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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21419
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 17 year old cat has begun to overgroom in two places .she

Customer Question

my 17 year old cat has begun to overgroom in two places .she has licked her fur away in one place on her left leg and she has removed the fur in a nickle sized place and it is very pink and in one area it is raw and the flesh is open. I have changed her
food as wer ran out of her blue basic and we bought Beyond. She is now on NaturesInstinct dry and wet duck , she hates the duck and refuses to acknowledge it on her dish. I am franticfollowing my vets suggestion, but the leg is worse but there is hair growing
back on her hip advice please. on her hip, help please
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help. Now based on your history, it sounds like we have 2 issues -- a wound due to overgrooming and an underlying trigger for her doing so. Now you noted that you followed her vets advise but only mentioned a diet change. A diet change is reasonable if we suspect an underlying allergy, but with her focused attention on these 2 sites, I am not convinced an allergy is to blame. This is because allergy cats often target easy to reach places like bellies, tails, backs of their legs.Instead, I suspect your lass is telling us that these two specific areas are bothering her. And at her age, I would be most concerned that is because of an underlying arthritis or muscle strain. In that case, her grooming is a displacement behavior and a sign that she is sore in those sites specifically.Now since there is a wound, we need to address that first. Therefore the first step would be to cleanse the area with a mild diluted antiseptic (either chlorohexidine or iodine, both should be diluted to a weak tea like color) or salt water (1tbsp to a pint warm water). This should be done a 2-3 times a day and dried thoroughly afterwards. If it were open (though you can still do so here), you could also aid healing and infection prevention with an OTC antibiotic cream (ie Neosporin, triple antibiotic ointment, etc). Do avoid the creams with topical numbing agents (since these can be toxic for cats). As well, do avoid any human pain medications here since they are toxic and dangerous for cats (and rubbish for cat pain on top of it all) and would cause more problems (and some can even be fatal for them) then just soreness from these wounds.Further to all this, we need to block Nanagirl's access to the wound since she is her own worst enemy here. To do so, you may want to consider placing an e-collar (from your vets or pet store) now. If we can break her licking cycle, we can stop her hair loss, reduce the topical inflammation from her sandpaper tongue and start trying to settle this for her. Of course, if you see any swelling or it doesn't settle within a few days of the above supportive care, then we'd have to be concerned that Nanagirl has already cause infection under the skin with her licking and may need antibiotics to help that to settle.Otherwise, we need to try to address the potential trigger for this overgrooming these areas. Now if we did need to start antibiotics, then your vet can also dispense kitty safe pain relief (ie Metacam) to address both the wound soreness but any underlying issues. Otherwise, you could also try some OTC supplements to help. In regards ***** ***** one that would really be worth using here is fish oil (Omega 3 +6). This is an essential fatty acid that will support general skin health and also happens to have anti-inflammatory effects on sore joints. When offering this we tend to give 20mg per pound of their body weight and many cats have no qualms about a bit of fish flavor added to their food. And its available over the counter at your vet, pet stores, and local health food stores. So, it is very much worth a try with herOtherwise, since underlying discomfort is suspect here, I would note that glucosamine/chondroitin supplementation would also be an option. These are nutrient supplements that are available at your vets, pet shops, and health food stores (as capsules, liquids, and even treats). It works by aiding joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Often we can find this helpful in animals with arthritis and can sometimes settle arthritis induced overgrooming. Normally we give kitties 50mg glucosamine + 15mg chondroitin a day per 10 pounds of body weight. So, this too would be something to consider for her.Overall, there are not multiple reasons for her to groom this site. Therefore, the first step is to get the skin healed with the above +/- treatment from her vet. Further to that, we need to consider why she has been only targeting these 2 sites. And as discomfort is often a motivation for such focal behavior, we'd want to make sure we are addressing that for her so that doesn't feel the need to groom this area raw and lets it settle.I hope this information is helpful.If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!All the best,Dr. B.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------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 how I am credited for assisting you. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Nanagirl. How is everything going?

Dr. B.