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

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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
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?

Customer: replied 7 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
Do the other animals go outside?

Do you use flea treatments on any of them?
Customer: replied 7 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 7 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 [email protected] or jsut answer any more questionswhen I get back...
You go - enjoy!

I will work on your answer while you are gone!
If you have not gone yet:

- any flea control?

- where do you live (state/province, and country)?
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:

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:

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

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:

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:

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:

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.


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