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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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My cat has bumps all over her back and near her but. I thought

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My cat has bumps all over her back and near her but. I thought they were flea bites, but it's freezing here in Philly. The feel like dried clumps of blood and skin, and she jumps whenever I get near one of them. I saw a red dot inside her ear as well...what should I do?
Could you give me a little more info? How long have the bumps been there? Is she scratching or biting at them? Do you have a flea comb handy? Do you use any flea medication? Have you changed her diet?
Dr. Scarlett
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I don't even know what a flea comb is. This is my first pet.
Parker has been excessively grooming herself, though. biting and licking her back a lot. I found a few of those bumps on her legs and under her chin. I can take a picture if you want. Not all of them are red, just some of them.
I suspect that the bumps are from an allergic reaction. The bumps you describe are what we call "miliary dermatitis"--sort of like a shot-gun of scabs over the body. They are due to an allergic reaction. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) will have these scabs and there may be hairloss, as well. FAD mainly affects the lower back/tail head area, but you can also see them around the head and neck. Bumps just on the head, particularly in that area in front of the ears where there is less fur, makes me think more of a food allergy.

A flea comb is a comb with very narrow openings between the tines--like a nit comb you might use on a child. But since you don't have one, you can look for fleas or flea dirt in the following manners:

Pick up your cat under the front legs and blow on her tummy, parting the fur. Sometimes you will see a flea run away. (Fleas are small, black, very fast bugs).

Ruffle your cat's fur over a white paper towel. Do you see any small, dark, curly-looking things? Put a drop of water on any "dirt" you see. If it turns red it is "flea dirt"--the digested blood fleas poop out.

Fleas can't survive well in the freezing cold, but they do like the warm, humidified air in your house/apartment. Even if you don't see any evidence of fleas, I would still treat your cat with a topical product once a month. I recommend either Frontline or Advantage. Don't bother with collars--they aren't very effective. Flea baths are only good while the lather is on the cat and cats HATE baths.

You may need to take your cat to the vet for a steroid injection to stop the bumps and allergic reaction. If you don't think it is fleas, your vet may be able to help determine another cause.

Good luck!
Dr. Scarlett
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