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Old 03-14-2011, 02:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat won't stop chewing or scratching itself...Help!

I haven't been on here in awhile, but i need some help.

My DLH Audrey needs your help actually. He (yes, Audrey is a he...long story short, thought he was a girl, months later realized she was a he) was losing a lot of his hair for awhile, so we took him to the vet and they thought it may be food allergies since all the test came back negative. So we switched him and our other 2 cats from Friskies to Blue Buffalo to see if that may be the problem. Well, for awhile it seemed that the hair was starting to grow back and we fixed the problem. But in the last month or so, we started noticing patches of hair missing again from his hips back to his tail and on his rear legs.

So we started watching his behavior closely, and started noticing he seems to be OCD and will just gnaw on himself non stop. his back, rear legs, base of his tail, have all been licked so much that its raw in a lot of spots, and then he uses his rear legs to scratch his neck and head and he did it so often that he started getting soars. So i put an e-collar on him and now he can't reach his back and parts of his legs so now the soars are scabbing over since he can't lick it anymore and they seem to be healing. But after i did that he seemed to put his attention to anywhere else he can get access to which is when he started licking and gnawing at his tail, so now there is almost no hair and just raw skin on the base of his tail. he has a vet appointment tonight, but i was hoping someone can give me an idea as to what may be causing this. The other 2 cats are fine, no fleas on any of the 3 of them. They all get a bath once a month before we give them their monthly flea drops.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, it sounds to me like he is definitely allergic to *something* and you need to find and isolate whatever the trigger is.

I have a cat who is fine all winter and spring ... but when summer rolls around, she licks her fur thin over her loin and in front of her tail. It is an obvious bug allergy and I did battle with it last year by dosing her more frequently with a flea control (Advantage, active ingred: Imidacloprid) AND spraying a wide margin around my home with a Bayer Advanced product that also uses Imidacloprid. I had some success. This year I plan to spray the home/yard margin regularly and after every rainfall.

All it takes is ONE bite from ONE flea for her to have the allergic reaction and itch.

If you believe your cat is flea-free, I'd take a good, long look at the ingredients list of the Friskies you were feeding and the Blue Buffalo you are now feeding to see what the common denominator is and then find another food that doesn't have that ingredient.

Some cats can be allergic to fish, chicken and corn/grains ... all popular ingredients in cat food. Personally, I think you made a huge leap forward by switching from Friskies to BlueBuff, but now you need to do a little more detective digging to find whatever it is your kitty is reacting to.

The collar may help him heal, but I would be MISERABLE if I were itching like mad and couldn't relieve myself of the itch. I developed medical induced jaundice (a form of liver failure due to my meds) and I itched like CRAZY! I had scratched *bruises* onto my arms, chest, belly, back, buttocks and thighs. I *know* how your cat is feeling. My only cure was halting all meds and then having to wait for those meds to leave my system before I found relief.

I hope you are able to isolate whatever is bothering your kitty and find him relief soon.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can only think of a few possible reasons, aside from a medical cause which your vet is looking into. These include fleas and/or allergies, which Heidi has already covered.

Another possibility (although unlikely from your post) is feline hyperesthesia, which involves biting, licking and chewing of the hair, leading to hair loss and sometimes to severe lesions. I say "unlikely from your post", since this syndrome typically involves other symptoms, none of which you've mentioned...including rippling of the skin over the back, twitching, muscle spasms, strange responses to being touched, etc.

The final possibility is that the compulsive grooming is behavioral and related to stress. Has Audrey undergone any major changes of late that might be causing stress?
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One other thing to add is it is not disrespectful to your original vet if you seek a second or even a third opinion at different veterinary offices.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have two vets for my pets just incase something happens and i need a second opinion. But turns out it is allergies. In san diego this time a year fleas are a big problem. while i was at the vet there were a few other people there and all of them had the exact same problem my cat was having and it was all from being allergic to flea bites. So he got a calamine (sp) shot to ease the itching, and and got some Borax powder for the carpet and furniture.
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