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Old November 19th, 2009, 09:47 AM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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Unhappy Licked his belly bald...now what?

Hi I'm Tus's mom (the feeding tube thread) and now my boy "Tig" has decided to get in on the attention

Here's his story;

He's an 8 year old neutered male. We moved from Ontario to NB in Fall 2008, and into a 3 year old house Dec/08. By Spring of 09 Tig started coughing, usually in the morning. He'd stretch his neck out and cough for awhile and then that would be it. This went on for awhile and started to get worse so when he was having an episode I called a vet and brought him in. They did blood work and an x-ray. (I don't have results of that blood work and this vet is not the most cooperative in giving out copies, hence the switch to a different vet)

Anyway from that the vet really did not know what was wrong, just that he had some inflammation in his lungs, gave me some steroids and sent me home. Needless to say the steroids and Tig did not mix. His whole personality changed, he was a totally different cat. So I took him off that and this vet did not have another solution except more tests = more $$$, (another story, with another cat to the tune of close to $3,000)

Anyway, he started coughing again, so I went online and found an online vet who suggested allergies and to put him on chlortrimeton. I cut them into 2.5mg pieces and got him up to 3 pieces a day (7.5mg total)

This went on until the beginning of November, where I thought I might be able to take him off the drugs over the winter as I presumed the allergies were to mold spores. I started to reduce until he was down to 2.5mg/day and that's when he started to lick his belly bald. Something he never did before.

So my new vet (Tus's vet) suggested to put him back on the pills and I have been increasing it again since Monday, but he is still licking his belly. I also started to give him diphenhydramine hydrochloride (benadryl), cut into 6.25mg pills up to 3 times a day. As long as he'll take the benadryl, it tastes terrible, if he gets a taste I switch back to the chlortrimeton.

So that's his story. I don't know what to do with his licking his belly, I've thought of coning him, but I don't want to stress him out. If I can avoid more vet bills it would be good, as Tus has racked up the bills over the last month and I'm sure more will follow. Of course I will bring him to the vet if I can't find some temporary solution, as I can't have him licking himself bald

So any suggestions would be appreciated Thanks for the help I'm sure someone has some ideas
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Old November 19th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Is it possible there is a correlation between Tus' illness and Tig's belly licking? Any other stressful events going on in your household? I ask because my cat, Aztec, started obsessively licking his belly when his brother was sick 5 years ago. Grooming was a way for him to comfort himself during those very anxious days, and it became so ingrained that he continues to do it. I decided to just leave him be since he isn't doing any damage to the skin, he's just got the cutest, softest, bald belly. Is Tig damaging the skin?

Other possibilities include food or environmental allergies.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 12:32 PM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Is it possible there is a correlation between Tus' illness and Tig's belly licking? Any other stressful events going on in your household?
I thought that as well, cause he started it when I brought Tus home from the vet the second time..he does not like the vet (had a bad episode a few years back). Maybe related, but he has been under lots of stress before, we've moved a fair amount, flying was not pleasant and he's a little high strung at times.

Don't know if I mentioned the first time I brought Tus home when she was at the vet's all day...Tig decided he did not like the smell and sprayed the bedroom where Tus was sleeping, took me 2 days to get "most" of the smell out.

Tries to be the top cat, but the old arthritic cat puts him in his place, when she can catch him,


Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Is Tig damaging the skin?
So far it's very red, but that's what I am afraid of. I do have some Amitriptyline (Elavil), which I was using for TUs as an appetite stimulant but I've read that it's used as a behavioural drug, like over grooming and urine spraying (that would be nice to get rid of).


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Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
possibilities include food or environmental allergies.
He has been on the allergy med's for months for the coughing, maybe it's changed to itching???

As for food, I've changed them all from the dry kibbles to wellness wet brand. He's still a picky eater, but I put Sasha's Blend on it like salt when he snubs the food, works like a charm..stinks the high heaven but he love it.


So how long should I let him lick before taking him to the vet?
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Old November 19th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2 View Post
I thought that as well, cause he started it when I brought Tus home from the vet the second time..he does not like the vet (had a bad episode a few years back).
That was the same with Aztec. Egypt spent a week at the vet, then when he came home, he smelled and looked like hell (had a cone and a feeding tube). I think it was pretty traumatizing for Aztec, who also has some serious "vet issues", to see his brother like that. Even though I kept Egypt in a separate part of the house, Aztec hid in my bedroom closet for the next 2 months. I had to bring his food and litter box in there or else he would have starved himself.

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Originally Posted by tiggy2 View Post
Maybe related, but he has been under lots of stress before, we've moved a fair amount, flying was not pleasant and he's a little high strung at times.
It could be a cumulative effect though. The straw that broke the camel's back.

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Originally Posted by tiggy2 View Post
He has been on the allergy med's for months for the coughing, maybe it's changed to itching???
Entirely possible, and allergies can be pretty complicated to sort out. What sort of cleaning products and laundry detergent do you use? Any air freshners? The type of cat litter can also play a role. Everything should be as unscented and "un"-toxic as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2 View Post
As for food, I've changed them all from the dry kibbles to wellness wet brand.
I wonder what would happen if you fed him a chicken-free diet. Because chicken is such an overwhelmingly common ingredient in pet food, allergies more easily develop towards it due to over-exposure. Might be worth trying something like Innova Evo 95% venison or duck or Nature's Variety rabbit, if Tig is willing (I know what it's like to deal with a picky eater).

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Originally Posted by tiggy2 View Post
So how long should I let him lick before taking him to the vet?
That's a tough call, and one I can't really answer. For one thing, I don't think most allopathic vets have a lot to offer when it comes to either allergies or OCD. Their answer is always pharmaceutical, which tends to just suppress symptoms and doesn't deal with the source of the problem. If you have access to a holistic vet, that would be my recommendation. Otherwise, perhaps try some things like Feliway diffusers, diet change, Transfer Factor supplements to help boost the immune system.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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My Chico has been licking his belly for years,not to the point where the skin is red,but most of his fur is gone.
He is a very easily stressed cat and this all started to happen when we got a third cat.
The vet gave me a tube of cream(forgot the name) to put on the area and his fur grew back quickly,but as soon as I stopped the cream he started again.
I am leaving him be for now,it's really not a big deal,next time he sees our new vet,I'll discuss it with him.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 10:18 AM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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Tig is still licking the fur off his belly and now his belly is getting scabby. Needless to say I'm going to have to take him in to the vet I hate to do that as he doe not need to be more stressed, especially if stress is causing the licking.

Tus is deteriorating faster than I anticipated, so maybe he is feeling my emotions? But until this is all over I don't know what to do for Tig except cone him or drug him <sigh>

Anyway any other suggestions would be appreciated. I don't know how he will react once Tus is gone, maybe better?
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Old November 21st, 2009, 02:45 PM
Equla Equla is offline
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Is the spot he's licking in the middle, or off to one side?

My Minnie used to constantly have two bald spots (sometimes totally raw and bleeding). One was on her belly by her right hind leg. The other was basically the same spot just on the side. When we took her into the vet, he did the rub down thing to get a feel for her organs and mentioned that he couldn't find one of her kidneys (the one on the opposite side of the bald spots). He thought either the kidney had never developed properly, or just wasn't there. He didn't seem to be too worried about it and we just kept an eye on her for the remainder of her life (another 12 years).

What we think was causing her to lick that area was the one functioning kidney working overtime to make up for the other one. If you've ever had a kidney infection, they are pretty painful. When cats are in pain or itchy, they are going to lick the area. I suggest having the vet take a look at whatever organ is right behind the skin where the bald patches are. Just to be on the safe side.

It probably is just stress... but better safe than sorry.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 04:21 PM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equla View Post
Is the spot he's licking in the middle, or off to one side?
It's more in the middle. Like if he was sitting it's the spot easiest to lick. But I will get the vet to check into organ issue's. Thanks for the tip


No other behaviour changes though, just this licking?

I guess I'll find out on Monday.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 04:23 PM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico2 View Post
The vet gave me a tube of cream(forgot the name) to put on the area and his fur grew back quickly,but as soon as I stopped the cream he started again.
I am leaving him be for now,it's really not a big deal,next time he sees our new vet,I'll discuss it with him.
Don't happen to recall the name of the cream? I'd love to put something on his belly, but I'm afraid he's just lick it all off again.
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