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Tigger has a skin condtion.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've been participating in online automotive forums for years, now, and I've learned a lot about cars. As long as this cat action has been going on, I can't believe I hadn't thought about a cat forum sooner. Hopefully you experts can help me figure this out.

I've had Tigger going on nine years, now, since she was a kitten. The last of a litter of supposedly "half-siamese" kittens, she was an orange and white little furball with blue eyes. They turned orange a couple weeks later, but she's still smart as a whip. I like to think she got the Siamese attitude and alley cat swagger.

For the longest time (approximately 3+ years), she's had this sort of skin condition on her back. When you go to scratch her anywhere behind her shoulder blades, she will sort of nip and begin to aggressively groom her front paws. She has some hair loss between her shoulder blades and along her rear flanks. It's minimal hair loss, but there appears to be a random patch of dry skin in the shoulder blade area, otherwise, there is no discoloration or spotting of any kind. At one point, I was married to a groomer and we would shave her down, bathing her monthly with a medicated shampoo of some sort (Maleseb?). Can't say I remember it doing anything.

After the wife left us, I continued to use a slicker brush on brush her. She is a short haired cat, but there would be plenty of hair on the brush and she would act much more at ease afterwards. One day I noticed the metal wire brush was removing these patches of dry skin and there would be a little blood. Not bleeding, mind you, but seeing fresh blood on the surface made me feel horrible. Switched to a plastic brush with much softer bristles.

I've seen threads mentioning ringworm, but this has been going on for some time and no one in the house (including another cat) has any symptoms. I have just recently noticed what looks to be flea droppings in her fur at the base of her tail, but can see no fleas. Furthermore, I'm unable to get any of these small, darker flecks off so that I might get them wet on paper to see if they are dried blood, which I've seen before in another cat that did have fleas. Again, the other cat shows no symptoms. I would think, as long as this has been going on, ringworm would have showed up on the other cat or myself.

She is overweight and a vet one time told me that she was, perhaps, too fat to groom herself, but I've kept an eye on her and she is fully capable of fully grooming herself. She is on prescription Science Diet R/D and gets 1/4C in the morning and a bit less than that in the evening when I come home from work.

While she can groom herself just fine, she seems to neglect her backside a bit. On the higher fiber R/D, it's not so bad, but a couple days of Iams or other retail "premium" food results in the "Hershey Squirts." On that note, she and Scout (her buddy) have been using the Arm&Hamer scoopable litter for years now. It's all I buy. Not sure if this is the "cheap, clay litter" I read mentioned elsewhere as a potential allergen.

She's my little buddy and I feel like such a troll for not addressing this sooner, but, for the most part, she's a healthy cat. I can just tell she's uncomfortable and I'd like to make sure she's okay seeing as she's getting up in years. If anything, I'd suspect the issue that most bothers her manifests itself between her shoulders and she is overcompensating elsewhere, resulting in hair loss.

Thank you for taking the time to read such a long post, but I wanted to give as much information as possible, based on what I've read in the search. pictures below.

Tigger chillin' just now while I surf.

The dry spot on the shoulder blades (towards the right edge of the bald spot).

Scout (perfectly healthy, thin, quiet and stereotypical cat on the left) and Tigger (Chubby at right, annoyed at the flash).
post #2 of 18
some cats are allergic to fleas, has she been treated for fleas i know my little black cat is. so a good flea/house treatment is essential you've probably thought about that before but just thought id throw that in
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Flea allergy, eh? I guess I had considered it. The previous owners of the house had a large, shaggy dog that spent a lot of time outside, so maybe she picked something up from him, but the hair loss has been going on for some time longer than we've been in this house.

Thanks for the reply!
post #4 of 18
not a problem! hope you find a solution but cats are complex creatures arn't they could be lots and lots of things
have a quick look see if this helps any

http://i-love-cats.stores.yahoo.net/catlosingfur.html

i know the cat isnt starting to lose fur but it has a number of reasons why it could be happening (including phsycological)
post #5 of 18
DR1665: This could be multiple things, and it very well could take time to find the culprit(s).

What is the reason for her being on the Hills RX food?

She does look to be overweight, being of proper weight only encourages better health.
As someone mentioned it could be a flea allergy, but if she has any overly agitated skin or open wounds on her I would not recommend applying anything such as frontline/advantage, etc until the skin is healed.
But if flea's seem to be a problem for her then you might want to look into using more natural products like neem which is good for several kinds of biting insects, I use it with wonderful results.

She could also just need additional supplements to her diet for skin and coat specifically.

It might also be an allergy of some type, be it an airborne, or contact or food allergy, the list is endless.
A cat can be allergic to anything, just as a human can be, even if she was once not allergic she can form new allergies.
Looking into a proper change of diet, might help if it's a food allergy/sensitivity. There are several ways to go about doing that.

You should work closely with your vet on this issue.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
She's on the R/D (for over a year, now) for being overweight. I've got her on less than half a cup a day, but she's not really losing any weight. Maybe it's inactivity.

Last vet she saw said this was because she was overweight, but that it could be allergies and wanted abotu $500 to do a battery of tests. Didn't have it then. Don't have it now, but might have to figure out a way to get it.

I'm not 100% on the fleas, but I'll be giving a closer look tonight. I've also done some reading up on that Psychogenic Alopecia stuff. She's just eccentric enough that it might her issue.

I'm going to see if I can't get some of the flecks onto paper to test if it is, in fact, flea excriment. I'm also going to give her some extra attention to see if her mood improves. Maybe she's just bored or looking for attention. The last couple years have been pretty tough. We haven't spent much time chillin' lately.
post #7 of 18
Firstly, in all the years you've had her has she been on flea control? If not, it could be fleas. Indoor cat or not, you can bring fleas in on yourself from outside.

She could have allergies, inhaled or food. So it would be worth while switching her food. I would take her off the r/d and put her on a wet food diet. There's tons of preomium foods out there, Natural Balance, California Natural, Felidae. She'll lose weight if you don't free feed her dry, and getting a wet diet. One of the members cats on here lost 10lbs doing a diet switch.

It sounds to me like allergies, especially if she has always had this issue.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plebayo
Firstly, in all the years you've had her has she been on flea control? If not, it could be fleas. Indoor cat or not, you can bring fleas in on yourself from outside.
Sadly, I have not had her on flea control. I've been fortunate enough that, in having cats all my life, I've only had a couple isolated infestations on a single cat at a time. I know it's an issue with all pets, indoors or out, but I've not been directly affected. Like I said, I will be checking her out for flea droppings tonight and adjusting course accordingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plebayo
She could have allergies, inhaled or food. So it would be worth while switching her food. I would take her off the r/d and put her on a wet food diet. There's tons of preomium foods out there, Natural Balance, California Natural, Felidae. She'll lose weight if you don't free feed her dry, and getting a wet diet. One of the members cats on here lost 10lbs doing a diet switch.
I'd consider that, but as I posted above, on anything other than this high fiber R/D, she gets "the runs." It's bad. I have had a tab open on the browser for a couple hours on Pro Pac, but have not had a chance to read any of it due to customers being morons. (I'm sorry, but your loan processor can either process your loan or talk to you about it. One gets the loan closed, the other makes you feel important at the cost of further delays. Food for thought. Show your loan processor some love. They'll appreciate it.)

Thanks for all the information this afternoon, folks. It is appreciated.
post #9 of 18
DR1665:
As far as the Hills r/d goes, I know several cats whom were put on that diet who never lost any weight. I'm not a fan of most prescription foods to start with, but sometimes they certainly do work when nothing else will.
Canned food is better for weight loss then dry kibble due largely to the k/cal (calorie) content.
Look for a canned food that is low in fat, k/cals, higher in fiber and highly digestible all around.
Exercise is very important for well being, that can't be avoided, have you tried making her work for her meals?

Perhaps it's time to look into doing a diet at home with the help of a nutritionist if your lucky enough for it to be a food allergy, a process of elimination diet can be a good bet to find any triggers that cause her skin issues.
post #10 of 18
DR1665:

If your vet only wants to work with perscription diets. Have him look into thise one from Wysong.
http://www.wysong.net/PDFs/adivase.pdf
post #11 of 18
a lot of greif of cats health could be sorted by just giving the cat meat to eat! just try giving him/her chicken roasted in the oven (in foil) cats are meant to eat meat and its probably cheaper than catfood if you make it yourself and freeze it
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggeroo
a lot of greif of cats health could be sorted by just giving the cat meat to eat! just try giving him/her chicken roasted in the oven (in foil) cats are meant to eat meat and its probably cheaper than catfood if you make it yourself and freeze it
If you make your own catfood you must really be sure you know what you are doing. Cats need Taurine and they won't get much of that from your roasted chicken. There are some folks here that feed a raw diet and either buy it pre-frozen or make it themselves. The ones that make it themselves have done their research and know what additional ingredients to put in the food for the health of their cats.

Don't ever just feed cats (or dogs either for that matter) "people" food.
post #13 of 18
YOU NEED TO TALK AND OR SEE YOUR VET ... I am not yelling but this seems to have slipped the other minds...

R/D is an Rx prescribed by a dr for wt mgmt and can be used for other things... Other brands do make higher than normal fiber control /wt control foods ....

Before taking kitty off the RX you need to talk and or se the vet ... Yes I beleive wet is better for wt control but at this pt you need to have a vet visit both wt and what I think is a granuloma( not a dianosis by any means)
post #14 of 18
1) see what your vet has to say other then the allergy tests, ask about other foods you can try. Remember the vet may try and get you to buy foods like Iams and Purina which are not very healthy premium quality foods.

2) I would try to feed your cat some wet food and then if you can, switch her over to it. Since your cat gets the runs, you will have to do it very gradually. That is always recomended, but you need to be esspecailly careful to take your time in switching over. Good quality wet food will have less fat and carbs in it. Plus it is closer to a cats natural food in the wild, what they are meant to be eating. Wet food also increses the cats water intake which prevents UTIs and crystals.

3) As for the dry skin, if there are particular spots that are dry but the skin is not broken, you can apply Bag Balm to the spots. It is like Vaseline basically and it really isn't expensive. I wouldn't bath the cat, that will just dry out her skin more.

4) My first thought was fleas too. Only because my mom has a few cats who do not go outside and as spotlessly clean as her house is, you would never expect fleas to be a problem. However, her cat India gets them every summer, towards the end. She has an allergy and the bites around her enck turn to scabs and bleed a little. Frontline, Advantage or Revolution will clear that right up and usually protect her for the rest of the summer.

5) If it were me I would get her off the prescription diet. Sometimes vet will just convince you to use a product that they sell just to make some money. That may not be the case but if it isn't working I wouldn't feed it anymore. Seriously look into a high quality wet food. Make sure there are no by-products and the first 2 or 3 ingredients are meat and not grains.


Good Luck!!
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the excellent advice. You guy are just like the people I know on my automotive forums except, instead of working on cars, you all work on the cats. Haha. What a great resource I have found.

Very much appreciated. I will try a couple of the DIY remedies dealing with diet and routine (as we're on the last of the R/D anyway) for a little bit and evaluate her progress, if any. At that point, if there is no noticeable improvement, I will get her in to see the vet. I think it will be a good to be able to offer insight into some of the suggestions I may find presented. The more information I can offer the vet, the more qualified the diagnosis may be.

Thank you all again.

B
post #16 of 18
If you are on the last of her current food then you might want to go ahead and get another quality food and start mixing it in. If you switch suddenly on her she probably won't care but her little digestive system will and she will have the runs again.
post #17 of 18
It sounds to me like a food allergy, just comparing the similarities to my friend's 11 year old dog who started developing skin rash patches and it turns out he had just developed an allergy to beef (or perhaps the hormones etc put into the beef). She's since been put on a venison diet and has had the problem cleared up.

I agree with Sharky that a vet visit is in order, but i hope the advice here will give you some good questions to put to the vet. I find it's always best to go to the vet prepared.
post #18 of 18
You might want the vet to check it out for Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex-a condiiton in cats caused by allergies of different sources:food,pollen,flea bites ,some times stress can trigger an attack--My Lukas has it-looks similiar -Lukas apparently is allergic to a pollen -he has outbreaks in the spring although had one in the winter several yrs. ago for no apparent reason-takes perserverence to alleviate itching & to end outbreaks with treatments-so far Lukas is not having symptoms this yr.
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