cat scabs?

auldsportDecember 22, 2006

My cat has scabs and is itching often, and especially when I pet him he goes bonkers hoping i'll scratch all his scabs. Everyone seems to think he has fleas but:

1. my other two cats dont have any scabs

2. i used advantage on him three months in a row and no change

3. i have combed him with a flea comb and there is no sign of fleas or flea dirt

two vets have insisted on fleas.

I did find a tick on him, which i removed. that was several months ago. this scabbiness has been going on since the middle of summer, and the vet keeps saying that the cold weather will make the other possibility - allergies - go away. the vet and groomer also said lots of animals are suffering from this right now (and in october and july) and no one has the answer. Anyone on the forum have a suggestion? I feel so terrible watching him itch and being unable to help him.

I wonder if the food could be it? Tuna treats a bad idea? They all get a tsp of tuna a day. Could that cause this scabbing? help!

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If it is flea allergies, then elimating the problem should offer a solution. Possibly keep the cat inside? If the other cat are threated for fleas, then there should be no fleas in the house or on the other cats.

Food allergies are treated with special hypoallergetic food that you can get from the vet. Fish is not good for food allergies.

Has your vet considered a course of predisone for the itching? I'm suprised the cat is so scabby and itchy and the vet has not offered any relief for the animal other than the change of seasons : ( I hope someone on this forum may have more experience and more to offer!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 7:32PM
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I would suggest prednisone as well. I have a cat who starts pulling her hair out in huge chunks at the end of every summer. Who knows what she is allergic to? My vet gives her one high-dose shot (she is reasonably young) and it stops!
If your cat has a flea allergy -- just one bite can set off a vicious cycle -- and the fleas may be long gone but the itchiness is still there.
Definately ask about prednisone -- either the longer acting shot, or a course of pills.
You might see the difference pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 9:26PM
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I would guess feline dermatitis. My one cat has scabs and altho we have no fleas since they were treated with Frontline and it is winter, I think it's left over from a flea bite she had in the summer. It's not bad and she doesn't's just a little around her neck.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 2:20AM
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This sounds similiar to what happened to my cat many years ago. She started getting many itchy scabs around her ears that she kept scratching and they would bleed and drive her crazy. Later she ended up vomiting alot and have diarrhea. To make a long story short she was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex which is a food allergy. I ended up changing her food several times (the last one being hypo-allergenic) - nothing worked. So the vet told us to put her on steriods...and after a month or so I decided to stop the roids because I believe steriods are terrible for the human body let alone a small animal. So I changed vets and went the naturopath/homeopathy route, changing her diet again to all raw (meat) and natural foods, including vitamins and minerals. That was 8-9 years ago and it helped her get better and healthy. It was a process however that took time to change her over to raw meat/food. Once in awhile she would have another outbreak but the vet would provide a homeopathy serum and that would help clear things up. Unfortunately we lost her to cancer last year. Please consider a food allergy could be the cause.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 10:54AM
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One of ours has scabs at the corner of the mouth since last spring. Vet tested for Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex - was negative (doesn't really look like the pictures I've seen of it). Replaced the food bowls with metal as some can cause allergies. Still no luck. I do suspect our cat has allergies - he had a very definite reaction to a solid form room freshener and from time to time becomes twitchy/darty. We did try pred for a while but didn't seem to help with the scabs at least - our IBD cat has been on pred for a couple of years now with excellent results.

Per the vets recommendation, we are now trying an OTC antihistamine. It does seem to help with the twitch/darty thing but still no help with the scabs at the corners of the mouth. We can still try increasing the dose but was worried about making him sleepy. The vet did suggest that perhaps (doubtful) it might be a food allergy so we can try that I suppose. Also mentioned that he just may rub on things so much that they just never heal.

Anyone else hear of this?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 2:54PM
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My cat has been having scabs since last spring. I have tried everything! Metal bowls, Advantage, another kind of behind-the-neck flea killer in case the Advantage was causing allergies, and I have chnaged to a group of foods that has no wheat or corn. I am bathing the cat as often as I can with a medicated shampoo. The cat cries throughout the bathing process, but he's all fluffy afterwards, and the worse scabs are softened and cleaned up a bit. I cleaned his bedding and sprayed it, but he does go outside where maybe he gets fleas. We don't see any on him. Now I bought a new litter, without the little sand grains. Maybe the sand dust is somehow irritating...but I think it's a long shot. The cat is 14, and he has always pulled fur a lot but never had scabs before last year.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 6:38PM
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Isn't that funny....both of my cats just went through that! The vet insisted on fleas, although there wasn't a single sign of fleas (no dirt, no fleas, a flea trap in several places in the house produced nothing, and so on).

I kept the areas clean and their nails clipped to keep themselves from ripping the areas open and making sores. Other than that, they have healed nicely. One cat as one new itchy spot, and it took about four weeks for the other cat's neck to completely heal (she has the sharpest fastest growing claws ever and is a mercilous scratcher when she is itchy).

We still don't know what it is/was.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:06PM
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Indoor cat Fletcher (12-13) turned up with fleas about 6 months ago...Not sure how, but it happened...He has since been treated with advantage....I shave him occasionally to keep the fur down around the house (he normally transforms into a "new man" after a shaving...happy and vivacious) After the last shaving and recent advantage applications his fur has come in spotty....not himself...We then "saved" an adult cat from eminent demise, named Linus...He's great and has wonderful fur, but has underlying scabs....Flea combed both of them extensively tonight and found no fleas....don't want to waste money at the vet...ughh

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 11:25PM
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Where are the scabs? All over? Just on his head?

My male cat developed feline acne earlier this year- he had spots on top of his head as well as his muzzle. It got so bad that he was in a collar to keep from scratching his face into a bloody pulp. The vet said it is common in light faced cats. We used a cat-safe (many aren't) medicated shampoo that helped a little, but then the vet prescribed a different formula that helped even more. As hard as it is to wash a cat, the medicated shampoo brought him a lot of relief.

His scabs went away completely when we switched his food. Strange because he'd eaten that brand/variety for years and in retrospect, the last bag we bought triggered the allergy problem from the time it was opened.

Hope you find some solutions for your cat.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:06AM
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My cat has occasional scabs on his neck and head. He is an indoor/outdoor cat and I suspect the scabs are from fighting. Even though he was neutered as a kitten he is still territorial, as are most cats. He has no fleas and is on Revolution every month. I never thought of him being allergic to anything, but maybe he is.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 12:20PM
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Flea allergic dermatitis follows a similar pattern in dogs and cats: the first area affected is almost always on the back just above the tail. Apparently the rump is the tastiest area for fleas. If the scabs are there, then I suspect fleas are the culprit as well. Advantage does a great job killing fleas, AFTER the flea has already bitten the cat and caused the allergic reaction. If fleas are the cause of the scabs in your one cat, the other cats may be spared because they are simply not allergic to fleas. In highly allergic animals, you may never see the flea, especially in cats because they are so good at biting the flea and eating it- watch out for tapeworms!

The only way to see if your cat has food allergies is to do a food trial. This means choosing a protein and carbohydrate source that your cat has NEVER had before and feeding ONLY that food for at least 8 weeks. If there is no improvement after 8 weeks, then no food allergy. If there is improvement after 8 weeks, then you feed the original diet and see if a reaction occurs to confirm the animal was allergic to the original food. The animal cannot be on any steroids or antihistamines during the food trial. For most animals, the best time to conduct a food trial is in the winter, when most other environmental allergens such as mold, insects, and pollens are at their lowest.

You can have a cat tested for allergies and then immunotherapy shots (allergy shots) can be developed. Most cats respond well to this. Other options are controlling symptoms with antihistamines (not very effective in most cats) +/- steroids (effective but TONS of adverse effects). Atopica (cyclosporin) may be helpful as well.

That's the allergy talk.

Of course, there are many other reasons for a cat to have scabs- mites, lice, fungal infections, bacterial infections, eosinophillic complex, excessive grooming (psychosomatic). Using Advantage monthly year round will help the cat- do not stop it just because you see no evidence of fleas! Your cat is excessively grooming/biting/chewing and removing the evidence from the scene of the crime LOL! You may have to treat the environment as well to eliminate fleas. It takes MONTHS for all the fleas in the environment to hatch out, so be patient and persistent in protecting your cat with Advantage and treating the environment. Get your cat comfortable- if there is a secondary skin infection, have it treated. Since he is still itching, get short-term lowest effective dose steroids +/- antihistamines to break the itching cycle. Then work to find and eliminate the cause if he is still itchy.

Dermatology is not easy- we can't cure allergies, just manage them. Other diseases can be managed also, but they need to be diagnosed first. That's the tricky part. It's easy to blame fleas, and in fact referral institution studies have found that most itchy cats have fleas, but that is not *always* the problem. If fleas are eliminated by topical and environmental control, and the itchiness returns following a short course of steroids, then it's probably something else that needs to be diagnosed.

I had a dog allergic to almost everything, but especially fleas and other insects including dust mites, pollens, molds, and foods. He'd get a hotspot and ear infection every time he got a flea bite, which luckily wasn't that often (he was on TopSpot monthly). Helped the dust mite issue by getting rid of the carpet in the house and covering his beds with mite-proof covers. Fed him a novel protein/carb diet (venison and potato). Got him allergy tested and he was on weekly allergy shots, which helped a great deal with seasonal allergens. But he still would have occasional problems, and a short course of steroids helped him out. It's a pain, I know, but he was SO much happier once his itching was under control. Good luck with your kitty!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 5:45PM
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I strongly recommend not using advantix, advantage or frontline. Fleas are developing a resistance to the termiticides Fipronil (Frontline, AKA Termidor for termite treatments) and Imidichloprid ( Advantage, advantix, and Premise 75, another termite elimination product) The concentration in the flea control is horrible strong at around 9% active ingredient, where as our termiticides are diluted down to .05% and .06% . these chemicals aren't the dangerous factions of fifteen years ago, but still poison the blood stream. The purpose is to create toxicity in the blood for fleas and ticks, causing them to die AFTER they bite the animal. Look online for something called PETCOR which is the same as Ovitrol. We've learned this in our yearly classes (i'm an exterminator) about the frontline and advantix problems and resistances found by the EPA and the Maryland dept of agriculture. Petcor can only be bought by licensed technicians in most states, but nothing can stop you from spending a third to a half of the money of the product ovitrol. You lightly treat the fur on the body so it doesn't soak into the blood stream and fleas fall off and die. honestly the best way to prevent fleas is to have your house treated, but then that sounds like a special interest. so long as your exterminator IS NOT treating with poisons of heavy content. there are insect growth regulators which are not poisons. the eggs can not be killed. the best way for an exterminator to do his or her job is to treat with a fast knockdown chemical mixed with a growth regulator. no foggers. they wont penetrate the eggs. nothing will. after the spray, the temperature must be over 80% farenheit for the fleas to evacuate their eggs. this is a guarantee. i refuse to use frontline on my animals.

I was reading this because one of my 5 cats has a scab problem on her neck which she ravaged, grew behind her ears and then they developed by the base of her tail.

What i have done is purchased food grade hydrogen peroxide (35%) and mixed 4 oz of it with water in a half gallon humidifier. keep that on low. also eliminate cheap dry foods from their diet. I thank god for getting into amway and learning their products. I give them nothing but nutripet foods and the meow mix peel and pour cups now. their dryfood is great. i will not put my information here to avoid any conflict of interest. this is purely to help your animals. my cat's scabs have decreased by about half. i do interrupt her scratching as well

Good luck and sorry for the book i just wrote

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:05PM
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My 10 yr old cat has scabs right around his neck. She does not wear a collar but the scabs are where a collar would be. Initially I thought she had been in a fight but the scabs are growing and I am getting quite concerned. She is not scratching her neck and is eating well. I have used Revolution today but my daughter said that the scabs are too big to have been caused by flea bites. Does anyone have an idea what this could be?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 3:44AM
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Our lab got scabs all down his back shortly after I used Advantix on him for the first (and last) time. Our other lab wasn't affected, but I'll never use it again.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 8:37AM
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Revolution is a chemical (Frontline would be better for fleas anyway), therefore not safe for cats especially an older cat, and you should not be using it unless you know exactly what you are trying to treat.

Have you taken your cat to the vet?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 7:58PM
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My cat has had scabs round his head for 5 years now, the vet said an allergy or stress as I thought it was mange at first what foxes get. I also thought it was from fighting as he's male & loves a fight but after reading everyones comments I reckon its a food allergy. He doesn't have fleas as I frontline him & the dog. Unlike the other cats my cat isn't itchy so I don't worry about it too much it just feels & looks horrible he don't mind if I scratch them off him so they can't be sore either. Defently an allergy of some kind would like to find out what is causing it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:24PM
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My male cat of 7 yrs. old has these scabs ALL over his body not one bit of him is spared.
We had him on various meds- that only help for a bit.

We bathe him every other week with Flea shampoo- then Tar shampoo- then condition him well.
Then daily we spray him down with Alpha-Kerry Bath oil (you mix a regular size spray bottle- half with the Alpha- Kerry, and fill with water- shake very well) and rub it into his skin.
When we do this and stick to it-- he gets again a lot better
-and it lasts longer--

We are at our wits end- I cannot stand to see him actually we just added in tonight 10 mgs of Predisone- 2ML Omega oils. On top of all we were doing- we plan on giving him 10 mgs of pred. tonight and tomorrow night -then go to 5 mgs daily for a week then 5 mgs every other day-keep weaning til 5mgs 1 time a week...OH also tonight we added in spraying his main sleeping areas in the room we keep him in at night--as he is also on a diet--(poor Boy) So we had to keep him out of the other cats -cat food-we have 3 more cats. plus the dog.

We have gone through changing from food to food- all it did was waste money....

We somehow this summer- I swear on my life I have NEVER ever- had a flea problem like the one we are fighting now!!!! We have removed all pets from home and flea bombed every inch- putting 2-3 bombs (yes complete over kill) in each room. Did more laundry then a public laundry... vacuumed- steam cleaned rugs, - and we are literally ready to snap-
I was a licensed-certified Vet tech...and I am addicted to education so I also received diploma's in Pet Nutrition- and Dermatology-(Just to keep this brief I will not go into all the degrees and certifications I have,,,,)
BUT-- Thanks to severe back pain-- I ended up not only having to give up work all together and going on Disability.. BUT my point is I have been out of the field of animal medicine for about 10 years now- so I am sure that many things have changed.

So I am here to see if anyone has any ideas- I am open to any and all suggestions- I am also a Researcher- and love to research- so if I find anything I will now that I know this site exists post my findings.

I really want to add --that INDOOR cats outlive outdoor cats by 9-12 years. I volunteer with various rescue groups- and not only have I been taught it in colleges -heard it from Vets--but have seen it with my own two eyes..I beg you all to keep your cats indoors.
Ok off my soap box..

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 3:23AM
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Our cat started out just having a few scabs on top of her head right between her ears. Now it has spread over her body. We have no fleas, she is treated with Advantage, and her bedding comes up clean. She is an indoor cat only. The scabs are bothering her so much she is scratching all the time, or wanting to be scratched. I feel so bad for her!! I tried to get her to a vet once but she got so upset that she ripped right thru the box, She didnt trust us after that for months and is just letting me pick her up again. I am at wits end on what to do anymore. She's starting to look scraggly in the back from scratching so much. ANY ADVICE WILL BE APPRECIATED!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 12:02AM
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Thanks for all the information! My cat has scabs on her back near the tail, the vet said it was a flea allergy but I hadn't seen any fleas on her or my other pets. Thanks to the person that said it can only take one bite to set off the allergy. I'll try using a flea powder and see if that works.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:39AM
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My cat Koko has flea allergies (all it takes is one bite) that causes her to lose her hair (first around the tail). She'll also react to stress (lost hair when we brought in a new pet). But this year she got the scabs. We had the vet come out (we get home visits)and at the time she noticed that Koko had a mild case of asthma. The treatment for the asthma also has taken care of the scabbing. I'm assuming it's some kind of roid. We're weaning her down to weekly meds and then eventually monthly. The scabs disappeared immediately.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I have several indoor cats ranging from age 5 weeks to 11 years old, some of them have the sores at the back of the ears they get this at least once a year, they itch at them so bad, no fleas no earmites they just have this problem every year like my outside dog, I put sulfodene, its a oil, on the dogs ears, stops the itching and heals his ears right up, the cats get aloe gel from my aloe plants, its stops the itching and it takes a few days put if you keep putting it on they heal nicely. For the cats that the vet says you need steroid shots I had one like that to I found using callendula, I dont think I spelled that right but it is made from Marigold and you can buy either the oil or lotion from a all natural store, they will know what your talking about, it works great, no more steroid shots for my kitty and its been years since I even had to use the oil anymore, and my calico has the softest, shiniest beautiful coat. Hope this info helps.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:37PM
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