Scratching and bald spot on back of neck

suzeanna

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Hi, all! I am waiting for a vet appointment, but in the meantime I was hoping you might be able to share any tips or ideas about my cat's current situation.

My cat Susan is almost ten years old. She used to be overweight but now there are no health problems, and her bloodwork (last done in July) is generally good except for signs of early CKD.

In the past day I noticed that she has a bald spot on the back of her neck and scratched it a few times, reddening and irritating it. She's never had this issue before.

She does not wear a collar and does not receive any flea/tick/etc. treatments. I combed her carefully and did not find any fleas. She does not go outside. We open one screened window a couple of inches sometimes and live several floors above ground level.

Her ears have had some buildup and wax externally. The vet gave me some Zymox at her appointment in July, which I applied a few days in a row in July and in September. It didn't seem to help a lot, although more wax appeared externally/higher up. I also looked today and noticed she has some tiny black dots on the upper ear.

A new pate was introduced into her diet in early August (PURINA PRO PLAN VETERINARY DIETS NF Kidney Function Early Care Wet Cat Food, 5.5-oz, case of 24 - Chewy.com) -- her prior pate did not have fish but she occasionally had fishy treats (e.g., freeze-dried minnows). Both pates are mixed with weruva shreds when served (e.g., steak frites, paw lickin chicken).

It has been cooler the past week or so, so her skin has been dryer (presumably like mine). She was also rather sneezy for a couple days last week but it generally cleared up (this happens maybe twice a year).

I can't think of what the issue might be. I'm waiting for my vet to confirm when she can have an appointment. In the meantime, do you have any ideas or suggestions about what it could be or what the vet could look out for? Additionally, do you have any suggestions as to how I can prevent her from scratching and irritating it further? I looked at several threads which mentioned antihistamines and/or soothing the spot with black or chamomile tea, but how exactly do you do that?

Photos of the spot yesterday and today, her ear, and just her are below. Thank you for any ideas and knowledge you can share! :catrub:

B072D7AB-1347-4918-8DC1-40856A5188AA.jpeg 4A4422AA-F8E0-4913-8A40-BB6AA9429B54.jpeg B76C6D05-5080-43C3-8F65-6D6ABC45B2C0.jpeg BEA5821B-EC7B-439E-858F-AD94800CA303.jpeg
 

Furballsmom

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chamomile tea, but how exactly do you do that?
Hi. I'm thinking it's the change of food.

Anyway, you obtain store bought unflavored chamomile tea (garden grown is unsafe for cats), brew it, cool it and apply regularly. It's anti bacterial, anti fungal, will ease the discomfort and is safe if she licks it.
 
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suzeanna

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Hi. I'm thinking it's the change of food.

Anyway, you obtain store bought unflavored chamomile tea (garden grown is unsafe for cats), brew it, cool it and apply regularly. It's anti bacterial, anti fungal, will ease the discomfort and is safe if she licks it.
That's really helpful, thank you so much!!
 

Sarthur2

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It appears to be a “hotspot,” which is generally a dermatological one-off. It can be caused by an allergy to something — such as food, weather changing, or a bite from a flea or other bug. Occasionally it can be caused by stress or over-grooming. It looks like something bit her. It is clearly itchy and bothering her, so she scratches it and makes it worse.

You can apply warm, damp compresses to give relief and keep it clean until you see the vet. I’m guessing the vet will want to give a cortisone shot and antibiotics, which will likely clear it over a few days. Hopefully that will be the end of it, but sometimes cats develop seasonal allergies as they age and incidents such as this can repeat later. I have had 2 cats who were clear all year until summer hit and boom - sudden allergies they never had before.

It does not appear too serious, and should go away with treatment. Do let us know what the vet says.
 
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suzeanna

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It appears to be a “hotspot,” which is generally a dermatological one-off. It can be caused by an allergy to something — such as food, weather changing, or a bite from a flea or other bug. Occasionally it can be caused by stress or over-grooming. It looks like something bit her. It is clearly itchy and bothering her, so she scratches it and makes it worse.

You can apply warm, damp compresses to give relief and keep it clean until you see the vet. I’m guessing the vet will want to give a cortisone shot and antibiotics, which will likely clear it over a few days. Hopefully that will be the end of it, but sometimes cats develop seasonal allergies as they age and incidents such as this can repeat later. I have had 2 cats who were clear all year until summer hit and boom - sudden allergies they never had before.

It does not appear too serious, and should go away with treatment. Do let us know what the vet says.
Thank you so much for all of the information and thoughts! Your post is really helpful. I'm still waiting for an appointment but hope to have one this week. Susan was very good about not scratching the spot until this morning, so it's unfortunately red again. I did manage to get the chamomile tea today so I'm going to try applying that in the meantime.
 
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suzeanna

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As an update -- my vet's input wasn't super helpful (didn't think it was mites but offered to do a flea treatment that also treats mites). I've been applying the lukewarm brewed chamomile a couple of times a day and it's been really successful, so thank you for the suggestion and guidance! I've been surprised at how tolerant she is of its application. There's no open wound or scab at this point. Hopefully the hair starts growing back quickly. I've tested out a few new foods and she's settled on the Press Your Dinner pate by Weruva -- very happy to have found something without fish and rice. Thanks again to all!
 
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