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FelineMed, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience:  Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
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My 13-yr-old Maine Coon has a problem with severe dandruff/matted

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My 13-yr-old Maine Coon has a problem with severe dandruff/matted fur only on his back near his tail. Is this mange? He's had it a long time, but it never seems to spread to any other part of his body. Once, I shaved the matted section but within a few months it was looking bad again. What can I do to control it?

Hi! I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked in 2 different cat hospitals for well over 10 years. I'm looking forward to assisting you!


I am sorry, but the person you requested is not available...but I can certainly assist you if you would like. If you would prefer to continue to wait for the requested expert, you can certainly do so. If not, I do have a few questions so that I can better assist you:


1) Does the hair in this area grow back normally after it is shaved, but then becomes oily and the dandruff starts and then it turns into matted fur?


2) Does Mabel have a history of any other health issues that you know of?


3) What type of food does Mabel eat?


Thanks in advance for the further information! Once you reply, please give me a little bit to respond : )



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, the hair grows back normally, then the whole process starts again. No other health issues. He only eats dry food. I thought that increasing his oil intake would help, so I tried to give him the oil/water from a can of tuna, but he won't eat it. When he was younger he loved it. I think the current dry food he's eating is Cat Chow. He has no problem eating and eats quite a lot. He's over 20 lbs. I attached a picture of him, and one of the problem area. But he was moving so the image is blurry. Sorry.


Mabel 1


Mabel 2

Awww what a handsome boy!

Thankfully this issue does not look or sound like mange. With mange you would actually see signs of hair loss rather than just dandruff and matting and it would spread to other locations, other than where you are seeing Mabel's fur issue.

Most likely Mabel's condition is basic seborrhea, which is often seen due to a few factors. The first would be decreased grooming in that area. The tail base is a common place for this to happen because it is a very hard area for a cat to reach, especially larger overweight cats. Also, as a cat ages, it becomes even harder and harder. Sometimes as a cat gets older, they are unable to reach certain areas when grooming due to arthritis. Certainly it would do no harm at Mabel's age to start him on a glucosamine arthritis supplement. This comes in a variety of forms and brands...powder to mix in with food and treats, here are some links to a couple:

To help Mabel "groom" in this area, you can get a fine toothed flea comb and comb that area as needed. This will help to keep it from matting up. Certainly shaving it periodically as you have done can serve the same purpose. Another factor that contributes to this condition is an increase in oily fur in that area. Sometimes this even occurs all up a cat's back area. The dandruff you are seeing is also very typically seen with this as well. Flea combing this area will also help to remove the dandruff and break up the oily fur can help as well. Also, adding a fatty acid supplement to Mabel's diet can help to decrease the dandruff and oil production. Here is one commonly used:

Shampooing this area as needed with a hypoallergenic shampoo can also help to clear it up. If you do shampoo the area, then you do want to be sure though with Mabel's long fur that you comb it especially as it
dries because wet fur can mat up easier than dry fur.

There is a condition called "Stud Tail," which most often occurs in non neutered male cats, but can also occur in neutered males, though less often:

Usually there will be some skin infection present underneath the fur in that area, but that would have been noticeable once the fur was removed by shaving. I'm assuming that Mabel is neutered, but if not yet for some reason, neutering him will help if this is his actual issue. His issue looks and sounds more like just basic seborrhea as mentioned above.

One other thing that I would recommend if not done recently...would be to have some basic lab work including a thyroid level done on Mabel. As cats age, they are more at risk for some common elderly cat diseases, some which can cause poor hair coat.

I hope all of this information has been helpful!

Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions. I aim to provide you with the best service possible. If you feel I have done so, then
an excellent rating is greatly appreciated! If not, please let me know how I can better assist you. Thanks! XXXXX
FelineMed and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for all the great info! I'm sure we'll make progress now. By the way, it was when he was getting neutered that relates to him having a girl's name. When we got him from the shelter as a new kitten, they said it was a girl. I agreed. The vet agreed. Then when we took him in later to be "spayed" the vet had actually cut into him and realized there were no girl parts and had to sew him back up. She then went hunting for the boy parts and finally found them. She said they were tiny. So it just seemed like the girl name still fit since his boy parts were practically not even there.

Goodness! I wondered about the name hehe

You're welcome! Thank you for the excellent rating, it is greatly appreciated : )