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I am trying to figure out what is going on with my cat. She…

Hi I am trying...

Hi I am trying to figure out what is going on with my cat. She has these bumps on her spine and she is always licking the area. I did the flea test at home where you take some of he bumps and put them on a paper towel and nothing happened. The scabs just moved like dry pieces of dirt.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the cat's name and age?

I have 3 cats only two of them who are sisters have it on them. There names are ***** ***** Katie.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your cat?

No they are both around 16 years old and are indoor cats, healthy otherwise. The cats get upset if I touch the area the bumps are on

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Answered in 1 hour by:
1/19/2018
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 35,532
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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I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. The flea test is performed by gathering up the "pepper" on their skin and then moistening it with water. If it turns red, the pepper was flea feces. You appear to be describing the pruritic (itchy) skin condition called miliary dermatitis - a papulocrustous (crusty bumps) eruption seen mainly secondary to allergic skin disease. 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, 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 Cutie's and Katie's vet. In severe cases 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 them . 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, their 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 their 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 fromt heir 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. I don't believe it likely that two cats in a household would be food intolerant...particularly now at 16 years of age.

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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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Forgot to let you know a vet tested the cat for mites a few months ago and said it was not that. It seems to be getting worse each day.

This appears to be a typical miliary dermatitis. A conservative approach that might suffice would entail a prescription flea product from their vet and a short course of oral prednisolone. I would avoid the long-acting injectable methylprednisolone at their age. Glad to hear that mites were ruled out. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Can you prescribe this?

Regretfully, no. We're not allowed to prescribe through this venue. Mea culpa.

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 35,532
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
Verified
Dr. Michael Salkin and 87 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Okay thank you so much for helping me out at least I have some answers and now my cats can go on with getting better.

You're quite welcome. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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Dr. Michael Salkin
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