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Candy R.
Candy R., Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 11619
Experience:  Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
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Cat has been losing fur, itching, licking and scratching all

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Cat has been losing fur, itching, licking and scratching all over. In 1.5 weeks time, she is a complete oozing mess. Have taken her to the vet twice, and have done 1 antibiotic shot + orals twice per day, and 2 different super prednisone injections + orals twice/day. + a prescribed bath. No improvement, even when I put an E collar on her. 3 months ago, had taken her to the vet with hoarseness and very loud gagging - they could find nothing wrong. All this time, appetite is fine, no changes in potty habits or mood. Vet thinks that it could be lymphoma as a reach, because they can't figure out anything else it could be. I have another cat in the house and I'm scared to death. Both 100% indoor cats, on an Iams diet. Any ideas? Thank you.

Hello and Thank You for contacting JustAnswer
I am sorry to hear your baby is having trouble.


I would love to help I just have a few additional questions


When was he first seen by a vet


Was your vet able to address the fever


Was blood work done


Were any tests done on the skin


Is she on flea prevention


What areas is she scratching the most


Is the hair loss all over


I may have additional questions however this will get us started





Customer: replied 7 years ago.
First seen by vet for the hoarseness in March, but they found nothing wrong and she was otherwise healthy. For the rapid hair loss/itching, she was first seen one week ago. This was only 3 days after the itching/hair loss onset No blood work, just numerous questions re diet change, any new substances or objects around the house, etc., to address allergies. Addressed fever (thought to be brought on by bacterial infection in ears, from all the scratching) with antibiotic shot and oral prescription she is still on. No flea prevention, as none of us have seen any fleas or been bitten, and they are totally indoor cats. I even asked the vet if it was possible she had been bitten and we did not know, and he responded that they had been over her with a fine toothed comb, looked her over entirely, and there were no signs of fleas or flea bites. She is itching scratching and licking all over. Has chewed her paw pads, overgroomed her face to where she has a big sore on her lip. Ears were infected, but showed enough improvement by 2nd vet visit to be flushed and cleaned (what a mess!!). The second vet visit, Friday night, was given the different prednisone injection and a presciption for oral prednisone, ans a prescription bath. They took a scraping from her skin and examined it under a microscope, but nothing definitive. Right now, she is still itching and twitching, shaking her head and legs. I went and got her an Elizabethan collar to keep her from licking and scratching, but she is still itching and miserable, and still oozing, pretty much all over. Her ears and gums are starting to pale. The first visit they had shaved her stomach, and it was a mottled red (as was her butt and half her tail she licked off). If no improvement by tomorrow, vet thinks it could be a rare side effect to lymphoma. He would want to biopsy her Monday. Which scares me to death, to think that my other cat could be at risk too. And then I also wonder if there was a link to her hoarseness and loud occasional gagging a few months ago.

Ok, Just a few more please bear with me


Why does your vet think this is lymphoma


Has she been tested for feline leukemia


You mention red stomach is there red dots, does it appear to have grown larger


Where is the oozing coming from


Can you tell me where you live

Edited by CandyR on 6/6/2010 at 9:11 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
the vet only mentioned lymphoma as "rare case" since he really can't figure out what else it could be except a secondary reaction to lymphoma. Mainly because she is not responding to the steroids. Even with an extreme allergy, one would think it would at least minimally respond to steroids, which this has not. I can't remember when the last time was that she was tested for feline leukemia - could have been 3 years ago. The red stomach is more like raw red. And is still this way, even without her being able to lick. She seems to be oozing from all over her skin, esp the areas where there is hair loss. She's just kind of moist and sticky all over, esp in those areas. Thanks for your help. It's jsut very scary for having come on so quickly, and does not seem to respond to anything.

Ok, sorry for the delay I tried to send my answer but it would not go through therefor I had to retype.


The two most troublesome things right now are the fact that she has been able to run a fever for over a week, the sudden paleness in the gums and ears should be treated as an emergency as this can be a sign of internal bleeding, anemia or shock.


This baby really needs to have blood work done including a feline leukemia/feline aids test. I am not sure how lymphoma can even be mentioned with out additional basic diagnostic tools, as you have not provided any symptoms that would lead me in that direction (of course I do not have a full medical history)

Please read


If you live in CA,AZ,or TX then coccidoidomycosis (valley fever must be considered)


Pemphigus Foliaceus which is an auto immune problem which causes the body to attack one of the layers of skin and will cause hair loss and itchy oozing skin.


Hyperthyroidism can cause all the problems you are seeing including the hoarseness and gagging, this is a common problem in cats, however it normally develops after the age of 8


1 negative skin scrapping may not rule out the presence of feline scabies as these can be hard to find steroids may actually increase this problem


There are several different fungal infections that can also cause this problem



Here is a web site that details skin disorders in cats


I also need to say that just because a cat lives in doors and you do not see fleas does not by any means indicate they are not there, if she has developed an allergy to fleas then not only will the bite effect her but also the saliva that they leave behind
PLease read

If you are using plastic food or water bowel this can be a source of allergen to cats.


Severe infestation of hook worms can cause anemia(pale gums) itchy oozy skin, gagging as they move into the esophagus, and hoarseness due to irritation


Since this started so recently please try to think if there has been any changes in the house hold carpet powders, sprays, air fresheners and febreeze, laundry soaps, shampoos, can all trigger allergic reactions.


I would suggest having Skin scrapping, tape tests fungal cultures and cultures of the discharge that is coming form the skin need to be done, I would suggest having these tests sent to a lab and not done in house.
Blood work needs to be done to check for infection and the cause of the pale gums and fever. Blood work can also check for hormonal imbalances, a fecal exam will rule out any intestinal worms or parasites.



Skin issues can be so frustrating and since you are not seeing any change after 2 vet visits I would suggest getting your vet to refer you to a veterinary dermatologist who specializes in skin related problems


Again I will say that the pale gums and ears have me very concerned, if having her seen tonight at the animal emergency is an option that would be best


I hope this has given you some additional information to discuss with your vet, please reply back if you have additional questions or concerns




Candy R. and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Candy - sorry - I thought I had hit the button already. :) It took a while to read through everything. Tomorrow morning we will be doing a biopsy, and I assume blood work. Even after the medicated bath, 2 different steroid injections and orals, injection and oral antibiotic, anti-itch spray, an E collar, she's still getting worse. Not healing, everything is still sticky and more fur loss is happening. She shakes her head so hard there is blood/ooze smeared inside the E collar. She can't walk without shaking her feet and twitching. Wish her luck, but it just doesn't seem there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

I am so glad the are going to do further diagnostics. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to watch her , I have not seen her and I feel so bad for this poor girl.


Please let me know the results of the biopsy and blood work

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Candy - Just to let you know, I had her at the vet clinic about 10 times in 6 weeks, and they completely missed the mark in diagnosing/treating her, and basically blew me off saying that she simply had allergies. The biopsies did not show anything. They had done scrapings and cultures already with no findings. By the final time I took her in, they told me she was obviously getting better because she no longer had fever. Well, yes because apparently she was slipping into shock. She went into hiding, stopped eating, slept in her litter box... I begged them to refer out to a dermatologist as they had promised to do weeks earlier. By then it was too late.

The dermatologist (50+ years old) said she had never in her career seen anything so overwhelming and aggressive. She said right off the bat there is no way this could simply be allergies, and that the skin condition was actually the least of her worries. She felt that the skin condition could be secondary to an undetermined internal issue. She immediately transferred her to the Critical Care vet, who tried to bring her back from shock, to stabilize her enough for further diagnostics. SHe did not respond after several hours, and I finally asked that they just let her go. She had been through enough. They were able to do chest xrays and said that her heart had a strange shape, but no idea what that could mean. And she had an unusually high sodium level, which I would attribute to absorbing litter crystals through her skin.

It was a very heartbreaking experience. But thank you so much for your research and kind concern. I will not be using this vet clinic again. One of the vet techs actually cried every time she saw Clarice (breaking down sobbing would be more accurate) but the vet I ended up with was completely lacking in compassion and was convinced that she had all the answers (without asking the questions).

Take care, and thank you again for everything.

I am so sorry but please know you did the right thing by ending her suffering.


I was afraid she was going into shock with the white gums and ears, this can be a result of untreated infection which she likely had since she had a fever. I am glad to here you are not using that vet anymore as I believe they really dropped the ball in this case.


Again I am so sorry.