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Cat Dermatology

Recognizing Cat Skin Conditions

Here are some key signs to look for:

  • Hair loss is a common sign of cat skin problems. Have you noticed any bald patches? Is your cat shedding more than normal?
  • Excessive grooming can also indicate cat skin conditions are present. If the grooming appears more frenetic and less relaxed than normal, it may be because your cat is itchy and uncomfortable.
  • Red, scaly, patchy, or scabby areas on the skin.
  • Excessive head shaking.

Types of Cat Skin Conditions

The following are some types of common cat skin problems you should be aware of:

  • External parasites such as fleas can cause itchy skin and skin allergies. Your cat will then scratch and bite and potentially cause secondary infections.
  • Ticks can attach to your cat’s skin, causing a raised bump or localized swelling.
  • Mites can produce itchy ears. This is more commonly seen in kittens. The cat will hold his head sideways, indicating discomfort. Cats can also have ear infections which need to be treated promptly by your veterinarian.
  • Cats can develop polyps in their ears.
  • Cats can also be prone to food allergies. Your cat can develop an “itchy face,” or itchiness all over.
  • Contact allergies can also be present in cats. This is very similar to how people develop allergies to common substances in their environment.
  • Cat skin cancer. As in humans, cancer is a potentially life threatening condition. If you notice new or changing skin spots, make a veterinary appointment ASAP.
  • Cat acne. Some cats are prone to cat acne. While this may appear similar to a rash, the treatment of cat acne may involve prescription medication.
  • Cat dermatitis. Typically cat dermatitis is due to an allergic reaction to grooming products, food, or environmental irritants.

Testing and Diagnosing Cat Skin Problems

Your veterinarian has many types of tests available when it comes to cat dermatology issues:

  • One common test is to collect some of the material in the ear and look at it under a microscope.
  • Your vet can also take a small scraping of the hair follicles or the debris on the skin and look at it under a microscope. They will be looking for mites, yeast, bacteria, or certain types of cells, to determine the cause of the discomfort.
  • Ringworm is a common cat skin condition that can be transmitted to children or adults, so this is something that needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately.

Treatments for Cat Skin Conditions

  • If you are dealing with fleas, your vet will treat for flea control.
  • If you are dealing with food allergies, your vet may recommend switching your cat’s food. This may also include a food trial.
  • Your vet may have to use an immune modulating medication to suppress allergic response in your cat.
  • Anti-itch medications may be used to make your cat feel more comfortable.
  • If ringworm is present, antifungal medication will be prescribed.
  • Some medications must be injected by a veterinarian, while other medication can be administered by you at home.

It is important that you work with your veterinarian to accurately describe the symptoms of your cat's skin conditions. Then, your vet will perform a thorough exam and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice any changes in your cat’s grooming behavior, excessive itchiness, or if you notice red, scaly patches on your cat’s skin. Cat skin conditions can quickly worsen, becoming more difficult and costly to treat. Early detection and treatment is key in the fight against cat skin problems.

Call your hospital to schedule an appointment, or book online!

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