Cat licking his fur.
Breed: Tuxedo male
Age: 2-5 years
My 4 year old tuxedo cat has always been quite special (he meows alot and plays fetch with headbands). Anyway, he's always had dry skin and his fit has a large amount of dander. Within thr past few months he has been licking himsel excessively to the point where he has now lost all of his fur on his stomach, and his hind inner legs ad well as a chunk on his side. At first the vet thought it was a hot patch so they treated it with cordazone shot and steroids. It didn't help for more than a week. He's had flea baths, fleas medicine from the vet and I even flea bombed the house. As of now he doesn't appear to have fleas but he keeps losing his fur. I changed his food thinking that would help but it didnt. I feel horrible because he seems in pain when he constantly licks himself and scratches. I'm not sure what could be wrong. He's been to the vet over 3-5 times now. Please help so my little man can feel better. Thank you so much
Dr. Marie replied:
Oh the poor guy! It sounds like a frustrating case especially considering you have been to the vet so many times!
I won't be able to give you a diagnosis but I can give you a few of my thoughts.
It's not uncommon to have a cat overgroom the legs and belly because of "stress". I say stress in quotes because often these cats live a life that to us looks perfectly stress free. Sometimes putting these cats on some type of anti-anxiety medication such as Amitriptylline or Reconcile can make a big difference. Often the medication is only short term and once the skin is back to normal we can wean the cat off of medicine.
Another thing to ask your vet about is the possibility of a parasite called Demodex. I used to think that Demodex in cats was quite rare, or something that was only seen in the southern US. However, it can be seen in many parts of the world and often goes misdiagnosed. Demodex is diagnosed by having your vet do a skin scraping.
Does Levy have lesions (like raw red spots or areas of skin?). If so this may be some sort of an eosinophilic plaque. These usually do respond to steroids but I have had some cats that need to have several steroid shots two weeks apart in order to be treated completely.
The next step as I see it would be to ask your vet to do a biopsy of the affected areas of skin. This almost always gives us a reason for what is going on and then we should know exactly how to treat it.
I hope things improve soon!
QUIZ: Is your cat secretly planning to murder you?
Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.