This will make your cat much more comfortable though ...

Another approach might be to trial a commercial hypo-allergenic diet, I have know this work well but it can take around six weeks to exert its effects and in that time you can only give the diet and water.

It is possible to carry out allergy testing and I have done this a few times but the results can be unreliable. Of course you should be meticulous about flea control both on your cat and the house as flea bites, even only a very few are often related to this condition as a trigger factor.

If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the vet also told me that the cat can be given a small amount of a benadryl tablet , but i don't have much luck giving it to her, it usually ends up on the floor. what are your thoughts on this idea ?

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

It is possible to give Benadryl to cats it is not toxic to them and as it is an antihistamine it could be used for allergies. The problems you face are two fold :

A. Cats hate the taste of Benadryl so you are always going to have a struggle.

B. It is not the strongest anti-allergy drug in the world so it may not be effective for all cases of skin allergy.

Here is a link to an accurate article on the use of Benadryl in dogs and cats, you will find information such as dose rates here. : LINK


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