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377493 tn?1356505749

Rolling Skin Disease

Hi everyone.  I am new here, and so excited to find this forum.  I belong to a few others on medhelp, and this is another great one.

I have two cats, which besides my husband, are the loves of my life.  The younger, Regis, is almost 2, and after many many vet visits, I have been told he has something called "rolling skin disease".  He twitches like crazy, mostly along his back, and is a very aggressive little guy.  I always chalked up the aggressivness to alpha male personality, but now it seems he may actually be in pain.  It would absolutely devestate me to put him down.  We are starting him on the kitty equivelant of prozac, as the vet says that will help, along with a skin conditioner, as apparantly dry skin makes it worse.  Does anyone else have a cat with this?  Is there anything you have found I can do for him that helps.  Obviously I will not allow him to suffer, but there must be alternatives.

Thanks for the help and advice in advance.  I sure appreciate it.
9 Responses
228686 tn?1211558307
I've heard of Feline Hyperesthesia, but never dealt with it (that I'm aware of).  Have you read up on it? I understand there are various play therapies you can have kitty do to blow off steam and work out his aggression. If you aren't familiar with them (things like teaching tricks, hunting play, etc...) let me know and I'll see what I can dreg out of my notes.

Your kitty isn't having seizures, is he? That's generally the only time when this is a serious problem. Otherwise it's generally considered more of an OCD issue, dealt with through a stress relieving lifestyle.
377493 tn?1356505749
Hi Savas,

No, no seizures thank God.  His whole back twitches like crazy.  My vet said the condition is quite rare. (it was only the 2nd case of it he had ever seen)  He was born wild, and I took him when he was about 6 weeks old from a barn.  He has a pretty easy life with us, as I am really into animals, and treat them almost like I would children.  We play alot, he is on an excellent diet, shots kept up to date, etc. and gets a tonne of attention from us.  He can be quite loving when he is in the mood..lol.   The medication seems to help, however, he still acts like he is in pain at times, and I worry about him.  We live in quite a dry climate, so my vet also has him on skin conditioner, and this also seems to help.  But apparantly rolling skin disease is an actual medical condition, most commonly seen in inbred cats.  Being that he was a wild kitten, inbreeding is a definate possibility.  I just wondered if anyone else out there had their cat diagnosed with the same thing, and if there is anything else they are doing that is helping.

228686 tn?1211558307
Yes, they're a little mystified on this disease, but it does seem that kitty's emotional state plays a big part in keeping the symptoms down. At least you don't have the worst case to deal with, including the seizures and all. I hope kitty does feel better and isn't going to crazy!
377493 tn?1356505749
Thanks Savas.  As long as he is happy and not in pain, I can deal with whatever.  In his own way, he is so sweet.  You are so right on the emotional state playing a big part though.  We just moved, and it meant a 7 hour drive for him.  My vet gave me a sedative, but it was really hard on him.  No seizures though.  I also really notice when I am away.  I work from home, so he is used to constant attention.  And I do tend to baby him.  The odd time I go out of town on business, and hubby works out of the house. He twitches way more during these time periods as well.  Have a vet app. next week, they may switch his meds.  We will see.  
Avatar universal
Hi Adgal,

My kitty has the rolling skin problem too. It started may be 1/2 year ago right after I took him to the vet for an ear infection. The infection went away, but his skin started to move in a rolling motion. I thought it was fleas or dry skin. His back had a lot of dandruff and the skin rolled. Especially at night, he would suddenly bite his back and tail then ran like someone was chasing him. I was very worried about that and took him to see the vet multiple times. The doctor said he might have injured his back, or he might have allergy or fleas. We gave him flea medication and even performed acupuncture on him for a few times. He seemed to get a little bit better but still, his rolling skin condition never went away.

Even though I noticed  his back was very sensitive to touch and he didn't like me touching his hind or his tail, I thought that maybe he was itching and nothing he did made it feel better.  So I got the idea to give him a back scratch and see if that help[ed.  

I scratched his back and his tail as if I was washing hair (I used my nails). First, he didn't like it too too much, but then he came for more. I continued do that for him at least once every other day, and amazingly, the rolling skin condition went away. From time to time, he bites his skin a little bit but I never see it roll. Also, he didn't mind me touching his back or his tail anymore. His skin now looks great and no more dandruff. I was so busy in the last two weeks that I didn't keep up the scratching, and my boyfriend said that he saw his symptom came back this morning. But I know once I get back to the scratching routine, he will get better again.

A few things to try:
1) Check all his food (dry and wet) and make sure that there is no trace of fish, fish meal, etc. I give him the Royal Canin indoor formula. For wet food, I recently changed to the Spa Select (you can get them in Petco). I only give him the chicken one without fish (check the label).
2) I make sure I give him fresh water and replace all the plastic bowls with ceramic one. Make sure you wash the bowl often and check to see if there is any trace of orange/pink slime in bowl. I found that in his bowl sometime.
3)  The one thing that I think did the trick was the scratches. Scratch his back and tail. With one hand, scratch his back using your finger and nails or a plastic brush. Scratch him hard enough to mess up his hair will be even better. Your other hand should scratch his chin or pet his head. That will distract him in case he really doesn't like you touching his back for the first few times. Do it regularly and see if his problem goes away or at least happens less often.

Please let me know if this helps your kitty. I know there are a few kitties out there suffering from this problem and I really want to find the way to help them. My method really helped my kitty and I hope it helps your.. And please please please, don’t even think about putting kitty down because of this. I am sure it is something that can be fixed.

Avatar universal
That was some good information you gave and I will try it on my kitty, as she also has this "condition." I was concerned, however, about you mentioning you kitty's water at times getting the "red slime" which is bacteria. Pet dishes should be washed with hot soapy water every day, because just as humans, cats can suffer from bacterial infections. I use a Drinkwell Fountain for my cat's watering, and I also have water for her in three other places in the house so that she will get plenty of water, which is important. She uses all of the places to drink, so all of those dishes need to be washed every day.  Obviously, I do not wash the Drinkwell Fountain daily.
242912 tn?1402547092
Hi gumbyZ and welcome to the cat forum.  My cat had this condition within the last year and even though I've never seen this thread before, I've been doing exactly what Boo Bunny suggested as far as scratching Jades back and tail with my nails. I also use a flea comb on her back, base of tail and tail.  I will even brush her fur backwards and to the side.  Thankfully, she lets me.  It's made an enormous difference.  I do this every single day and her condition has now disappeared completely!
Avatar universal
I think my rocky has this, been reading up on it.  I am trying to find a good quality wet food for him.  I have read here no fish? His favorite wet food is all fish. Rocky is only one.  I have him on prednisone right now.  He has a sore under his chin.  Vet thinks its an allergy.  He seems to not want me to pet him, makes me sad.  He does not have seisures and I hope its because of his food, because I know I can change that.
Avatar universal
I am so glad I read this thread! I had been so concerned about my cat. Every time I pet him just a little bit on his back or tail, he would spaz out and lick himself, nibble on his fur, or bite me. So I tried giving him a therapeutic back scratching session - and it worked on the first try!  After 10 minutes of back scratching (which he still kind of spazzed out the entire time, but didn't want to run away either - purred the whole time), I can pet from his head down to his tail without any abnormal reaction!!  I was so excited I wanted to cry! I can finally pet my cat normally!! Thank you guys so much (especially BooBunny)!!
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