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Chewing nails (cat)

HeidyH

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Apr 14, 2023
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Hi,
  1. Your pet's name: Alibi
  2. Approximate age : 5.5
  3. Sex M
  4. Neutering status Neutered
  5. Breed Exo SH
  6. Approximate weight 10lbs
  7. What's their BEAM (behavior, energy, appetite, mood) GOOD
  8. Diet Freeze-dried raw Duck Turkey and Dr. Marty's poultry blend freeze-dried raw. Alibi loves soup. I make duck bone broth for him. Alibi is a cat who knows why he likes to eat or not. He has access to homemade turkey and duck but he does not eat it. He used to eat "high-quality" kibble before 4 years old and some canned food. He switched to the current diet since 4 years old. He does not like raw milk. He likes to stick to what he used to eat unless he thinks he needs something else, like he stopped eating certain kibble previously and ate his brother's food. Recently, he starts to take some of his brother's supplement voluntarily. (Standard Process GI Adsorb). I want him to eat homemade fresh food like turkey and duck but he does not eat. That causes him the need to drink. And I want to keep his water fresh and cold by having a stainless steel fountain. I do not put a carbon filter, but only a sponge filter as he is the only one drinking it and there is no smell every time I clean it. However, there is a reddish color on the sponge filter when I clean the fountain every week and I put a new one every time.
  9. Vaccination history / exposure to toxins, other medication He had 3 standard vaccines after birth.
  10. Primary problem, when it began and if there was anything else happening around that time Alibi has been chewing his nails for months now. I suspect it is related to his water. He drinks water from a stainless steel water fountain but I only clean/change the water once a week. The water itself is pure water from a water store, it's reverse-osmosis, pure water no additives. We drink the same water. Every week, the water is all new, and the filter is new. I can try switching to a water ceramic bowl and change water more frequently to see if that improves the issue.
  11. Is the condition better or worse from exercise, heat, cold, time of day, certain foods, emotional upset, being touched, excitement, etc? He tends to chew the nails at night before he goes to sleep or during the night.
  12. Has any diagnostic work been done? Diagnosis if available (you can attach your diagnostic tests to the post if you have them) No
  13. Current and previous treatment None
  14. Other health concerns He never has a health issue.
Thank you.
 

Dr. Christina

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Is he chewing his nails so they bleed, or cause him pain? If just chewing, it could be a normal habit, though I would like @Dr.Jean to comment.

Could he be anxious at bedtime? Have the routines changed? Maybe they need to change. Try some calming music, very slow massage/petting before the time he starts to chew nails. Record in his journal when this started.

You are no longer offering any dry, correct? Do not offer dry. Offer many more things to him. It is ok if he does not eat turkey or duck. will he eat fresh fish, beef, lamb, etc? You can simply offer him pieces, not made into a "food".Offer every food you eat, too.

Keep us posted.

Dr. Christina
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Cats do chew on their nails as a normal part of their grooming. But it can become excessive.

However, there are a few red flags here. FIrst, water MUST be refreshed every day. Just because you do not smell the algae doesn't mean he can't. I used to have a fountain and it was such a hassle that I went back to a ceramic (no-lead) bowl, washed daily (twice a day in hot weather). Stainless steel bowls can hold a static charge, I don't recommend them.

Also, RO water is like distilled and must have minerals added back. There are supplements for this. RO or distilled water actually pulls minerals out of the body, and can lead to a deficiency.

Have you looked at his nails? Are they dry, split, flaky?

Agree with Dr. Christina, this could also be a sign of stress, so work on anxiety and stress-relieving techniques--we had several Empower Hours last month on exactly that!
 

Dr. Jeff

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I can try switching to a water ceramic bowl and change water more frequently to see if that improves the issue.
Yes! Great idea.
 

HeidyH

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Thank you all for your advice.

I think it's not related to behavoir or anxiety. There is no bleeding. I noticed he chews the left nails more than anywhere else. the chewing happens more frequently in the past months so it is a change. He does not eat any other meat. He used to eat turkey canned food from PureVita but then he stopped eating it. He had a NutriScan test awhile back and he is sensitive to chicken, white fish, beef, so I stopped giving him. He tried freshly cooked lamb, rabbit, and doesn't like them. Turkey is the closet to chicken and I offer cooked or semi-cooked to him and he doesn't like it. Though he likes dried form of duck like freeze dried form and he has perference of the freezed dried like he prefers duck over turkey. I think he just like dried form of food instead of wet. is it necessary to switch him to a fresh diet for he is growing old? I want him to get the water from food. It's a great idea to offer anything I eat. He is a very sensitive cat that he knows everything going on and will come over if he's interested. He knows I will be awake just before I am awake, at random times.

The nails and the surrounding skin are fine except that the nails he chews more has teeth marks on them, no bleeding or lesion. Can I use liquid goldenseal to try cleaning his paws?

I am switching to ceramic bowls and change water daily. And I can also get RO water with mineral added at the same water store.
How about alkaline water with NSF ceramic or just alkaline water? I saw a water machine outside Wholefoods with that label. The NSF ceramic water is $2/gallon vs. normal alkaline water is 40cents /gallon. Is it necessary to get $2 water?
 
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Dr. Jean Hofve

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IMO alkaline water doesn't do anything except put a hole in your wallet. It will not change the pH of the body, and you don't want it to. The body keeps its pH in a very narrow range. You especially don't want to use it with a cat, whose urine pH should be acidic.

The freeze-dried diets you're using are balanced with vitamins and minerals, yes? (I know Dr. Marty's is.) I always wonder about deficiencies with this sort of behavior, though it's unlikely.
 

HeidyH

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Since pure water doesn't have the minerals in it, is water like brita filtered water + boiling a better kind of water? Where can I get supplements for RO water, or his food already has it?
He also takes the freeze-dried food from Stella&chewy. He takes bone broth as I mentioned but I try to give him access to water as well since he is on dry-food diet, not kibble.
Also, if there is a remedy for bacteria infection, I think it's worth to try since there is a possibility that this is the case.
 

HeidyH

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I found it difficult to follow his eating schedule to not make the food bad as it's free-feeding. And he prefers dry vs wet.
Even if I add water into it, which I am happy to try again, what kind of water shall I add?
Thank you.
 

Dr. Jeff

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a better kind of water?

How about using structured water (I use the Vitalizer Plus)?
what kind of water shall I add?
Perhaps structured or RO with added minerals.

This supplement is great and can be used to re-mineralize RO water:


Also, consider homeopathic treatment to resolve the underlying energetic imbalance.
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Gosh, dry food is so bad for cats, even if it's great food. The water is a vital part of their intake. Cats simply cannot drink enough free water when eating dry food so they remain dehydrated all the time--hard on the kidneys and bladder. Spring water or filtered, like Brita or Berkey, are fine. I just got a Brita because it removes chlorine, and that's the really bad thing in our water: all the chlorine by-products.

Of course he prefers dry food, I prefer Cheetos, but we have to be the adults and feed what is good for them. Free feeding is not ideal. Feeding in discrete meals (even irregular ones) lets his GI system rest in between. Three times a day is good, two is fine. Bonus: when mealtime comes, he will be more amenable to eating whatever he is served. Pick it up after 30 minutes. He'll get the picture right quick.

Cats love routine and this will disrupt his. But it will give him something new to think about and perhaps distract him from his nail obsession. Also, Play Therapy one or two times a day would be excellent. He is young and needs his energy directed in a healthy way.
 

HeidyH

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Alibi had a flea infection in August. I treated the yard, and home, everything for one month. It was exhausting. I am not a lazy person and fleas really make me work 24x7! I still treat/clean areas now. I do not "see" fleas, I do not get bitten, I think they're under control now.
I think his itching is related to that.
At that time, I was a week late giving him Revolution and coincidentally, I got some flea infested plant that week and I let them go to the yard to get some sun.
I recall Dr. Christina mentioned in her Flea Be Gone e-book that they could develop something like flea allergy once they got bitten? (attached) If I understand correctly, they will only get the itch from flea allergy only if they are in contact with flea saliva. So his itching may be caused by potential contact with flea saliva, and that means he must been bitten when he started the itch if it is flea allergy.
As of now, he is not itchy anywhere but the ears flaps and chewing the cuticles on paws. Since he is not itching anywhere else, is it correct to say it's not from flea allergy?
I had a vet looked into the ear and they are clean.

Thank you.
@Dr. Christina

Screen Shot 2023-10-25 at 5.31.58 PM.png
 
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Dr. Christina

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The key is building vitality and balance (following the steps in the 101 class). Healthy dogs just do not get fleas, and if they do get a few bites, their threshholds are much higher so a few fleas do not trigger any allergies, as the article mentions.

For the yard I do suggest Flea Destroyer - listen to their webinar at HA!
One treatment a year is usually enough.

And focus on joy, happiness, and not worry about more fleas.
Dr. Christina
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Hope you're right that there are no fleas!

However... let me give you a little caution. Just one flea bite in an allergic cat (or dog!) can cause a reaction that lasts up to 4 weeks.

Hate to even think it, but you might want to undertake one more round of cleaning to make SURE there are no fleas left!
 

HeidyH

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Thank you all.

I do vaccum inside from once a week and regularly apply First Saturday Lime in the yard, and already applied beneficial nematodes.
I think the itch started almost 4 weeks ago now, if it is flea allergy and he's been bitten.

Is there a homepathic medicine to stop the itch?
I tried goldenseal and it does not work.

I consider he is a very healthy cat as he never has a health issue.
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Goldenseal is an antibiotic so wouldn't expect it to help. For herbs, turmeric is a better anti-inflammatory, and nettles is good for allergies. For cats, in general, about 1/4 to 1/6 human dose is safe for cats. For an acute bite, you could try Apis (stings) or Ledum (punctures), but this situation may be better addressed with a constitutional remedy. The homeopaths will know best!
 

Dr. Jeff

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Is there a homepathic medicine to stop the itch?
Great question Heidy!

During the internal energetic rebalancing process of homeopathic care, the itch will definitely reduce. However in the acute situation, you may be best to work with flea control and herbs as Dr. Jean mentioned.
 

HeidyH

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I am successful, so far, giving him moistened freeze-dried food. But he no longer drinks. I also bathed him today and no signs of itch/flea. Normally, he will scratch the area if he has been bitten. So, I think it's not flea allergy. may be he's allergic to First Saturday Lime but that should not be the case. :rolleyes3::unsure:And we have 30. mins play sessions every evening. I think he can feel the love I give him, though he keeps his cool.

Dr. Jeff, could I get some recommendation on the holistic vet who does phone consultation? the current one I am seeing says it is possible for my other cat to stay on homeopathic medicine all his life, or a combination of conventional medicine + homeopathic medicine. It is very difficult to find a good one who does phone consultation. Either they do not do homeopathic medicine at all and just nutrition, vice versa. should I book a monthly consult with you?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Dr. Christina

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Just to clarify, our 15 minute consults are mostly a Q/A time, while the virtual veterinary homeopaths would be working with you on-goingly to build health while you are learning more and more you can be doing at home yourself.
Dr. Christina
 

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