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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20612
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 7yr old cat started sneezing and getting scabs on her

Customer Question

My 7yr old cat started sneezing and getting scabs on her neck after we got our 4 month old cat. Could she be allergic? Initially I thought the neck scabs were wounds from the younger cat wrapping her arms around the older cats neck and biting or scratching her but the sneezing and clear eye discharge has been constant ever since we got the little one.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year 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 situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How long ago did he start sneezing?

Any nasal discharge? If so, what color?

Is your cat up to date on flea treatment? What brand do yo use?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We brought the younger car home the first week of June. I noticed that she sneezed occasionally. Maybe a week or 2 later, the older cats eyes got really swollen and puffy. I thought maybe the little cat scratched her or something or that she had an eye infection so I applied an antibiotic ointment. The puffiness went away but she still kept sneezing and having clear eye discharge. Her nose can be a little wet but there's no real discharge that I can see.What concerns me more are the sores on her neck and back. They are raised scabs. Initially, I thought maybe they were wounds but they keep popping up in different places and they are very thick.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have or use any flea treatments. The older cat has had all her vaccinations and is strictly an indoor cat. The younger cat has not had any treatments or vaccinations. We are going to take her to the vet next week.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, I would note that your older cat is not likely to be allergic to the kitten. Instead, it sounds like her immune system is being challenged by what the kitten has brought along with it. Specifically, scabs on the neck and spine are notorious for flea allergy dermatitis And it would only take the kitten bringing in one flea to set this allergic reaction off for a flea saliva sensitive cat. As well, all of her signs are suggestive of cat flu (aka upper respiratory tract infection). Since she is up to date on vaccines, this is likely why the signs have remained mild and the discharges clear.

With all this in mind, I am glad to hear that the kitten is due a check up. Still to help your older friend, we need to initiate some supportive care. To start, it would be ideal to treat both for fleas. This will ensure we break the cycle if there are any critters still nibbling on her. Otherwise, since the dermatitis is caused by an allergy to the flea saliva, we can try to reduce that allergic reaction for her. To do so, you can consider treating her with an antihistamine. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce that allergic irritation. We like to keep the dose low, since it can cause drowsiness (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your lass has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first.

Aside from that, we need to focus on her flu signs. The reason is because while it does sound viral, it has lingered for quite a while. Furthermore, as her signs sound to be primarily related to the eyes, I'd be concerned that she may have eye ulcers (possibly denidritic ones due to feline herpes virus). Therefore, you can flush her eyes with sterile saline (ie OTC first aid eye wash or plain contact lens solution) but we'd need to think about treatment against the common viral agents. In regards ***** ***** options, you can try oral treatment with L-lysine. This is available as a gel or powder that is mixed into food. It is usually dosed at 500mg daily and could just help her immune system fight this virus off if present. Otherwise, if she isn't settling, then we'd need to consider having her vet check her eyes for ulcers +/- test for viruses. Depending on their findings, we may need them to use anti-viral (as opposed to antibiotic) eye drops to settle this for her.

Overall, she doesn't sound to be allergic to the new addition. Instead, it just sounds like the kitten was an asymptomatic carrier of multiple issues that she has now shared with her new friend. So, we'd want to take the above steps to address those issues and see if we can get her settled.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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