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Can a cat have ocd. My cat continuously cleans herself. She…

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Can a cat have ocd...
Can a cat have ocd. My cat continuously cleans herself. She has also at time itched herself raw under neck and has pull out hair on her sides from scraping and itching. She does not have fleas as I have taken her to the vet. She doesn't have any signs of a skin disease either. What else could the problem be? I have also changed her food to see if that might have been the issue but nothing works.
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
6/8/2015
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 3 years ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 35,469
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Yes, feline psychogenic alopecia is overdiagnosed but does exist. Excessive and out-of-context grooming is thought to be an obsessive-compulsive behavior that's triggered by environmental stresses and anxiety. The condition is uncommon in cats, with purebred cats that have high-strung nervous temperaments being possibly predisposed. Flea hypersensitivity, food allergy, atopy, and other ectoparasites are more common causes of feline alopecia.
The alopecia of feline psychogenic alopecia may occur anywhere on the body where the cat can lick but it most commonly involves the medial forelegs, inner thighs, perineum, and ventral abdomen. Hair loss is often bilaterally symmetrical but remaining hairs don't epilate easily.
The underlying cause of the psychological stress (e.g., separation from owner, moved to a new house, animal companion died, new pet in household, formerly outdoor cat denied access to outdoors) must be identified and appropriate environmental modifications made, if possible. A good flea control program should be instituted to prevent fleas from aggravating the symptoms. Use of a mechanical barrier (e.g. Elizabethan collar, T-shirt) for 1-2 months to prevent grooming may help break the habit. Behavior-modifying drugs may help stop the abnormal grooming behavior. In some cases, treatment may be discontinued after 30-60 days of therapy; in others, lifelong therapy is required for control. Drugs that may be effective include the following: amitriptyline, clomipramine, buspirone, phenobarbital, diazepam, and naloxone.
I'm going to post my synopsis about the pruritic (itchy) cat for you, too. It embellishes the above and should give you a good overview about cats such as Bella...
Pruritic cats are suffering from an allergic dermatitis the great majority of the time. Allergies to flea saliva, environmentals such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, and foods should be considered. In rare instances the mange mite Demodex might be responsible.
Our dermatologists tell us to apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage or a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or one of the newer prescription products available from Bella's vet even if fleas aren't seen. Cats can be such effective groomers so as to eliminate all evidence of flea infestation. Indoor cats can contract fleas because we walk them in on us and flea eggs and larva can remain viable in your home for months. As the weather warms at this time of year egg hatches are common. In severe cases, an anti-allergenic prescription corticosteroid such as prednisolone will work wonders for cats allergic to the saliva of the flea. Your other pets may not be allergic to the saliva of the flea.
Environmental allergies are usually addressed with prednisolone as well. In some cats an over the counter antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) dosed at 2mg/cat daily or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) dosed at 1-2mg/lb twice daily may be effective.
Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Bella's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. There are many prescription novel protein diets and the prototypical hydrolyzed protein diet is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra. We usually see a positive response to these foods within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. A food intolerance can appear at any age and even if our cats have been eating the same food for quite some time.
We used to diagnose these cats with psychogenic alopecia - a neurotic over-grooming - but have come to realize that most of these cats truly are allergic cats.
In summary, it appears as if you've ruled out a flea saliva allergy but not atopy (allergies to environmental allergens) and unless you've performed a hypoallergenic food trial with a hydrolyzed protein diet, you haven't ruled out a food intolerance. It would be prudent to do so before administering psychotherapeutic drugs for an OCD such as psychogenic alopecia.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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