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He is losing his hair around neck and raw skin is showing…

Customer Question
Hi he is losing...

Hi he is losing his hair around neck and raw skin is showing and he has been licking a concrete brick

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the cat's name and age?

Tiger he is around 6

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Tiger?

6 years old

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/2/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,575
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

I am sorry to hear that Tiger is losing hair on his neck, developing raw skin in that area, and licking a concrete block.

Cats get an allergic form of skin disease called eosinophilic granuloma complex. The lesions that we see with that disease process are hairless, pink, very thickened oozing, ropey looking areas of skin. We generally see lesions on the skin of the inner and rear legs, abdomen, neck, chin and around the lips.

Cats also get another type of lesion in response to allergic stimulation called miliary dermatitis. We usually see crusts, scabs and hair loss along the back, and on the face, especially in the thinly haired area between the ears and eyes, and on the neck.

Itchy skin and secondary sores and scabs can be for several reasons.

The most common reasons tend to be secondary to flea bite or food allergies, a mite called Demodex gatoi, sarcoptic mites, inhaled allergies, ringworm, and rarely autoimmune condition conditions such as pemphigus.

If he goes outdoors ringworm, flea bite hypersensitivity and demodex or sarcoptic mites are possible.

If he isn't improving with the suggestions I give you I would recommend having your veterinarian examine him to look at a skin swab to look for Demodex Gatoi mites, a skin scraping for signs of sarcoptic mites, or evidence of fleas. A fungal culture should be checked for completeness.

You need to use effective products on your kitty for flea control, and any other pets in your home. I recommend either Frontline Plus or Advantage ll or the new Seresto Flea collar. I don't normally recommend flea collars, but this one really works and lasts for at least 6-8 months. All pets in the house must be treated as if you don't the nonallergic ones serve as a flea reservoir for the allergic one and you'll never solve your problem.

I do not recommend over the counter products, they are neither effective nor safe in many instances.

Effective flea preventative topicals like Frontline or Advantage should be applied every 3 weeks in active outbreaks if you have a young, healthy kitty in a problem situation as the effectiveness does wane a little after 3 weeks.

I would also consider a true hypoallergenic diet such as Royal Canin Duck & Green Pea or Hills z/d to test him for food allergies. This must be the only things he eats for at least 8 to 12 weeks, no treats or flavored medication. You may have tried diet changes but unless it was a prescription food it may not have been restrictive enough. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your cat isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your cat if those happen to be allergens for your cat. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food. Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin with a true, prescription hypoallergenic diet, and then once their skin is clear adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try that does not have the allergens they reacted to. I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination.

You might also wish to try a combination of antihistamines and omega 3 fatty acids to help with inhaled, or flea bite allergies. You can use either:

1) chlorpheniramine 4mg at half to one full tablet orally every 12 to 24 hours

OR

2) Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at half of a 25mg tablet per 8 to 15 pound cat every 8 to 12 hours (1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 to 12 hours). Benadryl is very bitter and some cats will drool excessively or may even vomit because of that. That doesn't mean it is making him ill, he just hates the taste. If that's the case with him try a different antihistamine.

3) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. (Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.)

Antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some cats but those effects usually wane with repeated use.

Good brand name omega 3's to try are 3V Caps or Derm Caps. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 160mg of EPA per day. Together antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically. These should help reduce the itch.

If he is not improving with these measures then then the diagnostics I mentioned above and possibly a skin biopsy would be the best way to get a definitive diagnosis and direct treatment.

Kitties will often lick or eat strange things (non-food items) when they are feeling nauseous or have gastroesophageal reflux to try and settle their stomachs. If he has had a change in appetite or is vomiting along with his licking I feel that he may be nauseous. Perhaps a food allergy is making him nauseous.

Metabolic diseases that cause stomach upset like kidney or liver disease, or pancreatitis can cause licking. Anemia can lead to pica or eating or licking non food items. Immunosuppressive diseases like Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency virus can cause strange behavior. I do recommend that he see his veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests to make sure there are no health problems behind this behavior if his concrete licking continues.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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