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Skin Problems in Cats From A-Z

cat_sphynxCats can suffer from a huge variety of skin problems. We've compiled some of the most common ones here. It is not meant to be a guide for diagnosis of your own cat’s disease, nor is it a comprehensive list of all skin problems. Please consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

Allergies in Cats

Allergies in cats that affect the skin can be due to food, fleas, dust mites, pollen, grass, mold spores, and other materials found in the environment. Chronic intense itching is a common sign of allergies in cats. Allergies usually cause irritation of the face, neck, over the top and tail base, and the abdomen. Affected cats often lick, chew, scratch, rub their face, or excessively groom. Cats may exhibit runny noses or watery eyes. To make the diagnosis of allergies, your veterinarian must rule out many other conditions. Utilizing the history, physical examination, clinical signs and certain diagnostic tests, your veterinarian can diagnose your pet’s skin condition.

Cheyletiellosis in Cats

“Walking dandruff,” or Cheyletiella, is a contagious mite affecting dogs, cats, and rabbits. Itchiness may occur, but not always. Large dandruff flakes in the fur are commonly noted.

Demodicosis in Cats

Newer types of demodex mite are being recognized in cats. Demodex gatoi is one. Demodex cati is the most common type of demodectic mite in cats. The latter causes greasy ears and patchy, scaly, itchy spots. This is an uncommon cause of skin disease in cats.

Dermatophytosis in Cats

This is a fungal infection of the skin with a dermatophyte, also called ringworm. This may cause crusty, circular lesions, but in cats, it is often a condition with no signs. Long-haired cats often carry the ringworm fungus in their hair coat without any signs of skin irritation. This fungus has very resistant spores that can live in the home for years. It’s possible to detect one type of ringworm with a black light, however final diagnosis is based upon a fungal culture done by your veterinarian. This disease is transmissible to humans.

Ear Mites in Cats

These are a common, pesky pest of cats. Frequently, kittens pick them up during their nursing phase by close contact with their infested mother and cohorts or through contact with cats in the neighborhood. Cats of all ages can be affected. A black, dry, coffee ground-type discharge may be seen in the ears, and very severe itchiness can lead to serious wounds around the base of the ear where the kitty scratches away at irritated ears.

Endocrine Disorders in Cats

Hormone disorders may cause symmetrical hair loss (alopecia) in cats. These diseases must be diagnosed by your veterinarian.

Eosinophillic Granuloma Complex in Cats

This disease occurs fairly frequently in cats. We identify three overlapping syndromes: eosinophilic plaques, eosinophilic granulomas, and indolent ulcers. All are similar and may occur in combination. You can learn more here: "Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex in Cats."

External Parasites in Cats

These include, but are not limited to, fleas, ticks, and mites. Most external parasites cause itchy skin. Cats respond to the irritation by scratching, biting, and licking. Depending on the severity and extent of the reaction, your veterinarian may prescribe medications that help reduce inflammation and itchiness. Because cats have such rough tongues, if they get working at the skin, they can cause skin lesions, and sometimes this means that secondary trauma and infection occurs, which will be treated, as well. Flea control needs to include treatment of the home, since the flea will set up a life cycle that not only includes the cat host but also your carpets and furniture.

Feline Acne in Cats

Acne often occurs on the chin, producing swelling and blackheads. Any age or breed can be affected, and some cats have just one pimple outbreak, while with others it becomes a recurrent problem. When severe, pus pockets can form, and the condition may be quite painful if advanced. Learn more here: "Feline Acne."

Flea Allergy Dermatits (FAD) in Cats

This skin problem is due to an allergic reaction to flea saliva. It is possible for animals with FAD to react to just one bite from a flea for up to 10 days. There may or may not be evidence of fleas or flea dirt present on the cat. Not all animals with fleas develop an allergic reaction. Cats often get skin lesions over the top of their body, especially near the tail head, but irritation spots can occur anywhere.

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

In cats, an overactive thyroid can cause alopecia (hair loss) from excessive self-grooming. Signs can be similar to allergies or psychogenic alopecia. This hormone problem may also result in scaling of the skin and a dry haircoat. You can learn more here: "Hyperthyroidism in Cats."

Immune-Mediated Disorders in Cats

Decreased function of the immune system can adversely affect skin health. In cats, chronic feline immunodeficiency virus infection can lead to secondary infections of the skin associated with the immune system depression caused by this slow virus.

Psychogenic Alopecia in Cats

This is an obsessive compulsive disorder commonly seen in cats, frequently resulting in hair loss of the abdomen and inner thighs due to over-grooming. Often, owners do not notice the cat grooming, but hairs are broken off, which usually indicates excessive grooming. You can learn more here: "Psychogenic Alopecia in Cats."

Pyoderma in Cats

Deep skin infections (pyoderma), often secondary to the effects of intense scratching, are sometimes seen in cats. Pyoderma needs to be treated by your veterinarian with appropriate antibiotics.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Psychogenic Alopecia in Cats

Ringworm In Cats

Cat Fleas: Does My Cat Have Fleas?

How to Remove Ticks

Feline Mites


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