Avatar universal

Scabs on cats back

My 8 year old cat has scabs down her spine that start midway down her back.  They've been there for about a month and she didn't seem bothered by them until just recently when she started licking and chewing at her back causing the situation to get worse.  She is strictly an indoor cat and shows no signs of fleas.  She does sneak into our basement on occasion, which is damp, and leads me to believe ringworm is good a possibility.  

My question about treating this with an athletes foot cream (as suggested in other posts) is what about ingestion?  The label on the cream says to contact poison control which obviously makes me worry- but then you see that same warning on a jar of Vaseline which is near harmless.

Best Answer
874521 tn?1424116797
hi and welcome, this is usually always Miliary Dermatitis and is most commonly caused by a 'food allergy' even if kitty has been eating the same food for a long time an allergy to that food/grain/additive can be developed. Can also be a flea bite allergy, you can follow the links on the sites below to read more on all causes.

what is she eating?

I will send you a couple real good sites to read..


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874521 tn?1424116797
I'm not sure what brands of food odd allot used. But I can tell you any of the GRAINFREE wet brands will almost certainly fix the scab issue, transition slowly many cats don't like the grain fee foods...its like taking away our sweets..lol. Also get him some fatty acids in the form of Krill Oil, puncture the capsule and squirt contents into the food or try letting him lick off your finger....if he doesn't like the taste you'll need to squirt it onto his paw they always clean their paws:)
Helpful - 0
I'm tending to agree with Opus, as I actually have the same problem with my cat which I'm going to go with the same solution for; I just adopted a dog who had the same thing and I got him grain free food and in less than a month most of the scabs are healed up - and they were major!  It didn't help that they starved him and he was eaten alive with fleas, but that's another subject.  The grain allergy can really cause some weird things that aren't obvious allergy symptoms. It's an easy fix, and I, too have given enough money to my vet in the last 2 months, and would prefer to not be his sole source of income :)  i'll check back in and update - as I'm sure this didn't stop being an issue in 2015! Good luck all.
Avatar universal
What brand did you use? My daughter's cat also has black scabs. I suspected a dietary cause. I would like to try the brand you found helpful since your description sounds most like our cat's symptoms. I really can't afford a huge vet bill since our income has been cut more than half, but do want to provide quality care for our cat.
Helpful - 0
11924850 tn?1601364171
Hi.  Melinda here.

  So sorry about your furry friend.  I  have 2 cats,  strictly indoors, and my dark calico has scabs halfway down her back to her tail.  She itches like crazy.  I comb her gently, which she loves, but more helpful to her (and her brother) is keeping a humidifier going most of the time.

  This scabby/itchiness can. also be hormonal, my babies are both fixed.

  There used to be a product called Relief Spray but vets have similar products that are sprayed on the affected area and rubbed onto the skin.

  Good luck spraying a caliconehead...

  I hope this might help.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My cat had black scabs all over his lower back I successfully treated by switching his diet to an all wet food diet of tuna and salmon. Before I tried switching his diet the vet had tried all the standard tests to determine if the problem was fungus/bacteria/mites/fleas etc.. but everything came back negative. It only took a week or two before it was apparent the diet was the problem and the scabs started to heal up. I hope this helps.
Helpful - 0
874521 tn?1424116797
welcome Leigh.....are you saying his hair is falling out where you apply the revolution or advocate(do you mean advantage?) than tiny scabs form...

So I don't understand what your question is? if the hair is falling out where the flea product contacts the skin than its obviously these products that are causing the problem

are fleas a huge problem in your area that you feel you need to use these strong products so often?
many cats have a reaction to them, some severe
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal

I have the same problem with my cat Jake.  He is 6 years old and have been eating royal canin all his years.  He gets wet food twice daily in the morning and night (Gravy Lovers Chicken, tuna and salmon flavors).  He also gets treats when i leave for work in the morning (cant remember the name now - small biscuits for hairball removal and other one is for strong teeth).  I use revolution and advocate alternatively as his hair tends to fall out there where the ointment is applied to the skin.  The scabs looks like flea bites that have made a crust from closing.  

Hope someone can assist me as vet costs are ridiculously expensive lately. '
Helpful - 0
4190741 tn?1370177832
I adopted Snowball who was 7 and she was totally raised on dry cat food, and then she took sick just about the time that all the info was being released about grains and dry food being not so healthy for cats.  I switched her to wet canned, but it was too late for her and Feline Kidney Disease claimed her life.

I have renewed my study of cat food since then and when I adopted MewMew and Sophia Loren, the dry food is only used as a treat once a day and the rest of the diet is wet.  They are thriving and have good health.

The thing that most pet owners, and myself, are unaware of, is that cats are desert animals and do not view water as an essential part of their diet.  In the deserts, they catch prey that actually contribute to the digestion process and don't need to look for extra water.  With the popularity of the dry food for cats, Feline Kidney Disease has risen sharply, it is cheap, it can be put out in a bowl all day, and it is convenient for the homeowner and pet owner who might work 12 hour  shifts.  What it does do is "not " provide adequate water to the kidneys to flush out toxins and that is why the rise in this horrible disease.

I may not be describing the whole process 100 percent correctly, but I do not ever want to let my girls go through Feline Kidney Disease if I can help it.  So I stick with the wet and so far, so good....

Helpful - 0
874521 tn?1424116797
a chicken allergy is much more common than beef. but that being said a cat like a human can develop an allergy to something they are constantly exposed too....meaning if she eats the same protien everyday than you will have to try and get her to eat one that she hasn't had before...but I will say chicken is the base ingredient in most cat foods, if you read the labels you will see they even have a chicken base in some of the seafoods....so you'll have to read labels carefully and find a meat she isn't eating now...and eliminating that totally.
GRAIN is also a huge culprit for allergies....try to change her to a grain free variety...not easy no.
also change off of purina cat chow, since that is what she is on.....a dry food has many many additives/preservatives that can also cause an allergic reaction.
yes she won't appreciate the change, but if you can be diligent about it she will feel a whole lot better afterwards.
just please do the transition SLOWLY...that way she will get accustomed to it easier and have no gastric upset like diarrhea. I can send you info on a slow transition if you like.
also please NEVER starve a cat, thinking she'll eat it if and when she gets hungry enough....she won't, cats don't operate that way they will literally starve themselves to near death even death...
a drastic drop in the calories they are used to will lead to hepatic lipidosis...where the organs start to fail within a very few days and sometimes theres NO bringing them back when that begins...so transition slowly to make sure she is still eating...but add just a very small amount of the new food to the one she is on  now..than slowly start decreasing the old and increasing the new...good luck:)
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I had her check by the vet and as of today, still nothing to indicate ringworm according to the vet. She got a shot of antibiotic and he told me to keep her from chewing herself...as if that's an easy thing to accomplish...

He suspects flea or food allergy also and said beef is a common cause in cats.  She has been on the same cat food, purina indoor cat chow, for 7 years.

I'm going to give her a bath, some flea drops, and wean her onto a different food over the next few days....she's going to hate me!

Thanks for all of the helpful information, it's greatly appreciated!
Helpful - 0
1696489 tn?1370821974
Any suspicion of ringworm must be treated by a vet as soon as possible, as this is easily contracted by other animals and humans.  Even if not ringworm, she obviously has SOMETHING going on with her skin that needs to be identified and treated by your vet.  Never use medication for humans on animals unless your vet tells you to do so.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I haven't done any flea treatments.  She is calico but her underside is white including her legs, belly, throat, and chin and I have not seen any indication of fleas.  I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try it and is more pet friendly.  Thanks for the input.
Helpful - 0
134578 tn?1642048000
I don't think it really sounds like ringworm, you might just be wasting your time using ringworm meds.  My cats would sometimes get an oily scabby thing on their spine right at the tail, and I would comb the scabs off and treat with Neosporin, but I can't remember if I ever got a diagnosis from a vet.  I believe at the time I thought it was flea allergy dermatitis.  Have you had your cat on Frontline or Revolution?  
Helpful - 0
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