Well, with the location of the bald patch, by far, fleas are still very high on the list!!!!
Generally, the first concern is always for flea allergy hypersensitivity. You may not even see a single flea, and that could be the primary problem. So, any time allergies are addressed, every cat must be on good flea control. No garbage stuff from the petstore, excluding a few products like Frontline for Cats or Advantage. The best is often a choice from the vet office.
For any outdoor cat, dermatophytes are a very common cause. That is, a fungal infection. If there are any lesions on the skin that look like ringworm (circular patchy areas of hair loss that are sometimes inflamed and scabby), your vet will recommend testing.
Also, very common is food allergies and environmental allergies.
Environmental Allergies (Atopy)
Remember, if the skin is already inflamed or there are any hotspots to suggest infection, the pruritus (itchiness) will be worse from the infection. The secondary infection must be treated with the appropriate oral antibiotics and/or anti-yeast medication from the vet. Otherwise, the rest of the information and treatment is worthless.
With food allergies, you must pick a diet that has a new carbohydrate and protein your cat has never seen.
Examples would usually include:
Science Diet D/D formulas (ask your vet)
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic formulas (ask your vet)
Dick van Patton “Natural Balance” (usually at PetCo stores)
You must do an exclusive food trial (no other foods or treats) for at least 2-3 months to know if helpful.
Lastly, the quickest relief from allergies will be a steroid shot or oral steroids from your vet.
Sometimes, antihistamines can help a little bit. You can give Benadryl to a cat (easier said than done). A ¼ tablet of 25mg benadryl for a cat 6-8 pounds, and a ½ tablet if around 12 pounds. Up to every 12 hours.
Possible in-hospital tests your veterinarian may want to perform to help determine what topical and/or oral medication to prescribe include:
Wood’s Lamp Test
Skin Scraping and Direct Impression Smear
Hope that information helps
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I know for sure there are no fleas, i comb them daily with a fine fleacomb designed especially for the purpose and there is no excrement or fleas to speak of. She has had fleas in the past with no reaction.
Also, the food has not been changed for over a year and the symptoms have only just shown.
Understand...but I have to make my determination based on the skin condition described, location of the hair loss, and that they go outdoors.
Doesn't matter if food is unchanged. A pet can be on a food for several years and then develop an allergy to it.
Please note: Dermatology is one of my primary areas of focus, so I do spend a lot of continuing education time on these issues.
Completely understand you see no flea excrement. But, would still advise to make sure doing a good topical like Revolution or Frontline for Cats.
Just in case.
This leaves us with the fungal infection option, which doesn't seem likely as there is no inflammation or scabbiness or lesions that you describe...
there does not have to be ertheyma or scabs. vets get burned on that all the time.
Don't forget environmental allergies as well.
Just remember...the biggest mistake a vet makes or a client....making assumptions!
I see it all the time, and by the time I see the case, lots of random therapies have been tried and the coat is absolutely horrible.
Best not to guess.
Many of your conclusions are very sound, but my goal and to provide a satisfactory answer is to not let you assume, for sure, it is NOT any particular condition.
May i be of any further assistance.
I'm just thinking, sorry. Thank you for your advice so far.
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Your recommended course of action then, would be to use the spot-on stuff, and take her to the vet to be checked out?
or just take her to the vet and let them decide?
Not just any spot-on. Hartz, sargeant's....garbage
ok the ones you recommended.
Revolution from vet, Frontline for Cats, or Advantage would be my choices.
definitely the vet visit.
Not sure what skin tests if any they may say are needed, but start with the exam.
Thank you very much. Not what i was hoping to hear but very sound advice I'm sure, thank you.