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My 10 year old cat is itching and grooming alot with patches…

Customer Question
My 10 year old...

My 10 year old cat is itching and grooming alot with patches of hair loss. he has very soft stools but acts fine and has no fleas

Veterinarian's Assistant: 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?

He does not have fleas

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 12 hours by:
11/12/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,173
Experience: Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has he been showing these signs?

Where does he scratch/itch most (ie back, tail base, belly, feet, etc)?

Any changes to the skin (ie pustules, pimples, redness, crusts/scaling, ulcers, or sores)?

Any diet change in the 2 months before this started?

Even if he has no fleas, can you tell me what flea treatment you use (some cover for other things)? when did you last use it?

Can you take a photo of this to let me see what you are seeing? To post a photo, you can use the paper clip button on the tool bar above the text box. Or if you cannot see that on your phone/computer, then you can post them on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web link here for me to have a peek.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
No changes in diet. Has been going on for a couple of months. Use hartz flea and he is an indoor cat only
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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

Hello again,

Now we do see overgrooming to the point of hair loss like this in kitties for a range of reasons. And I have to first say that Hartz is not a good flea treatment (we see lots of resistance and it can cause some adverse signs in cats) so given the pattern of baldness we have I would not totally exclude a flea bite allergy (it only takes one bite since they are allergic to the saliva) even in an indoor cat if this is what has been used. Of course, we do also need to be wary of allergies (ie food, pollens, laundry soap, products used in the house, and anything that they essentially come into contact with) but stress overgrooming looks less likely here. That said, at his age, we do also have to keep systemic disease in mind as some cats will pull hair due to feeling unwell generally. And that is a bit of concern given his soft stools (which could be seen with a gut infection, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa, IBD, etc).

With this in mind, we'd want to take a step by step approach here. First, if its been over a week since he had the hartz, its worth retreating with a better flea protection. That way we can just rule them out right off the bat. And for him, I do think Advantage Multi would be ideal since it will also cover for mites/lice and worms (for the stool concerns). His vet should be able to dispense this provided you have a recent weight for him.

Otherwise, while we could do a diet trial (4-6wks on one diet) to exclude that, with the stool changes we'd skip that for now. So, keep him on his usual diet (or if there has a recent change, put him back onto the one he was on before his signs started). Fiber (ie canned pumpkin) and OTC probiotics (ie Benebac, Fortiflora) can be added to these meals to firm those loose stools quicker and support digestion. And if he is very loose, then Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p)). This is available OTC at most pharmacies. (of course avoid Imodium, Pepto Bismol or salicylic acid/aspirin containing products as those aren't cat friendly). Otherwise, Propectalin, Canikur, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (all OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and those last ones have the added bonus of providing support to the delicate good GI bacteria.

As we do that, we can try to exclude/manage allergies with an OTC antihistamine. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/diphenhydramine-benadryl). A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce allergic irritation. Alternatively, we can use Cetirizine (just 5mg for a cat) once daily. For either, we like to keep the dose low, to avoid drowsiness. Of course, double check with your vet first if your wee one has any known health issues or is on any other medication you didn't mention.

Overall, with all his signs, we do have a few concerns that could be bombarding him all at once or are interlinked. So, we'd use the above steps to start ruling out causes for each set of signs and to reduce them. If we can get him comfortable with his skin and gut, we are happy. But if these linger, we'd want his vet to test a stool sample +/- trial kitty safe anti-inflammatories to stop that itch driving him to overgroom.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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