How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question

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
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

my cat has a rash on her back along her spine, starting from

Resolved Question:

my cat has a rash on her back along her spine, starting from the base of her tail and extending to the mid back. She is starting to lose hair and the bumps are dark red but seem to be dry
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would be happy to help you and your cat with this question, but I need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did this start?

Is this bald area smooth and soft or does it have bumps and scabs?

Does she go outside?

Fiona
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
i noticed it about a week ago, though it may have started before that. the area is bumpy and scabby and she does not go outside, also, I have another cat and a dog and neither of them have this
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Do the other animals go outside?

Do you use flea treatments on any of them?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The dog goes outside, the cats are indoor cats. Also, I don't know if this has any bearing but all three of them seem to be starving all the time lately, but emma, bumpy cat especially
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Fiona, I have to go to my yoga class...I didn't realize this was goig n to be a discussion. I can follow it on my iphone if you can email me directly XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX or jsut answer any more questionswhen I get back...
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
You go - enjoy!

I will work on your answer while you are gone!
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
If you have not gone yet:

- any flea control?

- where do you live (state/province, and country)?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Hi again,

Hope you are enjoying yoga class! :-)

What you are describing sounds like Miliary Dermatitis.

This is an **allergic** skin condition in which the hair loss is typically in the tail head area, and the back legs. The skin is very itchy and the cat chews, licks, and scratches. Kitty may also "ripple" the skin often. The skin has many small scabs and bumps - supposedly they look like millet seed which is where the name comes from.

Here are some links to further information about this condition:
www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/mil-derm.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miliary_dermatitis


Miliary Dermatitis is caused by an underlying allergic condition.

The most common allergy is a flea bite hypersensitivity (flea allergy dermatitis, FAD). All it takes is ONE flea bite to cause this problem. It's kind of the same as how some people are allergic to bee stings. For most of us, a bee sting hurts a bit but isn't really a big deal. For others, however, a single bee sting can make their whole arm swell up or even cause an anaphylactic reaction that can be life -threatening.


In the same way, animals who have FAD get insanely itchy over a single flea bite. In your situation, there may have been flea eggs brought into your home on shoes or clothes. Flea eggs are very resistant to cleaning products and can survive on the carpet for months! So, even though you may not see any fleas on your cat if a single flea hops on, takes a bite and then hops off, this cat could be insanely itchy for weeks!

Here is more about flea control: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1333&articleid=590

For more information about flea allergy dermatitis, you can check out these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea_allergy_dermatitis

http://www.pets.ca/encyclopedia/flea_allergy_dog.htm

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2607

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2604

Since this may be what has triggered your itchy cat's Miliary Dermatitis, it would be prudent to treat her and the other cat and the dog with Advantage. In Canada, you can only get Advantage through a veterinarian, but in the USA you can get it at large pet supply stores (Pet'SMart, etc), or even on-line.

Here is a link that may help you to find some:
http://www.myhealthycat.com/advantage-flea-control.html


Miliary dermatitis is generally treated with corticosteroids, or in a mild case with antihistamines and essential fatty acids. You could start this cat on essential fatty acids as they are helpful at decreasing inflammation and improving skin health.

Here's a link to one example:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/derm-caps/page1.aspx

Antihistamines are much less helpful in cats than they are in humans and will significantly help only 25 to 30 percent of cases. Nevertheless, they are often prescribed since they are relatively safe drugs when compared to corticosteroids. Some cats respond better to one antihistamine than another, so veterinarians usually try two or three different types before giving up on them. I usually start with chlorpheniramine in cats.

Here is more about it:
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/chlorpheniramine-maleate-chlor-trimeton/page1.aspx


So, in summary, what you are describing sounds like Miliary Dermatitis. This is an allergic skin condition. Often it is due to an underlying sensitivity to a flea bite. However, there may be another cause of the allergic dermatitis. I


Your veterinarian would need to examine this cat in order to be able to prescribe corticosteroids but if you wanted to try something else before seeing the vet, you could treat her with Advantage and start her on Derm Caps, and could even consider antihistamines (dose in link above).


If it has been helpful, please "Accept" my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it. :-)

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

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 7 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Last | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/purrfectkitty/2008-07-10_084515_2006-06-10_me2.jpg Terri's Avatar

    Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    868
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CE/Cerecita/2011-3-16_2565_JAPIC500x500.64x64.jpg Cher's Avatar

    Cher

    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    9637
    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/kydoll/2008-11-26_190500_me.jpg Lori's Avatar

    Lori

    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    3325
    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mccprn/2009-11-20_185102_JA_profile.jpg Micki's Avatar

    Micki

    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    3153
    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2887
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    2124
    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician