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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20552
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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my cat is always licking& cleaning herself, plus she also scratchs

Customer Question

my cat is always licking& cleaning herself, plus she also scratchs alot & loses alot of hair. now she has small scabby bumps all over her body, thats also where her hair is getting thin & she isnt as active or playful latly, she is always sleeping day & night. can you PLEASE tell me what to do for her to make her more comfortable & feel better & maybe whats going on.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the question.

In direct answer to your question : While I cannot diagnose this over the internet it sounds like your cat has a disease called miliary eczema. The description of the skin lesions in miliary eczema are usually precisely as you describe. As this disease is a probability I will tell you more about it :

1. The origin of this disease is almost often flea bites, owners will sometimes dispute this as they say they have not seen fleas but as it is a hypersensitivity reaction only one or two bites would cause the clinical signs you are seeing. Not all cat will get this disease following flea bites, only a few which are hypersensitive to fleas will develop the disease. It is therefor important to be absolutely fastidious not only with flea control on your cat but also the cat's environment. Although clearly fleas may be implicated as a trigger factor flea control alone will not cure this disease once it is established, more is required and there is also the possibility that other allergens such as dietary factors or house dust may be involved.

2. Different vets have slightly different ways of thinking about things when it comes to treating this disease. There are two main treatments for miliary eczema both have their pros and cons. Ovarid and drugs like it are hormone preparations which are a perfectly valid treatment for treating miliary eczema but a very small number of cats end up as diabetics as a result of this drug. Steroids and antihistamines are also a valid treatment for this disease but again a very small number of cats end up with both acute and chronic side effects to steroids. Antibiotics may be used in the early stages as these cats often have a secondary bacterial infection.

3. I am so sorry I cannot recommend any home remedy here, because of the nature of the disease there is just nothing much you can do on your own. Accordingly my advice has to be that you should continue working with your vet on this one, with perhaps a referral to a vet who has an interest in skin conditions. As this is often a chronic disease sometimes these cats need to be kept on a maintenance dose of whatever drug they are on, perhaps by dosing them with tablets once or twice a week. Often if you just treat them once the disease improves but then shortly comes back ...

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS