Scratching his neck and back raw... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2005, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 10
Scratching his neck and back raw...

Hi, everyone. I'm new to this site, and I did a search to see if I could find people discussing this problem. I didn't find much that seemed to fit, so forgive me if this has already been covered extensively.

I have a male cat that we adopted quite some time ago. He was a give-up, not a stray, and based on the estimate we were given, he should be somewhere around 4.5 years old. He is not declawed, and we keep his claws trimmed as best we can, but he fights a lot, and the claw trimming does not seem to resolve the problem I am about to explain.

He scratches himself bloody in spots, pulling off big clumps of fur and leaving scabs. He does this with his hind legs, and the spots he does it on are the face just below the ear (not as bad, fur has not come off this area) and on his neck/shoulder area (the worst -- two spots that are rather large, much bigger than the size of a quarter).

He did this before, but only on his face. We tried to use an e-collar to keep him from getting at his face, and it was clear he still wanted to scratch the areas because he would scratch the plastic of the collar. He also was a master of getting out of that collar. He would back into the area behind the couch, where the collar was too big but he was not and slip backwards out of it! After several weeks of fighting with him and using the e-collar, it healed a bit, we took it off, and he left it alone for a while.

Now' he's doing it again, but much worse. He is entirely an indoor cat, and we don't think he's getting into things that might itch. There are no fleas, and our other cat does not seem to itch like this.

We're at the end of our rope! We're going to try to get him to the Vet on Friday to see what might be wrong and get some advice on how this can heal (e-collar will not work this time since the worst wounds are on the shoulder area, beyond where the e-collar goes). In the mean time, can anyone help us? He is obviously scratching because something itches him and the scratching just makes the scabs worse and worse.

Please, we will be grateful for any advice offered. A week is a long time for him to continue to mutilate himself.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2005, 04:14 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,986
Aw poor guy.
Is there anyway you could move up the vet appointment? Only the vet can accurately diagnose the problem, but my first guess would be either allergies or ringworm or something similar.
When you call to set up the apppointment you might want to ask them if they have any ideas how to keep him comfortable until Friday.

Jennifer and the monsters
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2005, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 10
I wish! Unfortunately, both of us are students and work full time. With no leave available, we only have Friday or Sunday, and we can't find a vet open on Sunday except emergency care.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-12-2005, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,236
Hi, Teriwyn: Unfortunately, I know exactly how frustrating this situation is. We've been dealing with Binx's spots for about 4 months now. Here's a link to a recent thread I started, to bring you up to speed:

Of course, always rule out ringworm, but I've been told that the fungus usually doesn't have scabs. Your little guy's problem sounds more like allergies. But, always consult a vet just to be sure!

I did my own research, since the vet just kept telling me to watch it and put Animax on it. From what I found, they might be hot spots due to allergies. The allergies can be caused by anything from fleas to dust mites to foods. So, we treated the boys with Frontline Plus, and noticed that cut down a lot on the itching and licking, but did not stop it.

Then, I read that for the hot spots, you should trim or shave the hair from around the scabs to make sure they get enough air to dry out. You don't want them to stay moist. Clean the wounds with a mild cleanser (I used Johnson&Johnson baby soap on the localized area), then rinse thoroughly. Then dry as much as you can with a towel and you can apply something like Animax if you want, but I didn't because the wet feeling makes Binx lick more. Finally, to reduce itch in the hot spots, use a cool wet cloth as a compress for a few minutes twice a day until you see a reduction in itching. After it has reduced, I just use the compress if I catch him licking or itching the spots. He stops after I take the compress off (on about 30 seconds) and lightly scratch around the area a little just to let him know that I know it's a problem for him.

After following these steps, the little guy's spots are finally healing up after 4 months of being constant wounds on his shoulders and back! I really hope this helps you. If not, check with your vet about getting a Cortizone shot--we don't like doing that unless absolutely the last straw.

Good luck! I hope your furbaby is better soon!
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