feline psychogenic alopecia - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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feline psychogenic alopecia

Has anybody else cat suffered from this? my eldest cat Gizmo is 7 and he's had this for years! He's mostly bald on his legs/back the only part where he's got hair is on his head and chest where he can't get to it. He bites himself until he bleeds! I've took him to the vets countless times, he's been on antibiotics, steriods, he's had injections, tried a cone, tried feliway and nothing is helping.. there's no reason for him to be stressed, he gets loves whenever he wants, he's very loving and appears happy apart from the biting. I do stop him when I see him doing it but he does it when I'm out or asleep and I can't stop it then. He's had no trauma or anything like that, he eats and drinks fine it's just the biting. Any advice please?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 01:57 PM
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Hi JessicaMac,

I'm so sorry your Gizmo is having this problem. Gosh it sounds serious, all that biting and all your efforts not working! I've no experience in this, but wondered if you considered anti-anxiety meds with your vet?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 04:12 PM
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I'd look for a new vet. Perhaps a holistic approach is needed, since nothing else has worked so far...

My first thoughts were allergies...but I'm not a vet.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 03:26 PM
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Sorry to say I don't have much advice for you, but we had a similar issue with my Mom's dog once. She bit and licked at her belly til it was raw and bleeding. This went on for a year. We took her to our usual vet multiple times, but they always said it was a flea/mosquito bite and never did anything about it. We finally took her to a different vet, and in one visit they said it was a reaction to a flea/mosquito bite which caused her to itch... which caused her to itch some more... then inflammation developed which caused her to itch some more.... Basically, a vicious cycle. We received, I believe it was... steroid pills and antibiotics on top of a shot that day to help relieve the inflammation.

First day on the pills, she was already showing signs of improvements.

Even if your cat doesn't have this specific problem, taking him to a different vet might help tremendously. Some vets don't want to look for the source of the problem. They just want to get their money and diagnose your pet with something common without really dealing with the issue. Do some research and find what you feel will be a high-quality vet, if you haven't already taken him to a different vet. Good luck.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 04:06 PM
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I've had some issues with Leelu as well when I first took her in. Her belly was bald as well as the inside of her hindlegs and underside of her tail. The vet assumed it was just stress but it actually turned out to be allergies. She had allergy shots for a few years and it very, very slowly grew in again. She's got a couple of spots that stayed bald, but she never broke the skin again.
So my advice would be to rule out allergies to dust and such as well as food. If it's confirmed to be stress or anxiety, I'd put her on meds. Also be careful when you stop her from biting. If you clap or yell, they can get neurotic about it. Best is to not make a big deal, but distract her with a toy or food or something.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2015, 02:45 PM
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Since Gizmo has had this over grooming problem as you say "for years" it's become a comfortable habit for him. A holistic vet may also have a different approach.

Another thing you might tryto prevent belly licking is to find a stretchy tube top (child sized?), infant shirts or a part of a panty hose or nylon stocking with foot cut off that would cover the belly part at least.....tho he may still lick the inside of his legs. Try more active play as well.

There may be some ideas in this article to try.

Cats That Lick Too Much

American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Assoc.
AHVMA Home Page - American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 01:19 AM
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One of my cats was an excessive groomer as well, but just licking, not biting. Her whole tummy and the insides of her hind legs were bald. It started when she was about 7 or 8 and she did it all her life. I think it was stress that originally caused it, but as catloverami said, after a while, it just becomes a habit, and it's virtually impossible to stop. It can also be brought on by boredom, though it doesn't sound like it in Gizmo's case, since it seems like you've had him since he was young (and presumably energetic and not ever bored!).

But the fact that he's biting makes it seem like something's itchy. If you haven't already, I'd do as zuma suggested and have him tested for allergies. It might be something as simple as changing a cleaning product that you're using; some kitties are very sensitive to chemicals. My other cat started pulling out all of her fur at the base of her tail at one point, and it turned out she was allergic to the carpet freshener that I was sprinkling on the carpet (ironically, to get rid of pet odors), and there's another member whose kitty was allergic to the same product.

I hope you figure out what's causing it and that you can find a way to break him of this habit!
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