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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28939
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Recently I had a relative to die and I had promised to take

Customer Question

Recently I had a relative to die and I had promised to take care of her beloved cat. I already had 3 rescue cats (all inside). Evidently the new addition brought fleas with her and of course, all have them now. I have the infestation under control (I think, hope and pray), but my male cat (looks like a Maine Coone) is allergic to every thing I've tried. He quits eating, becomes lethargic to the point I'm afraid I'll lose him. I have him "off" everything now, just bathed him using Dawn. He has rashes and spots that I couldn't see because of his thick fur. He has, however, licked almost all the hair off his belly. What can I put on the spots to help them heal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

It's best not to treat these spots topically because Skooter is likely to lick off everything you apply.* He appears to have developed a flea saliva allergy which is best addressed with a systemic corticosteroid such as prednisolone which can be given orally or by injection by his vet. Consider the over the counter oral nitenpyram (Capstar) to kill fleas on such a sensitive cat. The fleas die within minutes and you needn't administer the nitenpyram any more than once daily if it isn't necessary to do so. Nitenpyram is usually tolerated well but occasional hyperactivity and panting have been reported in some cats. It's very short acting, however, with a half-life of just 8 hours in cats. Be sure that you treat your premises with a product containing an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as methoprene. IGRs don't allow flea eggs or larvae to develop into adult fleas. Siphotrol Area Treatment spray is such a product available in pet/feed stores.

*If you're careful not to over-apply it, over the counter hydrocortisone cream applied sparingly to particularly irritated skin thrice daily should be safe and helpful.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I gave Skooter Capstar and he very nearly died! I had a long talk with Jennie, one of the manufacturer reps, who tried to tell me that the symptoms he experienced couldn't have been caused by Capstar. I suggested that she check their website for side effects, every one that he presented was listed, the lethargy, the loss of appetite, skin rash. Needless to say, that is NOT an option. Neither is the prednisolone. My relative's cat (Socks) had been through a lot with the death, had stopped eating & lost a lot of weight (she's 13). Because of those factors and the fleas, she developed anemia and needed a blood transfusion. After which, she had to take an antibiotic, an iron supplement and prednisolone. The prednisolone caused her to go from a loving calm cat to an aggressive one, who bit me twice for no understandable reason. Because of Skooter's sensitivity to oral meds, I don't think that would be good for him. Is there not some ointment or some external cream or spray that you could recommend? He's licked nearly all the hair off his belly and has scabs on his neck and legs. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Yes, the hydrocortisone cream I mentioned above is reasonable. You can also find combinations of hydrocortisone and antihistamines in over the counter sprays in pet/feed stores. Please continue our conversation if you wish.