July 28, 2021
Revealed July 28, 2021
In the event you discover your cat dropping their fur, learn on! Whereas allergy symptoms and pores and skin illness in cats aren’t fairly as generally seen as they’re in canine, cats can nonetheless be bothered.
The pores and skin is formally the most important organ within the cat’s physique and acts as a protecting, temperature-regulating layer towards all the weather in nature. Plus, the fur makes our feline relations additional cuddly and gentle. However earlier than you rub your face throughout your cat’s fur, right here’s what it’s worthwhile to learn about pores and skin illness and the potential unfold of an infection to you!
What are indicators of pores and skin illness in cats?
Recognizing indicators of pores and skin illness in cats is vital, because it’s going to look rather a lot totally different from canine pores and skin illness. Canines with pores and skin illness will lick their paws continuously, slurp at their stomach, stink extra (why we love cats!), and scratch at their ears. However these indicators of pores and skin illness aren’t as apparent in cats!
Indicators of pores and skin illness in cats might embody:
- Dropping hair, particularly on the stomach and thighs
- Extreme grooming, licking, or chewing at fur
- Extreme scratching
- Bumps or “pimples” on the pores and skin
- Flaky or scaly fur
- Scabs on the pores and skin or fur
- Swelling, thickening, or redness (irritation) of the pores and skin
- Irregular odor of the fur
What causes pores and skin illness in cats?
There are quite a few causes for pores and skin illness in cats, together with:
- Fungal infections (e.g., ringworm)
- Insect bites (e.g., mosquitos, biting flies, and so forth.)
- Environmental or seasonal allergy symptoms
- Secondary bacterial or yeast infections
- Pores and skin infections (e.g., abscesses from combating with different cats)
- Meals allergy symptoms
- Allergic reactions
- Sure prescription medicines inflicting a uncommon adversarial impact (e.g., methimazole or thyroid treatment, anti-seizure medicines, and so forth.)
- Pores and skin most cancers (much less frequent)
- Viral infections (uncommon)
Relying on the underlying reason for pores and skin illness, sure sorts are seen in youthful versus older cats. In younger cats—particularly these not too long ago adopted from animal shelters, catteries, or farms—sure infectious causes akin to ringworm, parasites, and even mites are extra frequent. Fortunately, these are all treatable, however are extra prevalent due to the group dwelling setting the place cats are extra carefully housed collectively. In grownup to older cats, I’m extra frightened about underlying meals allergy symptoms or environmental allergens inflicting pores and skin illness.
Whatever the trigger, pores and skin illness in cats ought to be handled instantly by your veterinarian to forestall well being issues, discomfort and ache to your cat, unfold to different cats within the family, and even zoonotic unfold to you. (Sure, one thing like ringworm can unfold to you and your complete family!)
How do you diagnose pores and skin illness in cats?
Your veterinarian might want to determine what’s inflicting the pores and skin illness in your cat. This may increasingly embody a radical historical past, bodily examination, and even session with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist! Different strategies of prognosis might embody:
- Microscopic pores and skin evaluation (e.g., cytology)
- Pores and skin tradition (e.g., for ringworm)
- Dietary trial
- Medical trial
- Change in setting
- Pores and skin testing
- Surgical biopsies
To begin the work-up for pores and skin illness, your veterinarian will start with a historical past, asking if there are any new cats within the setting, any medicines began, flea/tick treatment, current food regimen adjustments, indoor/out of doors standing, and so forth. Your veterinarian will ask about what scientific indicators your cat is exhibiting, akin to the situation of hair loss, licking, vomiting, diarrhea, and extra. Relying on the age of your cat, your veterinarian might do sure assessments over others. For instance, in a youthful cat, I’m extra prone to begin with a fungal tradition for ringworm or pores and skin scrape for cytology. In an grownup to older cat, I’m extra prone to run a sequence of assessments to rule out meals allergy symptoms or environmental allergens.
What’s the therapy for pores and skin illness in cats?
The therapy for pores and skin illness in cats sometimes will depend on the underlying trigger. Remedy with flea/tick treatment is the best place to start out. Even when your cat is indoor (however you may have a canine that goes outdoors), you need to maintain your cat on preventative flea treatment. That’s as a result of after you have a flea infestation in the home, it’s very troublesome to eliminate it! (NOTE: You must by no means use flea preventative drugs meant for a canine on a cat—that may be toxic!)
Subsequent, your veterinarian might routinely deal with your cat with a parasiticide (which kills parasites like mites, and so forth.) like ivermectin. Typically a course of antibiotics or a brief course of anti-inflammatory or anti-itch medicines could also be obligatory. As for ringworm infections, we don’t sometimes begin antifungal medicines (e.g., itraconazole, fluconazole, and so forth.) till we have now affirmation primarily based on tradition (or different assessments). That’s as a result of the antifungal treatment may be costly and has uncommon potential unwanted side effects. (Routine blood work monitoring of liver enzymes can be wanted whereas on antifungal treatment.)
As my very own cat has extreme meals allergy symptoms, I needed to take a look at her with a short-term (12-week course) hypoallergenic food regimen trial. I regularly bought her used to consuming this meals over just a few weeks, after which ultimately transitioned her 100% to only this hypoallergenic food regimen. This implies completely no treats, catnip, or anything going by means of her mouth for just a few weeks! For my cat, her scientific indicators of extreme licking and baldness on her stomach and thighs resolved shortly, indicating her pores and skin illness was from a extreme meals allergy.
What’s the prognosis for pores and skin illness in cats?
Fortunately, the prognosis for pores and skin illness in cats is mostly good! That mentioned, untreated, it can lead to hair loss, extreme grooming, secondary infections, discomfort, and even ache.
In the event you discover something uncommon along with your cat’s grooming habits, pores and skin, or hair coat, it’s greatest to get to the vet instantly to be checked out. Please remember that over-the-counter and even holistic important oils may be very toxic to a cat. Some at-home cures may even make sure forms of pores and skin illness worse! When doubtful, maintain your cat—and their fur—as wholesome and completely happy as attainable.
Photograph by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash