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Common Feline Skin Conditions: Protect Your Feline

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Protect Your Cat

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a skin problem, talk to your veterinarian. Describe the specific symptoms and provide relevant information: when did you first notice your cat’s condition? Is your cat itchy or grooming more than usual? Do any other pets have lesions?  Or you? Have you used any medicine or flea meds?

Unexplained bumps, nodules, open sores, hair loss and rashes require prompt veterinary care. They may be symptoms of a more serious health condition. Your veterinarian can best determine the course of care.

Cats can suffer from a variety of different skin disorders, including feline acne, allergic dermatitis, mites and ringworm. If your cat is frequently itching, scratching, licking his skin beyond normal grooming, or suffering unexplained hair loss, a skin condition may be the cause.

The first step to treating a skin condition is diagnosis of the specific problem. Many skin conditions share similar symptoms, such as hair loss, scabs, or flaky skin. Depending on your cat’s symptoms, a veterinarian may begin by ruling out the most common skin problems.

Allergic Dermatitis

Allergies are very common in cats. While people show their allergies by sneezing, nasal congestion, and red eyes; cats show their allergies in their skin.  There are four types of skin problems cats can have as a result of allergies: hair loss without much skin changes; miliary dermatitis - which causes small pinpoint scabs, especially on the neck and over the hips and tail base;  eosinophilic granulomas - which are raised, red, hairless lesions, commonly on the lips, but can be lower on the jaw or neck, or even on the rear legs; severe itchiness at the face or neck. The most common allergies are to fleas, pollen, food ingredients, molds, and house dust mites. Unfortunately, any of the allergens can cause any of the patterns.

Fleas

Even if your cat is an indoor pet, another pet in the household may have exposed your cat to fleas, or you may have brought them home!  If your cat is allergic to fleas, a single flea bite can trigger a reaction that lasts for days to weeks. Good flea control is essential to preventing allergic dermatitis.

Feline Acne

Feline acne is one of the most common feline skin conditions. That’s right; even cats can suffer from a bad case of pimples! But cats show their acne only on the chin. You may see just blackheads, or the cat may have red, raised bumps on their chin.  For most cats, feline acne will simply clear up by itself. However, if your cat’s acne persists, a medicated shampoo, oral antibiotics or a prescription ointment will help.

Mites

There are many kinds of skin mites that can cause skin problems that may look just like allergies.  Mites such as Demodex, Cheyletiella, and Notoedres can usually be diagnosed by a skin scraping, and inspection under a microscope.  This possibility certainly needs to be investigated before treatment of allergy is started.  

Not all skin problems are confined to a cat’s fur. Ear mites (Otodectes) infect the ear, but  can extend out into the skin.  Symptoms of ear mites include constant itching, scratching at the ear, and shaking the head.  Without proper treatment, the constant scratching and itching may lead to a secondary skin infection. With prompt treatment, the proper medicine can clear up the primary problem before secondary infections occur.

Your cat's regular doctor can help with most skin problems.  But if there are difficult or persistent problems, a veterinary dermatologist is trained to diagnose and treat all skin disorders.  Your veterinarian can help you with a referral. Prompt treatment will help prevent secondary infections or complications and keep your feline healthy.

Source:
American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD)

Bernstein, Joseph A. DVM. "Manifestations of Feline Allergy." Annual Dermatology Continuing Education Conference.

Pet Care Is Our Passion

Pet Care Is Our Passion

AAA Animal Hospital is a full service veterinary hospital that is dedicated to the health, happiness and well being of your pet. Each of your pets becomes part of the AAA family and receives uncompromising care, service and genuine concern by our entire hospital staff. AAA Animal Hospital has thousands of satisfied patients over the past 35 years. We offer low cost vaccinations, spaying and neutering. We have a new state of the art facility which offers digital x -rays, in-house laboratory testing, a fully stocked pharmacy, ultrasound, and orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries. Our hospital carries a wide variety of prescription diets and all the latest in flea control including Nexgard and Comfortis. We also offer boarding for cats and dogs with brand new "condo" style facilities. Call us to book your boarding reservation today.

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