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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16158
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have a 14 year old female cat who will not stop pulling

Customer Question

I have a 14 year old female cat who will not stop pulling out her fur. I believed that she was allergic to fleas but I'm not too sure. She has bald spots by her tail and on her right side. She also has a continuous runny nose. She does not appear to be in any type of distress but just looks terrible. I have used Frontline and other like products but the problem seems to be getting worse. Are there any inexpensive products that I can buy that will be able to help her?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Are you actually seeing fleas on her or just her fur pulling at this stage?
How long has she had a runny nose?
What color is Mitten's nasal discharge?
From both nostrils or one?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Seeing flea eggs but no fleas and lots of hair pulling. She's had a running nose for quite a while. It is clear in discharge from mainly both nostrils sometimes just the right side.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
First, I have to note that it is not likely that you are seeing flea eggs, as these tend to be microscopic. Instead, I'd be more suspicious that you are just seeing dander or crusting from a lapse in her skin quality.
Furthermore, if you are seeing her pulling hair but no fleas, what you are seeing isn't a failure of the treatments but instead a secondary allergic reaction to the flea's saliva (which they inoculate into the skin when they bite). Therefore, to aid her with this, we do want to keep up on monthly treatment but also consider treating with an antihistamine. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/diphenhydramine-benadryl). A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce that allergic irritation. We like to keep the dose low, since it can cause drowsiness (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your wee one has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first. And just to note, if her runny nose is related to allergies, this will help as well.
Otherwise, just in case you are seeing dander, I would note that you can also consider some essential fatty acid (EFA) supplementation. EFA’s are the fats that are part of skin cells composition and play a role in their health and coat health. A general recommendation for dietary supplementation with essential fatty acids is based on supplying 1.5-2.5 ml fish oil for a 4kg cat. Alternatively, you can offer a small volume of fresh salmon weekly. If she doesn't like fish, then you can speak to your vet about alternative EFA therapies (ie Viacutin, Yumega, etc). All will help support her skin/coat and should address these changes you have seen.
Finally, since you noted that she has had chronic clear nasal discharge, besides allergies we'd also have to be wary of a chronic herpes infection. If you did want to try and rule this out, you could
consider starting her on L-lysine. This is a nutritional supplement can help them recover quicker. This is available over the counter at your vets, pet stores, and even online. It comes as a gel, powder, or crushable tablets that can be added to food and is given at a dose of 500mg a day.
Overall, we do have two separate issues to consider for Mittens. So, we can use the above over the counter supports alongside her flea treatments to try and settle her skin irritation and ease her respiratory signs at this stage. Of course, if her skin signs persist, we'd need to consider a check with her vet +/- an anti-inflammatory treatment to soothe her signs for her.
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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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Mittens. How is everything going?
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not too sure. She is still pulling out her hair and appears to still be pretty itchy. I have raised her dose of Benadryl a little bit higher to see if that will help her.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

It will take time for all of the above to help with her skin, but again we'd want to monitor closely while using the Benadryl.

All the best,

Dr. B.