Senior Cat with Anal Gland Issues??

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kmbishop111

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Hi all. My oldest rescue, Izzi has some issues going on with her back side. She is 12 yrs old, Spayed, stays inside, and I'm not sure what's going on.

Note: Wait time on a Vet appt is 3 weeks. Our ER Hospital is only open on weekends.

She has a lot of sudden hair loss along her back and in patches. I've never had a cat w anal gland issues, so I'm not sure if that is what's going on here? I'm doing warm compresses for as long as she will let me a few times a day. She is eating, drinking fine. A picture is worth a thousand words tho, so I'll post the ones I've been able to skillfully get of her anal area. Thanks in advance for any advice or thoughts!!
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kmbishop111

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I was hoping her anal glands were not infected or ruptured. I've never seen this first hand, so naturally was my main concern. Trying to decide if this is something that can wait 3 weeks, or need to go to ER Vet Friday. The hair loss could be completely coincental to the main issue w her genital area. And if just hair loss, no problem waiting the 3 weeks. Just a concerned momma here. :heartshape:
 

fionasmom

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I have had dogs and cats with anal gland issues and have never seen hair loss. However, if anal glands continue on to impaction, you have quite a problem and expense. In some practices, a vet tech is authorized to express anal glands providing that the cat has been seen within the last year.
 

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I have had dogs and cats with anal gland issues and have never seen hair loss.
I agree with this. I've had dogs with anal glands issues (one pretty consistently recurring), and my cat used to have frequent issues in his early life. Never seen any hair loss associated with it.

However, a thought occurs to me. Can hair loss be caused by constant rubbing/scooting? Just throwing that out there as an idea. If a cat were to be scooting so excessively (maybe when you can't see her doing it), would hair loss be possible?
 

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I agree about hair loss being tied into scooting. It looks like some of the hair loss is on her back, which would be odd for anal glands, but the rest is the underbelly or rear?

Once an anal gland problem is severe, the cat usually will react to the pain; however, we know that they can be very stoic. A dog would definitely react and probably be scooting all over the house and more than likely blood would be present and possibly an odor.

If Izzi is calm enough and if you or someone you know is able to express anal glands, it does not necessarily have to be a vet or a tech who does it.
 

cmshap

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I agree about hair loss being tied into scooting. It looks like some of the hair loss is on her back, which would be odd for anal glands, but the rest is the underbelly or rear?
I noticed that too, but I considered that a cat having an irritated backside may also be excessively grooming everywhere in the general area.
 
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kmbishop111

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She is constantly grooming, although I'm not seeing the typical scooting behavior. I'm wondering is it possible for cats to suddenly have food allergies later in life? I've had her since she was a 4 week old kitten, and no food allergies. But if that is a possibility then It would explain hair loss and soft stools/diarrhea causing her backside to be inflamed? I have 6 cats and 6 litter boxes, so hard to say for certain. The area is looking less inflamed with the warm compresses now.
 

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I'm wondering is it possible for cats to suddenly have food allergies later in life?
Yes, it's possible. Just like it's possible for our human allergies to change as we age, sometimes out of nowhere.

I've had to change my cat's food more times than I can remember over the 9 years I've had him. I don't know if food allergies were a reason -- although it was speculated by my vet as a possibility -- but he's frequently grown sensitive to foods that he previously tolerated. Symptoms would include vomiting and diarrhea.
 
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kmbishop111

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Yes, it's possible. Just like it's possible for our human allergies to change as we age, sometimes out of nowhere.

I've had to change my cat's food more times than I can remember over the 9 years I've had him. I don't know if food allergies were a reason -- although it was speculated by my vet as a possibility -- but he's frequently grown sensitive to foods that he previously tolerated. Symptoms would include vomiting and diarrhea.
Okay, no vomiting yet. But I highly suspect a new food allergy now. I'm going to try cutting out chicken first, as it's most common. (In the mean time before Vet visit) I'm glad the inflammation is subsiding for my girl. She doesn't seem to mind the warm compresses now.
 

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Hi. The pattern is consistent with FAD. Flea allergy dermatitis. I am not a vet and I am not saying this is what it is, but the pattern suggests it.
What kind of flea control do you use? If you have a flea comb, I would, if she was my cat, start by gently flea combing her. See if you find any live fleas. You can also place white clean towels down where she sleeps and see if you find any flea dirt. It will look like ground pepper or little specks of brown or black.

I have also seen cats display this kind of hair loss with environmental allergies like dust mite s as allergies.

This kind of hair loss (alopecia) can also present when a cat has arthritic pain or pain from internal organs. So, as you know she needs to see a vet.

It could be food allergy, but usually that is displayed by head and neck scratching, not always though.

Any diet change you make will take 3 + weeks at least to give any result. It can take 3 months. I would hold off on diet change until after the Vet visit.

I would have to disagree about expressing her anal glands yourself. If they are impacted, it could rupture and then you would have a surgery to consider. I think you would do more harm than good.

As for the area under the tail. I am not trying to be cruel. I do notice she appears to be overweight. Is she able to physically reach that area to clean herself? If not, that can be a problem. Use caution with your warm compressing, as getting that area wet can cause skin conditions like bacterial infection or even fungal to form in the skin folds. Although you do want to keep her clean. DUOXO pads are good for this type of cleaning, but ask your vet first.

Does she at dry food or canned? How is her appetite? Does she still jump up on things?

If she was my cat i would keep the vet appointment you have. I would rule out fleas and treat for fleas prophylactically using a veterinary product such as the original Revolution. Not the Revolution plus. If eating a dry diet, I would switch to canned, although making sure she is eating well because a cat that stops eating is at risk for fatty liver disease, aka hepatic lipidosis. The heavier the cat, the more risk. I would also make sure she is comfortable at home and not being bullied by any other cats. I would also be sure to use dust free, unscented cat litter.
Hope this helps.
 
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kmbishop111

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Hi. The pattern is consistent with FAD. Flea allergy dermatitis. I am not a vet and I am not saying this is what it is, but the pattern suggests it.
What kind of flea control do you use? If you have a flea comb, I would, if she was my cat, start by gently flea combing her. See if you find any live fleas. You can also place white clean towels down where she sleeps and see if you find any flea dirt. It will look like ground pepper or little specks of brown or black.

I have also seen cats display this kind of hair loss with environmental allergies like dust mite s as allergies.

This kind of hair loss (alopecia) can also present when a cat has arthritic pain or pain from internal organs. So, as you know she needs to see a vet.

It could be food allergy, but usually that is displayed by head and neck scratching, not always though.

Any diet change you make will take 3 + weeks at least to give any result. It can take 3 months. I would hold off on diet change until after the Vet visit.

I would have to disagree about expressing her anal glands yourself. If they are impacted, it could rupture and then you would have a surgery to consider. I think you would do more harm than good.

As for the area under the tail. I am not trying to be cruel. I do notice she appears to be overweight. Is she able to physically reach that area to clean herself? If not, that can be a problem. Use caution with your warm compressing, as getting that area wet can cause skin conditions like bacterial infection or even fungal to form in the skin folds. Although you do want to keep her clean. DUOXO pads are good for this type of cleaning, but ask your vet first.

Does she at dry food or canned? How is her appetite? Does she still jump up on things?

If she was my cat i would keep the vet appointment you have. I would rule out fleas and treat for fleas prophylactically using a veterinary product such as the original Revolution. Not the Revolution plus. If eating a dry diet, I would switch to canned, although making sure she is eating well because a cat that stops eating is at risk for fatty liver disease, aka hepatic lipidosis. The heavier the cat, the more risk. I would also make sure she is comfortable at home and not being bullied by any other cats. I would also be sure to use dust free, unscented cat litter.
Hope this helps.
Actually, I did find a single flea in her last week, which I know is enough for a reaction. I use Frontline topical, but have used it for 6 months so it's time to switch to another product. I'll switch back to Revolution.

I worked as a Vet Tech many moons ago and would be comfortable expressing a dog's anal glands still, but not kitties. I'll leave that to the Vet or Tech at her appt.

She is able to reach to clean but it takes some effort.

Excellent point on the compresses as well!

She eats canned and still has a very healthy appetite.

Sorry this is such a short reply, I'm leaving for work in 5 minutes. But Thank you, this was of great help!! :heartshape:
 

fionasmom

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Is her rear end moist or is that just the way that the video appears? The hair loss in that area is consistent with those issues, but I don't think that the rest of it is...which leads back to could this be a flea issue? Can you get regular Revolution where you are?
 
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kmbishop111

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The video just appears that way for some reason. I haven't checked in 6 months on the Revolution, but should be able to.
 
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kmbishop111

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Oh my, other symptoms have presented. Lameness in back legs, ravenous appetite, not drinking water tonight. I think definitely Flea Allergy, but also think Diabetes. I have found some one to get her in to be seen in the morning as a favor.
 
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kmbishop111

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She started becoming dehydrated last night, I had to syringe her Pedialyte as it was all I had on hand. Her loading dose of Gabapentin, which was on the high end of the 1.5-5 mg, was not enough. I called this am and rescheduled for tomorrow as I'm looking at having to make a really tough decision at this point. I did a Urinalysis dipstick, which I know are unreliable for certain things, but just to get an idea of where we're at before visit. Spec Gravity at 1.20, so not concerning, trace ketones. We're doing our bucket list today to prepare, as I'm afraid tomorrow may be an extremely tough day.
 
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