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skin 'condition'....mites/fleas??

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone - Hoping someone out there can help. One of my two cats has had black 'flecks' on her tail bone area...noticeable when you pet her and brush or scratch her fur downward in the area. I've noticed this for quite some time now...excusing it away as possibly dirt... She's an all-white cat. Both of my cats are indoor cats as well. Zoe has a tendency to roll around on the floor mat by the entry way - which is always dusty and dirty so I felt 'dirt' was plausible.

Zoe follows me into the bathroom every morning and hops up onto the sink. She likes to get a drink from the sink. Very often I will find the tiniest little blood drop - the size of a pin head. I try to find the source...trying to see her paws to verify if perhaps she's had a tiny little scratch on one of the foot pads that the scab keeps getting taken off. All paws look ok though...

Just recently - in the past few days - she's really been trying to reach back to her tail bone with her mouth....as if it's really irritating her or itching... (she is a little weight challenged so can't really reach it either...and kinda just does a little summersault on the floor trying to reach it). A few of the black flecks were in the sink this morning and when the water hit them they look like blood. Seeing this now I'm thinking the little blood drops noticed before have come from her tail bone area..not her paws afterall....

The uneducated opinion of my bf and I ...perhaps she's been scratched back there and the scabs are flaking off ?(she and Bosco tend to 'play' frequently and it can get rather rough)... The worry wart in me called the vet clinic... discussing it with the receptionist she seems to think it's fleas...especially where there appears to be blood when the flecks get wet. She suggested I just pick up flea treatment and try it.

My concern...if it IS fleas...and I've noticed these flecks for a long time now -- excusing them away - would our entire home not be INFESTED by now?? Wouldn't our other cat Bosco be affected? We pulled back the fur on her tailbone this morning and did see flecks...nothing moving around like fleas...We haven't noticed anything jumping around nor any weird bite marks on our person...

I've tried researching a bit online and I'm just making myself itch like crazy.

Has anyone else experienced something of the same nature? Is it fleas? Could it be something else? Should I have her seen by a vet? The receptionist at the clinic didn't seem to really feel an appointment was necessary...just told me to go get flea treatment. I'd hate to treat unnecessarily when it could be something different. Perhaps I should insist on an appointment first?
post #2 of 17
Could be fleas or dander... what is the brand and type of food feed?? Has your area been unusually dry? FIND a new vet or CALL again and ASK for a tech or a vet on the phone
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, Sharky - I feed them Go Natural dry... it's been a pretty humid summer for us actually. We installed a window air conditioner to 'dry' the humidity in the air though - first summer for a/c.

Would dander be dark? It's fine black flecks...and we did the 'water test'...wetting the flecks and they are bloody.

I read somewhere that cats can get acne on their tails/tail bone area... Bosco, our other fella, had a bout of acne on his chin for a bit...which flaked off similarly. Perhaps it's acne? My bf looked over the whole area (and it appears to be the only area there is this issue) and there doesn't appear to be any marks on the skin at all...
post #4 of 17
If you treat all your cats for fleas as the vet suggested and the black dirt goes away then you will know it was likely fleas. It would be a process of elimination to rule out fleas first then ask the vet to further evaluate her tail area. Hope that takes care of it.
post #5 of 17
That does sound like flea dirt to me. If it's been there awhile and it is indeed flea dirt, then yes, you are probably infested with fleas in your carpeting and soft furniture. You will need to get flea treatment from a vet for the cat and diatomaceous earth to sprinkle and work down into the fibres of your carpeting and upholstery. Buy a flea collar and cut it up to put in your vacuum cleaner and vacuum daily. (Do not put a flea collar on your cat.) Take the vacuum bag outside after each vacuuming and empty it.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oy vey..... the word infestation makes me itch. Here's the thing. That little Zoe of mine doesn't let me out of her site. She's affectionate (with me)...she's ALWAYS with me...she's on my lap - she sleeps at my feet....she's in my closet...Dear God above. I really appreciate your comments folks...

I just figured if I'm 'infested' I should see the little friggers jumping around. I figured Bosco would also be affected...our rabbit.... even a few bites on myself or my bf -- but none of that......

I'm picking up the flea treatment after work....will see what they have on site to treat the rest of the house. Question...I have a short window of time to get home with the treatment before I'm leaving the house again...so can't do an excessive "clean up" tonight.... should I wait to treat the animals tomorrow night and follow that with clean up...Or should I treat tonight and clean tomorrow?
post #7 of 17
My thought would be to treat ALL animals tonight and clean as soon as you can. That way the animals would be protected from any fleas that might be in the house. Best to you on getting flea free.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey folks - so both cats and rabbit have had their first round of Advantage flea treatment. The scruff looks really greasy...I've read a few other threads and people have advised to wipe the area, or in some cases bathe them. We just gave the treatment at about 6:30 tonight -- should I wait a certain period of time before doing that? Is it still "working" through the coat?? Bosco often grooms Zoe -- and I fear he may try to lick it and I know you're not supposed to let the cat ingest it... I was out all evening too, so now am paranoid that they may have groomed each other...
post #9 of 17
Don't bathe anybody! You soon won't see the Advantage. It doesn't matter if they groom each other, or themselves, it won't hurt them.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
One of my two cats has had black 'flecks' on her tail bone area...
Quote:
A few of the black flecks were in the sink this morning and when the water hit them they look like blood.
This is flea poo, they eat the cat's blood, so when water hits their poo it turns back into blood.


Quote:
... it's been a pretty humid summer for us actually.
Fleas THRIVE when it's hot and humid.

That is 100% fleas.

Not sure if the Advantage will make the black flecks go away.... but since they are now on Advantage the flea cycle has been stoped, which means no NEW flea poop. Over time though, the flecks that are currently on your cat might fall off/be groomed off.

I would not wash a cat that has just been treated with Advantage... I know they claim it won't wash off... but my money comes to hard to experiment and find out, lol. The greasy spot, where you put the Advantage is normal... It will 'dry' over the next few days. I have 5 cats that get treated with Advantage and have not had any problems with them trying to wash it off of each other.

If your cats have had fleas for a while, it is very possible that they have tapeworms... I would either get a fecal done or just get a dose of worm meds(from the vet!) for the cats. Never use OTC worm meds, many cats have died from this, not to mention that they don't work.

This is very important, I feel it needs to be repeated:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
If it's been there awhile and it is indeed flea dirt, then yes, you are probably infested with fleas in your carpeting and soft furniture. You will need to get flea treatment from a vet for the cat and diatomaceous earth [food grade] to sprinkle and work down into the fibres of your carpeting and upholstery. Buy a flea collar and cut it up to put in your vacuum cleaner and vacuum daily. (Do not put a flea collar on your cat.) Take the vacuum bag outside after each vacuuming and empty it.
Good luck! I am glad that you care so much about your babies!

Edit: If the flecks are still there when it is time to put next months Advantage on, I would wash the cat(s). Origional Dawn works well and kill fleas too! Rinse well though.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
I can't thank you all enough for your thoughts and replies, and patience with my questions. Although I've adored cats all of my life, I was never allowed pets growing up, so my two babies are the first cats I've had...and this is our first flea problem. And yes, I'm admitting now that it is fleas...and I saw a few of the little friggers in Zoe's fur. Big clean up coming tonight and into this weekend. Another question...I have read that the Advantage doesn't actually kill the flea until they bite the cat... how quickly do they die off after the bite? We treated last evening and this morning I saw one moving on Zoe's fur. Should I be brushing/combing the cats?
post #12 of 17
Yep fleas. One tell tale sign is the black flecks turning red..they are dried blood from the fleas.

I feel for you! Hang in there, and treat it as best you can with advice from here.

Gooc luck!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunshine_Amber View Post
I can't thank you all enough for your thoughts and replies, and patience with my questions. Although I've adored cats all of my life, I was never allowed pets growing up, so my two babies are the first cats I've had...and this is our first flea problem. And yes, I'm admitting now that it is fleas...and I saw a few of the little friggers in Zoe's fur. Big clean up coming tonight and into this weekend. Another question...I have read that the Advantage doesn't actually kill the flea until they bite the cat... how quickly do they die off after the bite? We treated last evening and this morning I saw one moving on Zoe's fur. Should I be brushing/combing the cats?
I can't answer how quickly they will die, but they will die. Just ensure you treat your cats every month for a few months to ensure you have the problem under control. You can take a fine toothed comb (the one you would use for nits/lice) comb it through the cats and dip the comb into soapy water. The soap creates a film on the water that the fleas can't jump out of and they will drown. Dip the comb after each pass through the fur. Most folks recommend original Dawn dishwashing liquid as it has been proven safe for animals and wildlife folks use it to bathe animals that have been victims of oil spills.

If you can get the diatomaceous earth down into your rugs and furniture it will help quickly. I used it on an area where ants were coming in and they were gone within an hour.
post #14 of 17
If it's a bad flea problem, Advantage can be re-applied in a week. It says so in the pamplet that is in the box.

I think it takes 12-24 hours for Advantage to kill them, it's wrote on the box somewhere,

Good luck, fleas are no fun!
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatKisses View Post
If it's a bad flea problem, Advantage can be re-applied in a week. It says so in the pamplet that is in the box.

I think it takes 12-24 hours for Advantage to kill them, it's wrote on the box somewhere,

Good luck, fleas are no fun!
I would recommend asking your vet about this regardless of what is written on the box since most of those treatments are measured by age/weight. For instance, Bijou and Mika each had a different dosage because he was 20 lbs and she was only 8-9 lbs.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi again -- so it's been 4 days since the Advantage treatment - and Zoe is still scratching and biting at her back end...should I be concerned? Perhaps it's residual itching from the previous bites? She has a lot of flea dirt on her skin...and it's not just concentrated on her butt end, like I originally thought. Bosco still doesn't appear to be affected (nor has he previously).
post #17 of 17
I would take her in to be sure.

Advantage never takes that long for me. I am pretty sure that the other cat would have flea dirt on him too, fleas hop from host to host. If you want to be sure about the other cat, wet a white paper towel and wipe his back, right where the tail meets the back. If it looks bloody he has fleas too.

Have you switched foods reccently? Have you changed anything at all that she comes into contact with, such as blankets washed in a new powder or something? Yeah, she has fleas, but maybe that isn't why she is digging?

I would get to the vet before she made sores.
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