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Welcome to our series from the Wonderful Dr. Barry Baum, Chief of Staff at Center-Sinai Animal Hospital.  If you have a question for our Virtuoso Vet, he'd love to see it.  And he will answer all that he can.  Just use the form that follows below, beneath the column. Please note: If you feel the condition of your pet is critical, Dr. Baum suggests you contact your local vet ASAP!

For previous questions and answers, see the buttons under this week's article.




Dear Dr. Baum --

I adopted a cat that was left ashore about two year ago, I reckon he was one of those cats they have on the ships for the rats maybe, I donít know, but anyway, he was always well groomed and washed himself daily until recently he has lumps of matted fur in and around the lower of his back, It didnít seem to bother him until a few days ago when he wouldnít let me rub him. I tried to cut it off but he wonít let me. Can you give me any idea what could be the cause? I hope itís not serious,

Thanking you for your time,
Marlene, County Cork. Eire

Hi, Marlene --

Happily, your problem should be a simple one to resolve. The most common reason for matting and irritation of the skin at the base of the tail and the lower back is an allergy to flea bites. In susceptible animals, the saliva from a biting flea that is injected anywhere on the body during a bite, will produce the classic signs of chewing and scratching on the lower back. Take your friend into your veterinarian and he or she will probably give a cortisone injection that will temporarily relieve the itching. If the hair is difficult or painful to comb out, it can be shaved off with an appropriate clipper.

For long term control, it is imperative that any flea problem be addressed because the problem will recur again and again if the kitty is exposed to fleas. Thankfully, there are products like Advantage or Frontline that do an excellent job as long as they are reapplied monthly. All animals in the environment should be treated with these products to eliminate any safe harbors for the fleas.

Dr Baum

To find out what others have asked, click our Critter Query archives button:

Do you have a question for our Virtuoso Vet?  Just use the form below. Dr. Baum will answer as many of your questions as possible.  For Your Pet's Health: Please contact your local vet if you feel your pet is having an emergency to insure getting attention in time to meet his/her needs.

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If you are lucky enough to live in Los Angeles when you need a really good vet, you can call
 to set up an appointment with Dr. Baum or another of the highly skilled staff at
Center-Sinai Veterinary Hospital.  The number is 310-559-3770.

Check out the new site! Your questions and answers appear there, with links on our site, too, and more pet care information and special features! Just close the window after visiting, or hit your browser's back button to return to InasPawprints.

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