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I have a cat that is scratching under the chin and behind…

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I have a cat...

I have a cat that is scratching under the chin and behind her neck in three particular spots. Hair has been thinning at her rear for a while now. I have pictures i can send as well ?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the cat's name and age?

Mittens /7 years

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
12/19/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34,930
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

I would like to see pics, please. You can upload photos by using the paperclip or add file icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see those icons on your particular device) or you can use an external app such as dropbox.com/ Please check that the photo(s) is in focus prior to uploading it.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Thank you. Give me a moment to take a look, please...

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

The photos indicate a miliary dermatitis which isn't a diagnosis but a skin condition most often due to allergic skin disease. A papulocrustous eruption (crusty bumps) is usually found with this type of dermatitis. In rarer cases we'll find the demodectic mange mite which can be found upon examining skin scrapings microscopically. A pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) is another consideration and under-diagnosed.

Whenever the area between the edge of a cat's rib cage to the tail is involved (as is the case with Mittens), a flea saliva allergy is most likely. Even if you can't find any fleas, it's best that you apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage/Advocate or a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or one of the newer flea spot-ons available from Mittens's vet. In severe cases such as Mittens we can either inject or orally administer a prescription antihistaminic glucocorticoid (steroid) such as prednisolone which often works wonders in these cats. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) aren't reliably effective against allergic skin disease but you might see how a dose of 2mg of an over the counter chlorpheniramine once or twice daily affects him. Please note that cats can be such effective groomers as to remove all evidence of fleas. It's important to still use the flea products.

Less commonly but still important, Mittens skin can result from a food intolerance or atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, etc.) Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that his immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen.

Atopy is usually initially addressed by the same prednisolone I mentioned above and used to address a flea saliva allergy. Prednisolone can be used as a test when differentiating a flea saliva allergy or atopy from a food intolerance. Both a flea saliva allergy and atopy are usually quite responsive to prednisolone. Not so a food intolerance. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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