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Old 09-13-2009, 02:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

Woke up this morning to what looked like WWIII. Clumps of Cassie's hair could be found everywhere. Upon closer inspection of my little darlin', she is missing hair at the back of her neck (about the size of a quarter). It's raw looking, a little bit bloody, and all the hair is missing in that one spot. I have also caught her trying to scratch at the back of her neck on a couple of occasions today.

We purchased Cassie Blue from a Ragdoll breeder almost a year ago. The breeder was looking to rehome Cassie at 11-months-old rather than keep her for breeding since she thought she might be too stressed in the cattery environment (was loosing hair at the back of her neck). I talked it over with my vet at the time, and it was our suspicion that it might not be stress, but rather an allergy since the back of the neck is a difficult area to self-mutilate. So upon bringing Cassie home, I immediately switched her food over to a higher quality diet and she has not had a single break-out since. Until today that is....

Here it is a year later, and I'm seeing what I believe to be the same thing happening. I'm now left wondering if maybe my Cassie Blue suffers from seasonal environmental allergies....? Anyone else have any experience with same time of year allergic flare-ups?
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

My guess is shes digging at her neck due to fleas?
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

Nope, no sign of fleas..... plus she is an indoor only kitty.....
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

I was able to get Cassie in to see her veterinarian today. She took skin scrapings and hair samples. No mites, or bugs. This appears to in fact be an allergy related reaction. Again, has anyone on the forum had a cat that has shown seasonal allergies (flair ups at the same time of year)?
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

I know you said there was no sign of fleas but that would still be my first step. Fleas don't actually live on the pet. They jump on and feed and jump off. Even indoor cats can get them. I live in an apartment on the 3rd floor, have indoor only cats and they have gotten fleas on occasion. You can bring one in one your shoe and viola! If she's allergic, that's all it takes. I would pick up some advantage or Frontline and treat her to be sure. If she's still scratching after a few days she may also need a little benedryl to break the itchy cycle. Call your about that. They may also recommend prednisone although I wouldn't give that unless absolutely necessary.
I would also look at her diet although, if it's really only seasonal...still, getting her on the best diet (preferably raw or wet: meat, no corn, wheat, gluttens, soy fish or chicken and low or no grains) can only help boost her immune system which will help with any allergy.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

There is NO WAY that I'm going to apply frontline to an area where her fur is falling out and her skin raw. What kind of advise is that? I'm against applying pesticides to our pets in general and apply it only sparingly to the dogs (only once every three months during the summer - read the small print on the box... studies have shown the product to be effective against fleas for 90 days. Only 30 days against ticks, so if that's a problem, a person might want to apply monthly. Again, I will not apply to my indoor cats under any circumstances).

Regarding Cassie's food, she is fed Wellness canned, which is grain-free. I've read quite a bit on healthy choices, but have never heard of chicken being a problem...?

Anyway, back to the topic of allergies, or hot spots.... as this is in fact what we are dealing with.... apparently Cassie broke out while living at the breeders home just before her heat cycle. Her breeder was hoping that upon spaying Cassie, it would no longer be a problem and was quite surprised when I contacted her regarding this breakout. She informed me that Cassie's mom also broke out just before her heat cycles, but is now left wondering if there is in fact something seasonal to the outbreaks as well. It's quite a puzzle, that's for certain. Any breeders out there who can relate to anything similar?

For now, we are treating Cassie's wound with a topical anti-itch, anti-inflammatory medication and keeping it covered with a mock turtleneck so she can't scratch the wound open again. Her breeder family did this and after keeping the wound covered for about 10-days, she was able to heal fully on her own.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

Well, I wasn't suggesting you put it on the wound.
Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbie of SD
There is NO WAY that I'm going to apply frontline to an area where her fur is falling out and her skin raw. What kind of advise is that?
I'm just sayin'...there *are* other areas of the cat you can apply a spot-on treatment.
The back of the neck is "preferred" because it is easy for the owner to self-apply and the cat cannot easily groom it off and ingest it, but it certainly *can* be applied elsewhere on the body. Under the neck, or even further back on the body near the root of the tail. If an Elizabethan collar is used for a day or so it will give the product sufficient time to be absorbed. Another method would be to apply the spot-on to the chest/belly and slip the kitty into a tube sock to prevent them ingesting the product.
Because you are against applying meds, this advice as it relates to you is moot...though it may help others who do need to apply a spot-on treatment and need to know how to successfully apply it if they cannot put it on the back of the neck.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbie of SD
Regarding Cassie's food, she is fed Wellness canned, which is grain-free. I've read quite a bit on healthy choices, but have never heard of chicken being a problem...?
...keeping it covered with a mock turtleneck so she can't scratch the wound open again.
First, chicken can give a cat an allergic reaction. It has been shown that people and pets can develop sudden allergies to items they have previously had no problems with. You may want to check out some of the threads that discuss diets/allergies or maybe someone experienced with dietary ingredients will be able to advise you.
I have very little knowledge in that area.
As to "seasonal" and the "turtleneck"...I helped care for my elderly neighbor's cat when it would scratch sores around it's neck every summer. I had a veterinary supplied topical cream and powder I applied, then gauze non-stick bandages, vet-wrap and a tube-sock with parts cut out of the toe and heel to slip over the kitty and hold the bandages in place. It appeared to be an on-going and seasonal/yearly problem. Using the meds and bandages would allow the areas to heal, but she would scratch them open again as soon as the sock-bandage came off and this would last all summer until the cool weather of Fall.
The *3rd* year I helped Owen with his cat I had purchased a spot-on product (Revolution, Frontline or Advantage) for my own housecats because we took in a rescue that gave everyone fleas. I had an extra vial and applied it to my neighbor's cat, just after the first sore appeared. She developed no more sores that year. So Owen and I decided to treat her every summer with a spot-on product and she would be able to remain comfortable all summer without us having to clean, clip, annoint and bandage her at all. Her problem appeared to be a parasitic (flea allergy) one that was solved by using a spot-on treatment.
You need to determine what your kitty is allergically reacting to and research courses of treatment that could include spot-on treatments or dietary changes.
Good luck,
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Cassie is losing hair at the back of her neck

I have this exact same problem! My cat scratches the back of his neck until it leaves a bloody, raw spot. The first time it happened was 2 years ago...around this same time of year. I have taken him to multiple vets and was told that he just had seasonal allergies like humans that cause him to be itchy. He also gets "rodent ulcers" in the spring where his lip swells and his chin gets a rash.

So far the only thing I've been able to do for his neck is to clean it every day, keep his nails trimmed and apply bacitracin to it every night until it starts to heal. If it is especially painful looking or he is just going nuts trying to scratch it, I put some anti-itch healing cream on it as well. The whole thing usually clears up in about 2 weeks (he keeps scratching the scabs off because they're itchy) and then the hair starts to grow back...then nothing until the next fall.
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