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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16204
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat is pulling out the hair on s back, licking it and has

Customer Question

My cat is pulling out the hair on his back, licking it and has pulled out two bare spots. He seems fine otherwise. This has happened once before, but cleared up. Only happens in the winter.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

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

How long has he had these signs?

Are you seeing any changes to the skin (ie pimples, pustules, scabs, sores, ulcers, redness, dander, or crusting)?

When did you last treat for fleas? What did you use?

Any diet change in the 4-6 weeks before this started?

Does he tend to spend more time indoors in the winter? Have you just turned on the heat prior to this starting?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Only bare spots. He has had them for a few weeks. No changes to skin as you describe. No fleas and no diet change, He is a in and out cat...yes he does spend more time inside in the winter.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you,

Based on his signs, our main concern here would be a seasonal allergic dermatitis. Since it is occurring at a time of year where pollens are less likely and since we can rule out a food allergy; we’d be most wary of a possible flea allergy dermatitis (as the areas he is targeting are characteristic of this and it just takes one flea bite while outside to cause weeks of these signs) or a possible home based allergen. In regards ***** ***** latter, then can be obvious things like laundry soap, carpet powders, or dust from heaters being started. Though we can also see more subtle allergens like dust or storage mites.

In this case, we have a few options. To start, if you haven't treated for fleas in the past month it would be prudent to do so now. It would be an economic way to ensure this is not causing his signs and help clear this if he does have a flea saliva allergy. Ideally we’d want to use a good quality spot on but if you are afraid of him licking these off, there are oral options that can be just as effective and remove that risk here.

Next, since it is a winter based allergy, we’d want take a good look at your home and what he may be coming in contact with (directly and in the air). Any powders, sprays, candles, insence, and similar items should be removed to see if you can settle him. If he responds, then we can introduce one at a time. But if he does react to any, then we have our culprot and it needs to be avoided.

Finally, to combat the allergic reaction itself we can trial him on 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. Alternatively, you can also use Cetirizine (just 5mg for a cat) once daily. For either, we like to keep the dose low, since it can cause drowsiness (just like people). And of course, these shouldn't be used if your wee one has any known health issues or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first. This can help reduce these signs for most cats, but just to note if he is severely affected then we’d want to talk to his vet about a long acting steroid injection to halt this allergic reaction for him as you pinpoint the trigger and remove it from the house.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. *Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need, as this is the only way I receive credit for helping you today. Thank you! : )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

**Please remember to rate my answer as this is the only way I am credited for assisting you today. IF you have any lingering questions or concerns, please stop and reply to me via the button with the issue you have. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Thank you. :)

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