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Discussion Starter #1
One of the first posts I ever had on this board was about Sabby's licking problem. Let me recap.

About two years ago, Justin and I noticed that if we scratched a certain spot on Sabby's back (right by his tail) he would start licking his paws. He stopped as soon as we stopped scratching. He didn't appear to have any control over it. We thought it was kind of cute and funny. Then he seemed to get more sensitive. If we were petting him and stroked from his neck to his tail, he would lick his paws. Lately, it's gotten really bad. I can't even touch his back side anymore. When I pick him up and try to support him by cradling him under his bottom, he licks his paws. So I don't pick him up and carry him anymore. I've gotten my skin between his tongue and paws and that little raspy tongue hurts.

Now he'll be sitting down and suddenly he'll get this wild look in his eyes, start thrashing back and forth like he's got an itch he can't scratch, then falls over backwards and starts licking his paws. But because he fell over backwards, the carpet is rubbing the spot on his back and he rolls back and forth from side to side licking his paws. Here's some pictures to give you an idea of what he's doing:




Yesterday I got home and he's done this so much and so hard that he's actually opened a wound on one paw. It's all bloody. I've seen two vets about it and they just think it's funny and laugh. Then they charge me for an office visit. I don't think it's funny anymore. It's becoming downright horrifying because he can't control it and he doesn't like it. It causes him pain.

I've tried to distract him with his favorite toys, and that seemed to work at first, but if anything comes in contact with that spot (which has grown to cover his entire bottom half along his back) he immediately drops whatever he's doing and starts rolling around on the ground licking his paws. It's always his front paws, never the back ones. If he's on his belly he licks the back of his paws and if he's on his back he licks around his pads. When he really gets going he starts to gnaw.

I'm worried that this is beginning to effect his quality of life. He still eats and sleeps soundly, but he spends a huge amount of the day dealing with this problem.

I'm looking for any advice. ANYTHING! I just really need some help from people who don't think it's funny or cute.
 

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This probably won't be very helpful, but Cleo used to be very sensitive on her back too and would cry if I touched it. This was because she was so overweight that she could not clean it at all. Would Sabby let you wash his back? I know it might be too sensitive now to do that. It helped Cleo a bit.
I have had my cats on a strict diet for about 6 months now. After Cleo lost about a pound, her back hurt her a lot less. Maybe this could be helped by working on Sabby's diet again. I know it is hard, especially because he is diabetic. Do you have him totally on wet food now? My cats are now on a 90% wet food diet and they have been losing about 1/2 lb per month. Maybe giving him salmon oil tablets might help too, because his skin might be really dry there too. Does he have dandruff at all?
Other than that, I can't give you any more ideas. I agree that this is no longer funny. Have you told your vet that you don't find this amusing and that you are considering taking your business elsewhere because of their insensitivity?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks queen of the nile. At this point, anything will be helpful. I've got Sabby on 100% wet food. He's been on it for a couple months now. I haven't noticed much weight loss, but I only weigh him when he goes to the vet for his checkups. He was exactly 19 pounds when I took him a few weeks ago. He'll go back again in six months to have his blood glucose tested. I can give him bath. I didn't want to because I was afraid that would dry out his skin and cause more problems. Or even cause him to stick his nose under water to get to his paws. But I'll give it a try. He's gonna be so mad at me!

He has a little bit of dandruff. It seems to get better as the weather gets warmer. Where do you think I might find salmon oil tablets?

I normally don't do confrontations like you suggested, but I don't think I really have anything to lose with this veterinary clinic. I used to love it, but the guy who founded it (a wonderful vet, even Sabby seemed to like him) has retired and the vet who diagnosed Sabby's diabetes (and whom I adored) has left the clinic to go to one closer to her home. It's a very good clinic, but I could look elsewhere.
 

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One of our cats does the exact same thing. She has never licked her paw to the point of bleeding though. I just recently switched them to a different food and have noticed that her skin is looking worse, so I am thinking she may have a food allergy. Have you considered this with Sabby? Just thought I would mention that as a possibility.

Melissa
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks lonehowl. I don't want to dismiss the idea that he's allergic to something in his food, but this problem has been developing over the past two years. In that time he has been on Purina Cat Chow, Purina DM, Eukanuba, Bil-Jac, Chicken Soup, Hills I/D (canned), and Wellness (canned). The problem hasn't yo-yo'd at all; it's just progressively and steadily gotten worse.

But that leads me to think it might have something to do with his diabetes, since I noticed the problem around the time he was diagnosed.

:?:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think I might. I've spoken to two already (my original vet, Dr. Rehmer) and another vet from the same clinic. I think I'll ask around my co-workers and friends and see who they go to and recommend.
 

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Fleas??? all it takes is one... could of come off your clothing or anything. I would say try advantage or something like that. My dog had the same scratching problem. That might help some...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I gave him a bath last night. He's all soft and fluffy now, but his behavior is the same.

I'll check for flea dirt tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi. Me again. I'm thinking it's nerve damage. I'm doing a lot of busy work at my desk today and it's giving me a lot of time to think.

When he was a kitten, Sabby liked having that spot scratched. We eventually scratched him bald. He didn't like being scratched there after that.

About 6-7 years ago, he had an accident that dislocated both of his legs. He could barely walk and his tail hung straight down. The vet I took him to said that it would heal on it's own and it did, but his legs have never looked the same after that.

I'm not sure if either of these things caused this to happen. I wonder if maybe it's a cross between some nerve damage that was caused by either or both of these incidences and diabetic neuropathy. Or maybe it's just diabetic neuropathy of a sort the vets I've seen haven't seen before. I haven't got a clue and I can't find anything online.

It's so frustrating to not know what I'm dealing with. Like if I knew I could fix it. I don't know what to do. I've been asking my co-workers if they had any good vets they recommend. They don't really... I found a cat-only clinic near here and I might try them if this continues to get worse (which it probably will).
 

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Hey, Annissa, I haven't visited this forum for a while but caught your posts...

Fleas is indeed the usual suspect with itching at the tail base. Don't know where you are in the wide world, but it only takes a single flea bite to cause a severe reaction in a flea-allergic cat. You might not even find any flea dirt. If you are in a flea area and haven't been diligent about treating cat and environment, this would be a major possibility.

Food allergies are still a possibility; the primary culprits are chicken, beef, fish, wheat, corn. It won't be easy to find a food that doesn't contain these, but maybe you can find a vet who offers IVD. Any of their hypoallergenic canned foods would be okay for Sabby's diabetes (although not terrific since they contain green peas, which are pretty sugary). However, that might be a reasonable compromise.

Fish oil you can get at any health food store, live or online.

I would also consider homeopathy, particularly with his history of injury in the area. PM me and I will refer you to an excellent homeopath.

If your *new* vet concludes that this a behavior (obsessive-compulsive) problem, flower essences could be very helpful. I'd be happy to work with you on that.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Dr. Jean. I think I might have found some flea dirt on him last night. It's hard to tell since he rolls around so much. He could've gotten fleas when I took Kat to the vet. She had fleas and I might've brought some home with me. The rolling around started about then.

I'm willing to try just about anything to solve this. It seems to bother him so much.
 

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We had a dog that did that. The dog ended up being allergic to fleas. Took him to the vet and got him some Advantage and he stopped chewing up his paws and backside.
 

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Update: I've got Sabby on Revolution flea medication and I've been combing him daily with a flea comb. I haven't seen any fleas, so I'm not sure he's got them, but the flea comb is doing a great job of pulling out dead hair and skin and that seems to be helping (you should've seen what I pulled out of his coat...yuck!!!). This morning he got that look in his eyes again and just about flipped over onto his back. At the last second, he straightened up. Then he laid on his side and licked one paw, but didn't roll around. So that's really a relief. He still licks when I touch the base of his tail, but it's not nearly as bad as it was. I'll keep this up for a while longer and see if it gets any better.
 

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Sabby's licjing problem

Annissa, I'm so glad to hear your little sweetie (or big sweetie :) ) is getting better.
Do hope the improvement continues.

seashell
 
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