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Cat Skin Itching

Q. My Cat is a Siamese female of 2 & 1/2 years. About 3 months ago she started losing her hair (just falling out all over) she still has hair but it is different, she used to have a soft & shiny coat, now it is barely there at all on her undersides (more like a downy fuzz,& u can see her pink skin thru it) & her back part is coarse & patchy hair.

She scratches constantly so badly that she has torn her neck open numerous times. We have gone to the Vet several times, he refuses to run tests, says it is just a food allergy & he gave her a cortisone shot once.

A. Your kitty's skin condition sounds like it definitely needs further treatment. If you are not happy with your current relationship with your veterinarian you owe it to yourself and your cat to see another veterinary dermatologist.

Many types of allergies can cause your cat's symptoms including flea allergy dermatitis, allergy to food ingredients or allergy to an environmental allergen such as dust mites. Flea prevention is critical no matter what the current cause because the bite of even one flea can cause tremendous reaction in allergic patients.

Use a veterinarian recommended product like Advantage, Revolution, or Frontline Plus once a month consistently. Be sure to treat all the pets in the home and the environment if fleas or flea dirt (dried flea feces) have ever been found on any of your animals.

Expect your cat's skin to be scraped for mites or fungal culture, a hypo allergenic diet trial and possibly cortisone to make her more comfortable and antibiotics for infection.

Veterinary dermatologists often perform lab work on blood or the skin itself to help determine the actual cause of the allergy.

You should expect to invest several hundred dollars as well as time and effort communicating with your cat's doctor, giving medications and closely monitoring food and symptoms.

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