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Six year old male with scabs all over back, now extending

down his sides. He's...
Six year old male with scabs all over back, now extending down his sides. He's not acting well, has always been flea-treated.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Wilbur. I use cat flea treatments from pet/farm store, Sentry.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Wilbur?
Customer: Outside/inside cat.
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
10/7/2017
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11,710
Experience: Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
Verified

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I AM NOT SET UP TO MAKE PHONE CALLS, BUT I WOULD BE HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ONLINE. THE WEBSITE SENDS THE REQUESTS; NOT MYSELF. In order to give an informative and concise answer, it may take a few minutes before I respond back to you, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear back immediately. If you have not responded back in 10 minutes, it may be a longer before I can get back to you. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.

How is he not acting well?

Is he scratching often?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Besides the scratching a lot, he doesn't do anything that he used to, he eats but loves going outside and he won't go out. I have used Sentry flea meds fo r4 yrs now and it works for him. the scabs are my main issue. is this mange?

Thanks for the information. If it was mange, he would most likely have hair loss and excoriations on his skin. He would be extremely itchy as well. It is definitely work having your vet do a skin scraping on him to rule out mange. Cats usually show symptoms of mange on their face, ears, elbows and hocks. My first thoughts are that he has a skin allergy or a flea problem (even if he is on Sentry and been on it for 4 years - I will explain). There could definitely be something in the environment that is causing an allergy. It would probably help for your vet to get him on a short course of steroids to get the itching under control. In some cases, there is a secondary bacterial infection on the skin, so antibiotics may be necessary as well. It could be a food allergy he is developing (even to a food he has eaten his whole life), but that is less common. Now, the most common cause of those scabs on the neck are fleas. Sentry may have worked well for him in the past, but it is far from being a good flea preventative. It can get overran very easily. So, if flea problems in your area have gotten bad this year, then Sentry will not be able to handle it very well. When you are dealing with fleas, the adult fleas you can see are only 5% of the population. The other 95% are the immature forms you cannot see. Fleas will lay eggs in as little as 24 hours after feeding. Sentry doesn't kill fleas that quickly, so they can still reproduce. Plus, it has between 50-75% efficacy after week 2 and less than 50% efficacy after week 3. The best preventatives kill in less than 24 hours and have >95% efficacy through week 4. Because cats groom so fastidiously, they may only have a couple of fleas running around on them at one time, which are almost impossible to find, and they may have a true flea allergy, which causes more symptoms. Look around the rear end for any rice looking worms or dried sesame seeds. If you see those, that confirms fleas. They are tapeworms. Same goes for any dirt looking substance on the hair coat (flea feces). Not seeing them doesn't rule out fleas. Sentry can work well for a few years for some owners then just get overwhelmed on a bad flea year. With that being said, it could still very well be an allergy, but I just wanted to explain why you still cannot rule out fleas. I would have your vet check. I often find fleas a lot easier than owners do. They can check for mange as well and start treating for the itching and possible secondary skin infection. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. IF YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH MY ANSWER, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get compensated for helping you, and we can still continue our conversation after rating. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Asking more specific questions usually helps a lot. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11,710
Experience: Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
Verified
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I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

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Dr. John
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11,710
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