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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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Can a cat have a psoriasis-like condition

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Can a cat have a psoriasis-like condition? One of out outdoor cats is continuously licking himself along his spine an to the tail, and also alone one side. You can pet him on the head, but stroke/scratch him along his spine, and he will attack.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Hi there,

I would like to try to help you and your cat with this problem. I need a bit more information in order to better be able to understand what may be going on with him.

For how long has he had this problem?

Has he licked the hair away in these areas?

Do you use flea control on him - and if yes, what is the product?

In the areas that are affected, is the skin smooth and soft or bumpy, and scaley?

Fiona

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Dr.Fiona's Post: >>For how long has he had this problem?

This dramatically, about a month. He has never liked "over-attention." He'll sit in my lap outdoors, but has never liked over-petting.

He was so wet on his side yesterday I thought he was wounded somehow...

Skin does not appear red. If anything, just grey.

>>...Has he licked the hair away in these areas?

No - just wet enough sometimes to "mat."

>>...Do you use flea control on him - and if yes, what is the product?

No flea problems...no flea control.

>>...In the areas that are affected, is the skin smooth and soft or bumpy, and scaley?

I just looked as well as I could at his spine in front of his tail. Not scaley, not bumpy. Just whitish-grey.

Clint Bradford
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Hi Clint,

Where do you live - state/province and country?

And could you tell me exactly where on his body he is licking? You mentioned his side. Is that on his chest area, or on his back leg, or over his belly?

If you scratch with your nails in the fur on his back near his tail (without getting bitten as I know you said he doesn't like that!) can you feel any little scabs?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Southern California - Riverside.

Licking on top of spine by tail. And yesterday licking left hind quarter side.

No scabs. No redness. He's dark-haired, and skin looks whitish-grey. But nothing bad obvious to me.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

THanks Clint! I know exactly where you are, and have even visited there when my husband gave a talk at UCRiverside!

I am working on your answer and will be back shortly...

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Hi again Clint,

In answer to the original question, cats don't get psoriasis, per se. They do, however, get a number of itchy skin problems that are similar to psoriasis in that there is an immune-mediated or allergic component to them.

Now, with your kitty I am trying to determine if that is what is going on with him, or if it is something else. He's a bit of a puzzle since he is licking enough to wet the fur but not actually pulling it out...

Do you ever notice the skin "ripple" or twitch? Do you ever see your cat doing something like what these cats are doing (really look at the fur over the hindquarters)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_C-wdN1Dms&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7lRx07VKBI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i0APMfyZfo

And can you tell me if there has been anything unusually stressful in your cat's world in the last 2 months or so?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.
I have to go into a couple of appointments now, but will be back in about 2 hours to continue our conversation. Sorry for this delay! I had really hoped to get to the bottom of this before I had to leave but your cat's condition is a bit more complicated than I expected! Fiona
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Dr.Fiona's Post: That first video looks like our cat - if he were younger and weighed less (grin).

Incessant, but not frenzied, licking of that area!

Now, then, is there a cat food additive I can get to help him? He would really fight a trip to the vet (although we do have excellent facilities nearby).

THANK YOU. We'll be gone a few hours, too.

Clint Bradford
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Clint,

A-HA! Well, this is all starting to make sense then!

The incessant licking of that area is very suggestive of something called feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS).

With FHS any breed can be affected but Siamese, Burmese, Himalayans, and Abyssinians are the most common. It often starts when the cat is between 1 and 4 years of age.

Before your cat can be diagnosed as definitely having FHS, your veterinarian would need to rule out a few other possible causes for this behaviour. These would be fleas, seizures, allergies and bladder inflammation (some cats behave like this when the bladder area is uncomfortable). .

There is no specific test for FHS. Instead, it is a "diagnosis of exclusion" which means that we have to rule out other problems first. It is sometimes triggered by a stressful event (a move, a new pet, a new roommate). If you look back to when this FIRST started, was there a stressful event? A visit to the vet for some illness, a move? And more recently I would wonder if your cat may have experienced unusual stress? A move? Renovations?

Treatment can be difficult, and varies from behavioural management (tapping him on the hind end when an episode starts to distract him) to medications. Some people have had success with acupuncture.

Treatment also involves trying to minimize the stress in your cat's life. One of the things that I would strongly recommend is a Feliway Diffuser system. This is a plug-in device that sprays a cat pheromone into the air, helping to calm the cat without drugs. Here's a link to more information:

http://www.catfaeries.com/feliway.html

I find the plug-in diffuser to be the most helpful since it works even when you are not there, which is when your cat is most likely to feel stressed.

If this does not work, your veterinarian could prescribe a number of different like drugs for cats. As with humans, sometimes it takes a while to find the best medication for relieving your cat's stress, and you might have to try 2 or 3 different drugs before finding what works for your cat. Usually, medications are only used when the problem is severe.

For more information, here are links:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1998

http://www.purelypets.com/articles/felinehyperesthesia.htm

http://www.petplace.com/cats/feline-hyperesthesia/page1.aspx

So, in terms of what you can do for your boy, one very easy thing would be to treat him with Advantage in case he has a couple of fleas driving him crazy. I admit that is not likely since you haven't seen any evidence, but it is so easy to treat him for that it's worth doing so we can at least cross that off the list of possible problems.

Also, try distracting him when an episode starts by tapping him on the back end, or squirting him with a spray bottle. This may stop him in his tracks!

Also, you could take a video of him having an episode. As you can see from the links I gave you, videos are worth even more than one thousand words! They really are helpful to diagnose FHS.

Lastly, a source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help to decrease inflammation and dermatitis. I would suggest that you consider a dietary source of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids) daily added to the food.

Your vet would be able to provide these for you - some brands are DermCaps and EFA-Z. Here is more about them:

http://www.vetamerica.com/index.asp?PageAction=PRODSEARCH&txtSearch=Efa+Z+Plus+Liquid

http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/derm-caps/page1.aspx

Good luck with your boy! If this has been helpful, please Accept my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!

Fiona

Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: 16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That's a lot of time and effort and reference material for us - many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX!

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