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Itchy Skin, Phantom Leg & Tremors

My 16 year-old cat has always loved to itch and scratch herself, but over time she has done it more and more. She's missing a leg and has always had an obsession about stratching her ear with her phantom leg.  She's also always loved being scratched on her chin - more than any cat I know.  If you scratch her for a while and take your hand away, she'll grab your hand with both her paws and pull you back to scratch her some more. Recently she's been scratching so much with her 3 good legs and anything she can rub against that she tears her skin on her neck and head, and her fur is thinning out in small areas. When we inspect her skin and ears, we don't see any mites, but we do see dry flakes and small scabs.  On top of that, she developed a tremor in her head in the last week or so - it appears when she's "scratching" herself with her phantom leg.  I can't tell if she's developed a parasite, allergy, a neurological disorder, a behavioral problem, or if these symptoms are caused by stress of some kind.  She's going to the vet this week - I'm just wondering if anyone has seen symptoms like these together and what was causing them.
4 Responses
609884 tn?1227333003
Well, yes.  I have had cats that have developed skin conditions.  

What you are describing may be Feline Miliary Dermatitis, which is just a catch-all diagnosis for a number of skin conditions that cause small scabs, itchiness, flakiness, hair-loss, etc.

It can be caused by parasites (which you wouldn't necessarily see), allergies, fungal infections, bacterial infections, ringworm (which is actually a fungas, not a parasite) or diet.  If left untreated, it can get worse and be very uncomfortable.

The good news is that it should be pretty easily treatable and preventable for the future.  Whatever the diagnosis is, talk to your vet about the cat's diet and nutrition, which can make all the difference with skin conditions.

Also, I believe that the Phantom Leg Syndrome is quite common, with animals and people.  I wouldn't worry about it, but I would ask your vet about it.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much, Mrs Savas, for replying to my post. You make me very optimistic that we can find a cure for Monet's condition and that she can continue to live a good cat life.  I've been quite worried about her, so this is helpful until I can get her into her vet later this week.
541150 tn?1306037443
I've also known of cats who scratch too much with absolutely no skin problems. It's kindda rare but it does happen. OCD in dogs is a bit more comon I believe. Hopefully, your cat has a skin condition which can easily be treated. OCD is much more treaky. One of the magazines I get on my email has this article which I hope you'll find interesting in case the vet tells you she has absolutely no skin conditions but her condition is behavioral. Here is the article.

By Marcella Durand for Cat Facts

News Briefs for the Week of December 9, 2002

By Marcella Durand for Cat Facts

New Study on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Cats

He chews all the books, papers and cardboard he can find and he does it all the time. Or she chases her tail around and around but she doesn't quite seem to be having much fun. Or you've noticed that the hair on his legs is getting a little thin and that he seems to be doing an awful lot of grooming.

Sound familiar? Your cat may have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a condition that can be mysterious to treat in cats. However, a new study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania may shed some light on the problem. In the study, 103 dogs and 23 cats with OCD were treated with a combination of behavior modification and medication, which resulted in a significant decrease in the intensity and frequency of OCD in most of the animals. However, owners shouldn't expect miracles. The study says while "the frequency and intensity of clinical signs in most dogs and cats may decrease by more than 50 percent" with "consistent behavior modification" and treatment with medication (clomipramine), "success appears to depend on client understanding and compliance and the reasonable expectation that OCD cannot be cured, but can be well controlled."

Good Luck

609884 tn?1227333003
We're glad to help if we can! :)

Any concerns or questions that you may have, please let us know!  And keep us posted about how your kitty is doing, ok?
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