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Help - Cat has dry flaky skin

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My mom's cat (used to be mine until I got married and moved out) is about 9 years old and has recently developed a serious skin issue. It started on her neck and now goes all the way down her back. She basically has really flaky, dry skin that obviously itches her. When we comb her or scratch her back the flaky skin just comes right off along with all the hair attached to that patch. My mom will comb her, get all the dead skin off and in a few days all the dry skin will be back.

We've taken her to the vet twice and they've given her one allergy shot (she also at the time had a runny nose and eyes) and when her skin didn't clear up, we took her back. This time they told us to try putting fish oil on her dry food (she's dry food only) and it hasn't seemed to make any difference.

She's always had a beautiful coat and has been very healthy (maybe a little overweight), but this skin condition just flared up in the last few months and she has no other symptoms that we can see. Does anyone have any suggestions on what this could be?

post #2 of 12
At 9 has she had a senior blood panel done in the last six months???

If not start there ....

What kind of food is she eating??? Is it adult or senior??
post #3 of 12
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
At 9 has she had a senior blood panel done in the last six months???

If not start there ....

What kind of food is she eating??? Is it adult or senior??
Ditto. Plus you might consider a possibility of an allergy to her litter. I don't know how common that is, but I did encounter an issue lately myself so I thought I would mention it.
post #4 of 12
You may need to do an allergy diet trial — that's at least eight weeks of feeding only an allergenic diet, such as the Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea Allergy Diet or a prescription one you get from your vet — to rule out food allergies.
post #5 of 12
For grins:
My son's dog had a couple of dry flaky patches on several areas. Didn't look like ringworn to the vet or to me, but he decided to treat it with a topical spray twice a day. We were told it wouldn't hurt if it was the wrong treatment, that it would look worse be before it got better.
I am amazed to say it has worked. Over a 6 week period, the fur is back in and looks great.
The vet said to treat it as if it was very contagious so we wouldn't get it (none of us did).
Might be worth a try.

We also have vet dermatologists here. That might be an option - or a vet school.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses so quickly.

She's definitely had senior blood work done, but it's probably been closer to a year ago rather than 6 months. But everything looked good then. She is also eating senior food, although, my mom changed that not too long before the skin problem came up, so I guess it could be that food. I can't remember the brand, but I think we should start there.

The litter allergy is also something I hadn't considered. I don't think she's changed the type of litter, but she could probably develop an allergy to it.

Thanks so much for all the great suggestions. I'll come back and update after we change foods.
post #7 of 12
I don't know if it will help but I have had great luck with jojoba oil (pure) for skin issues on cats. Morris had some dry, hard scabs on his back with lots of flakes and I tried some. I had a bottle myself for treating my own dry skin so I checked it out and it is non-toxic to cats. After two doses the problem went away, and has stayed away. I just rubbed some oil into the bad spots and literally within a few days it was better.
I gave the same stuff to a friend of mine who's older, long haired cat had the same issue, only much worse. She was going bald on her back from all the scabbing. I haven't asked her recently how it is working, but she saw a difference after the first time and more improvement after the second. I'll have to check in with her to see how Fluffy is doing now.
Fluffy gets very stressed when going to the vet so my friend was looking for an alternative.

I hope this helps!

post #8 of 12
My 16 yr. Old has develoed flaky skin when I comb her. Any suggestions of something to add in her food like fish oil?
post #9 of 12
My 16 yr. Old has developed flaky skin when I comb her. Any suggestions of something to add in her food like fish oil?
post #10 of 12
What's she currently eating?

It might be better, in the end, to switch her food rather than add something to it. dontknow.gif Animals' skin and coats are an outward reflection of health, just like our skin and hair is. smile.gif While we can address these with supplements and lotions, it's usually best, long term, to address them through diet.

But if you don't want to worry about transitioning a 16-year old cat to new food, you can consider Evening Primrose Oil. It is high in GLA (an omega 6 with anti-inflammatory properties like an omega 3), which has been shown to help skin and coat (and in people, skin and hair):

I'd start with 500mg of Evening Primrose oil.

If you want to use salmon oil in addition to Evening Primrose Oil, I recommend Pure Alaska Omega
post #11 of 12

does your cat eat wet food or dry food? My old cat would have dry skin / dandruff and I realized later that it was mostly because of his dry food diet. If you are not feeding mostly grain-free wet (or raw) food, maybe consider switching. 

post #12 of 12
Does the Primrose Oil or Alaska salmon oil get placed in her wet or dry food or does it need to be administered orally? She is extremely hard to pill. Could it be dropped in her water? She was placed on SO Urinary (wet and dry food) by her veterinarian due to a slightly elevated lab to prevent or prolong the onset of renal failure.
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