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Is this a flea problem?

Species: Cat
Breed: mix
Age: 2-5 years
My small 3 year old in door cat very recently survived a bout with flea anemia. We took care of the flea problem in the house, had him washed, dipped, and then treated with Sentry Purrscriptions Plus squeeze on flea protection. He now spends 24/7 in our bathroom on the ironing board. He will come up to eat and use the box. He is very alert and talkative when we pick him up or go in the room. I think the bathroom thing is because it was the only place with out carpet and he is up high from the ground, but I have now notice an excessive amount of shedded hair and black and white sandy stuff all over the ironing board...is this dander and just a summer shedding or could it be a skin condition possibly from the flea infestation? Is there something I can do for him?

Related Article: Your Pet Has Fleas!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for your question. Fleas can certainly be frustrating to deal with!

What you are describing may indeed be still due to fleas. The "white sandy stuff" could be flea eggs. Of course, dander is possible as well, but a normal healthy cat should not suddenly be leaving dander like this.

I'd like you to do a little test for me. Get a paper towel and put it underneath Louie. Then, vigorously rub the fur on his back just in front of his tail. Collect anything that falls off of him on the paper towel. Are there any black flecks on the towel? If so, put a few drops of water on them and see if you can smear them. If they smear and make a rusty color then this is flea dirt.

The flea product that you used (Sargents Sentry Purrscriptions Plus) is really not a great flea product. Unfortunately most products that you can buy in the pet store don't work 100%. I would highly advise getting a perscription product such as Advantage, Revolution or Frontline from your vet and then using this product monthly for at least 3 months.

It is also possible that there is something else going on. Do you know if he has completely recovered from the anemia? If a cat is not feeling well we will often see that the coat is not as healthy and there will be more shedding and dander. So, if you don't see any flea dirt then I would suggest another vet visit to have your vet make sure that he is ok.

I hope everything works out for you!

I will be heading offline now, but if you have more concerns let me know and I will reply in the morning.

Dr. Marie.


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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.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.