It is understandable how cats’ skin conditions can be dreadful to cat owners. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It serves as a protective barrier of the body. Moreover, it helps manage the temperature of the body and produces certain substances such as glandular secretions, claws, and hair.
There are several factors that put your furry friends at risk with skin problems. This includes the breed, gender, and lifestyle. Outdoor cats are believed to be at a greater risk of infestation and other fight-inflicted injuries than indoor cats. As for breeds, Himalayans are said to be more susceptible to diseases than most cat breeds.
External parasite infestation
Regardless of the breed, any cat may or may not have parasites which include fleas or lice, ticks, and mites. Although it may still affect cats of all ages, this is most commonly observed on kitties age below twelve months. This is due to their developing immune system.
‘The vast majority of itchy cats that (veterinarians) see are going to be flea-allergic,’ stated Rudayna Ghubash, DVM.
Ticks and flea bites
Cats with ticks and fleas are most likely to itch and scratch excessively. However, there are some cats that are hypersensitive to the saliva of the fleas, which results in an extreme level of itch. Flea bites in a cat with sensitive skin may appear red and sore, which is also called ‘miliary dermatitis.’ Is your cat losing hair near the tail? Examine very closely as this might be the case for your furry pet.
Spotting one flea could mean there are hundreds present around the environment. It is best to thoroughly clean the environment and wash all your bedding. There are also other procedures and preventive measures to successfully eliminate these latching bugs, there are medicines, which can be taken either topical or oral.
Read about: Cat Flea Treatment Reviews
Is your cat scratching her ears too often? Examine her ears well as she may have ear mites or what is scientifically referred to as Otodectes cynotis. It is important to treat them immediately to avoid inflammation in the ear, which may, later on, lead to a bacterial infection. Treating longhaired felines against ear mites may be a bit challenging. Ear mites usually reside in the area around the ears and may spread around the head and neck.
Fungal skin infections
Is your cat suffering from hair loss and dry patches on the skin? It may be time to take action as these are a few telling signs that your pet may have fungus. Affected areas may appear as rough patches or discolouration on the skin.
Despite its name, ringworm is a type of fungus called ‘dermatophyte’ and is not caused by a worm. It is important to take immediate action as ringworm can be transmitted to other animals as well as humans.
Ringworm is not restricted to limited areas but can spread throughout the feline’s coat, which may lead to the following:
- Hair loss
Visible signs may appear as red circles and lesions with scaly, round, thickened skin and hair loss. Lesions may affect the chest, back, head, and forelegs.
Skin conditions on allergies
Allergic skin disease can be caused by parasites (as discussed above), food, and environmental substances.
Environmental allergens may include dust, grass, mould, pollen, or basic chemicals used at home. Affected cats are likely to over-groom and itch excessively. This is bad news given that over-grooming may result in a feline having patchy fur from licking and chewing. The said acts are done as an attempt to relieve irritation.
Another common form of allergy in cats is food allergy. Note that it may develop on cats at any age, breed, and food products. However, there are common food allergens, which include dairy, beef, and seafood.
Affected cats may intensely scratch their neck and head, and may also experience diarrhoea and vomiting. An elimination diet is usually the method used to find out which specific food is causing the allergy. It should be done more carefully without disrupting dietary protein needs.
Signs of skin disease in cats
Here is a general outline of clinical signs of cats affected with certain types of skin disease. Note that the following signs are arranged in no particular order and may manifest as one or more.
- Extreme irritation of the ears
- Extreme over-grooming
- Itch, scratch, and bite
- Feet disorders such as condition affecting the pads, nail beds, and claws.
- Matted hair
- Skin wounds
- Skin redness
- Scabs or spots
- Vomiting of hairballs
Treating cat skin problems
Treatment suggestions are outlined below. However, it is important to note that the case should be checked with your vet for the right treatment.
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Antibiotic treatment
- Antifungal treatment
- Exclusion diets
- Omega-3 fatty acid diet supplements
- Hair clippings
- Stress management
- Topical treatments (creams, ear cleaners, drops, and washes)