My cat is licking bald spots in her coat

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    Question: My cat is licking bald spots in his coat. He did it last winter, and was cultered repeatedly for fungus (negative) & put on a strict hypoallergenic diet (Science Diet DD) for 8 weeks, which did not solve the problem. We do not have fleas. He gets Pet Derm as a dietary oil suppliment, and we have humidifiers running full time to keep the humidity in our house up (almost 50%). By the time summer came around, it mysteriously cleared up. None of my other cats ever exhibited these symptoms. The hair licking has reappeared just over two months ago. We change the air filter in the furnace every 6 weeks, and have added an extra filter as well. We are still keeping the humidity up and he is getting pet derm. There were no dietary changes made before the problem started again (The cats eat Neutro Natural dry and canned, and Innovative Pet Foods Natural Dry) . The skin under the bald spots is smooth and normal looking, with no rash or raised bumps or flakes. When the prob! lem first reappeared this year, he was itchy enough that he scratched a sore on his chin, and his lips looked chapped and we (and our vet, of course) resorted to a low dose of prednisone (0.6 ml) in order to make him stop itching his chin. It worked immediately (within hours) and lasted approx. 6 weeks. The scratching has not returned but the licking has. I do not wish to keep him on pred, as what I have read indicates it is very hard on their immune systems. We tried antihistamines (4 mg chloro…same as Chlortrimaton, don’t have the bottle handy) 2x daily, but it had no effect. I now own his first cousin as well, as seven month old girl who is not spayed. She is licking out her coat as well, but rather than in spots, likethe male neuter, she is licking more evenly on her stomach and thighs. We gave them baths with oatmeal shampoo today, and are having the carpets shampooed on Wednesday. Our vet has no idea what is causing this. I suspect it is some sort of seasonal all! ergy, but am open to any suggestions you might have. As last year, our other two cats (a tonkinese and a siamese) do not have this. Also, our whole female cat has a sister from a previous breeding (exact sire and dam) that licked her thighs as well. Her owner thinks it was hormonal and cleared up with DHEA (5 mg/day). We have not tried this, as I only know of DHEA use in horses. Thank you in advance, -Julie

    Sex: Male Neutered

    username: [email protected]

    Pet: Feline

    Breed: Oriental Short Hair

    Age: 2

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Barbara’s cat did indeed respond to the DHEA we started a few months ago. My first inclination with your cat however would be to check out the levels of fatty acids and vitamins in the Pet Derm since I am not familiar with this supplement. In addition, feeding *any* dry cat food is exacerbating the dryness (dry food promotes sub clinical dehydration in addition to being deficient in good fatty acids). You may be describing a classic allergic alopecia due to the dramatic response to the steroid (Barbara’s cat did not respond to a diagnostic steroid injection). In addition to omega-6 fatty acids, I would be using fish oils, and other natural antiinflammatories such as quercetin and bromelain. You may also want to try a different hypoallergenic diet since many cats will not respond to d/d since lamb is now such an integral part of many diets (thereby not making it “hypoallergenic” anymore). Is there anything in the environment present during the winter months that isn’t there in the summer, such as a wool blanket, to which he could be reacting?

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