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Obsessive licking, hair gone and skin raw

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  
Casper

Is that a bird I- spy with my- little eye?
 
 
Purred: Mon Jul 2, '12 3:24pm PST 
Hi everyone. About 1-2 weeks ago, we noticed Casper was licking his neck a lot. We didn't think too much of it at the time, but eventually the hair started coming off in that spot. We have tried large band-aids, bandannas, and a bandanna/ gauze wrap combo. Each time, he finds a way to lick and scratch the spot again. We do have an e-collar (cone of shame) left over from when our chihuahua was spayed, but I feel like that would hurt his sore worse. Plus he is already a very light eater, and he rarely drinks water (our fountain broke and he absolutely hates wet food), I feel like this will put him keep him from eating and drinking all together, which would NOT be good.

I really just want to let it heal, and keep it from getting infected. I have read that it could be caused by a food allergy, but he really only eats dry TOTW. He hates the Blue Buffalo and wellness wet food that the other cats eat. He doesn't have fleas either. Maybe it's and emotional thing?

Anyway, does anyone have any ideas of what could be causing this, and how to prevent it from becoming worse? Thanks ahead of time! smile
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Tue Jul 3, '12 5:33am PST 
There are so many things it could be - he needs to see a vet. If your regular vet doesn't have an answer he should see a dermatologist. An allergy can only be diagnosed by eliminating everything else, so it's important to get to the bottom of it and get him some relief.
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Pieces

1149105
 
 
Purred: Tue Jul 3, '12 8:54am PST 
How long has Casper been eating the food you're giving him? Have you switched flavors at all?

My Pieces had the same thing happen to her when we switched the flavors of her food. We thought that that's what the obsessive licking was from. She had an open sore on her neck for so long!

I took her right into the vet and discontinued the food. The vet gave her oral antibiotics for 10days and said to stop the beef flavors we had recently introduced. After 10 days, she continued to scratch at it and lick so I brought her back in. Vet gave a steroid and gave another thing of oral antibiotics that I held on to and never gave her. A different vet recommended giving an antihistamine (I forget the name) and we did. The sore eventually healed which probably took about 2 months or so for the fur to start to grow back.

We realized that when it happened again, and again, and then behind her ear, we realized that it was stress related. When we have guests over, we will give her the antihistamine and keep her in a "safe room" and we've stopped using the air conditioner when she has been in the same room. The slightest thing will set her off. And usually we don't realize it until after the fact. We just keep adding things to the list as stressors!

Good luck! Contact the vet!
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Casper

Is that a bird I- spy with my- little eye?
 
 
Purred: Tue Jul 3, '12 9:12am PST 
Thanks for the help everyone. He has been eating the same food since he was about 9 months old. Before that he ate Blue Buffalo kitten, but he much preferred TOTW. He is now a little over 2 years old, and has never before had any problems before.

We are having family over tomorrow for the fourth, which I hope won't stress him out a ton. I will probably put them all in my room while they are here, that way there is no chance of them getting outside either. He is usually a very relaxed cat, Bella is the one who hates company and loud noise. I was hoping he would heal at home, since money is really tight. However, if he needs to see a vet, that's what we will do. I just want him to be healthy. Thank you everyone.
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Pieces

1149105
 
 
Purred: Tue Jul 3, '12 9:22am PST 
I can't imagine that after being on his current food for that long of a time that it is an allergy to the food. I would check in with the vet to see what they say or do some research to see about stress and how cats react. The antihistamine seems to work great for her. Makes her sleepy but it helps keep her calm and for whatever reason it seems to help her not lick all the time.

We tried the cone and putting a kitty shirt on but it just stressed her out more! GOod luck!
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Tue Jul 3, '12 2:05pm PST 
Pieces, actually it's just the opposite. Cats become allergic only to food they HAVE had before. That's why when you do an elimination diet it has to be a novel protein they've never had. They aren't allergic to things they've never had. Sounds backwards, but that's how it goes. In any event there are too many other things to rule out before you can diagnose allergies. Best of luck to both of you to keep it under control!
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Casper

Is that a bird I- spy with my- little eye?
 
 
Purred: Wed Jul 4, '12 10:16am PST 
He didn't have anything on it last night, and I could hear him licking it all night. It is a bit bigger today, so he will definitely be visiting the vet tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a good outcome! way to go
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Pieces

1149105
 
 
Purred: Wed Jul 4, '12 2:19pm PST 
Good luck!

Thanks BK for clarifying. I had no idea! Maybe Pieces wasn't actually allergic to the food but was more stressed out over the switch. Not sure what happened with Moose though! Thank you again!
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Casper

Is that a bird I- spy with my- little eye?
 
 
Purred: Fri Jul 6, '12 5:14pm PST 
We just got back from the vet! She made a cone out of an old piece of x-ray paper and stapled it up high around his neck so he wouldn't lick it (the e-collar would have rubbed). She also shaved around it, and gave us a liquid steroid/ antibiotic mix to put on the sore. We are supposed to put it on 2x a day for 5 days. She also recommended that we wash off any type if scab that starts to form. If it isn't almost healed by Monday, she is going to come over and give him a steroid injection. I hope it heals well. Thanks for all the help.
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Casper

Is that a bird I- spy with my- little eye?
 
 
Purred: Sun Jul 8, '12 10:27am PST 
Just a little update! The collar she made was slipping down and rubbing on the top part of his sore. Last night we cut it off and made the hole larger, plus we added some gauze to cushion it. He is adjusting well, and it is working much better. We have been trying to wash off the scab, like she said too, but it really seems to just be irritating it worse. Do you think I should just let the scab form? I hope it continues to heal!

Edited by author Sun Jul 8, '12 10:28am PST

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