Immune Mediated Skin Disease As A Cause For Hair Loss With Scabs In Cats
Pemphigus foliaceus is an immune mediated disease that can cause miliary dermatitis. Typical changes are thick adherent yellowish crusts along the insides of the ear tips and sometimes swelling and crusting of the nail beds. Pemphigus is caused by immune deposits at the connections between skin cells. This causes these skin cells to lift away from their connections and form pustules and scabs. Pemphigus is treated with immunosuppressants like steroids which help reduce the immune deposits in the skin.
Pemphigus is ideally diagnosed by biopsying the skin but sometimes can be diagnosed with a simple impression of the skin with a glass slide to collect skin cells. If your veterinarian sees evidence of acantholytic keratinocytes on the slide, it is very likely pemphigus. Acantholysis is evidence of skin cells that have lost their adhesions to surrounding skin cells. These abnormal skin cells look uncharacteristically large with rounded edges on the slide.
Another immune modulating drug that can be very effective in cats with severe allergies or immune-mediated skin disease is a drug called cyclosporine. This drug inhibits a cytokine which activates a key inflammatory pathway. This medicine comes as a liquid and is given daily for about 4-6 weeks and then tapered to the lowest effective dose.
Symptoms Of Feline Miliary Dermatitis In Cats
Cats that develop feline miliary dermatitis display:
- Tiny, red crusty bumps on the skin
- Thickened skin that is darker than surrounding skin
- Grazed areas on the skin resulting from constant scratching
When a food allergy causes feline miliary dermatitis, the cat may develop sores and scabs around its head and tail. They may also have gastrointestinal signs such as loose stool.
Scabs Caused By Fleas
Flea prevention methods are the first line of defense against these scabs. Flea collars and homemade flea powders are your best friend.
You can make a homemade flea powder by mixing one part baking soda and one part salt. Sprinkle this on your carpets or other areas your cat frequents. The mixture dries out larvae and eggs, significantly reducing the number of fleas in your cats domain.
Its known fleas dislike the smell of cedar chips. So, scatter cedar chips in plants you keep inside, around their play and sleep areas, and in your backyard.
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How Is Alopecia Treated
Treating alopecia depends on the cause behind your cat’s hair loss. Once your vet has run some tests they will be able to recommend flea control products or an anti-fungal treatment if they discover parasites or ringworm.
Treatment of allergic skin diseases can take a little longer but, with the help of a veterinary dermatologist, once the offending food or substance is found, a plan can be put in place to avoid it.
If stress-related over-grooming is suspected, your vet may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist who can help identify the cause of the stress and cat hair loss as well as provide you with advice on how to reduce it.
If your vets investigations show that your cat is over-grooming because of pain in their joints or bladder, they will treat the underlying problem with necessary medication. When the pain stops, the cat hair loss will too.
Once the cause for the alopecia in cats has been found, you should hopefully have a happy and healthy pet again!
Natural Home Remedies To Treat Scabs On Cats
Frequent and persistent scabbing on your cats body is not normal. Keep track of where the scabs appear on your cats body and schedule a visit to your veterinarian immediately once you notice them.
Treatment of the cause varies widely but is often simple to address. And once you know how to treat the cause you can start working on reducing the discomfort of your feline friend.
In this article, well go into detail on six cheap, effective home remedies to help keep your cats scabs clean and irritation-free!
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My Cat Loses Fur When Scratching
The first thing we need to keep in mind is that when a cat itches, they are likely to lick themselves. Licking is also a normal behavior, but if your cat is overgrooming, then we need to pay attention. The cat’s tongue is very rough which is useful when they need to get rid of tough dirt. When it is used excessively, it can cause damage to their skin and coat.
When a cat licks or scratches themselves too much, they can cause hair thinning, hair loss and even skin injury. This is what is meant by a cat scratching themselves raw. The extent of the damage shows the extent of the problem. Localized hair loss may mean one thing, but general skin damage means there is a serious issue.
Pet Insurance For Cat Skin Issues
Cat insurance can help you manage the costs of treatment for skin issues, including underlying illnesses. A cat insurance plan can also help you manage expenses for unexpected accidentswhich can happen to indoor only cats too! Find out what you should know about cat insurance.
*10 Most Common Pet Toxins of 2014 as reported by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
*Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit www.aspcapetinsurance.com/terms. Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. Complete Coverage reimbursements are based on the invoice. Levels 1-4 reimbursements are based on usual and customary eligible costs. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. More information available at checkout.
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Solar Dermatitis In Cats
This skin condition in cats is caused by exposure to sunlight. It affects areas of the skin with less hair or even hairless areas as these parts are more exposed to the sun. The areas around the ears, nose, eyelids and lips are all particularly vulnerable. It will begin with hair loss, redness and skin peeling. If the exposure continues it will become acute and wounds and scabs appear. These lead to pain and scratching from the cat which can complicate the clinical picture.
In the case of the ears, tissues is lost and can generate into a squamous cell carcinoma, a form of malignant tumor. Avoid direct contact with the sun and use protection for hairless cats in the form of sun block and/or clothing.
How To Prevent Hair Loss
Not all of the causes of hair loss in cats are preventable. However, you can take steps to keep your cat as healthy and happy as possible.
- Ensure that your cat’s personal stressorswhether it’s a change in its environment or another animalare kept to a minimum so it does not resort to over grooming out of frustration.
- Provide a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, and regular veterinary checkups to bypass serious health issues.
- Keep your cat on effective flea prevention monthly to prevent infestations of parasites that can cause hair loss.
- Keeping your cat inside can reduce its exposure to many mites as well.
Cats can lose fur on their hind legs due to a variety of issues. The first step in treatment is finding out the underlying cause of the hair loss. If you notice your cat is losing hair, take your cat to your veterinarian for an exam. The sooner the cause is diagnosed, the sooner the cat can be feeling better and growing back their coats.
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What Can Cause Cats To Itch Other Than Fleas
Important causes of pruritus other than fleas include:
- Food intolerance/allergy
- Ear mites and other mites
- Bacterial infections
Food intolerance or allergy
No-one knows the exact mechanisms by which certain foods can make animals and humans itch. Allergy may be involved, but in some cases, it is possible that the pruritus may result from chemical reactions to the food or to additives and preservatives.
However, it is well recognised that changing the diet to a food that cats have not previously been exposed to can cure some cases of pruritic skin disease. Most of these are probably food allergies but the terms food intolerance or food-responsive skin disease are sometimes used as a specific diagnosis is often not made.
Cats may need to be fed an alternative diet for a period of 6-8 weeks to rule out food-response dermatitis, and the choice of food is important. This is not simply switching one brand of cat food for another, as the ingredients are often very similar. Your vet will advise you on the most appropriate diet to use this might be a home-prepared diet, or your vet may suggest a special hypoallergenic diet for the trial period. Many cats also hunt or may be fed by neighbours, which can complicate the trial as it is important that no other foods are eaten during the trial period.
Ear mites Otodectes cynotis
Bacterial skin infections and fungal infections
Flea Allergy Reaction Pattern In Cats
Flea allergy in cats is often diagnosed by the pattern of hair loss and likelihood of exposure. Because ir can take just one flea bite to create an allergic response, its not always possible to find live fleas or evidence of flea dirt on a cat with a flea bite allergy.
This picture shows a classic hair loss distribution pattern in a cat with flea bite allergy. These cats will be mostly itchy over their rump and hind end. You can see this cat has barbered these areas.
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Treatments For Cat Skin Conditions
Getting a diagnosis is the first step.
- If you are dealing with fleas, your vet will treat for flea control.
- If you are dealing with food allergies, we may have to switch your cats food.
- We 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 the veterinarians at Metropolitan Veterinary Center to accurately diagnose the symptoms of your cat’s skin conditions. We will perform a thorough exam and recommend the appropriate treatment.
What You Can Do
You may still be unsure why your cat can’t stop licking and itching, and that’s fine. Make an appointment with her vet so she can get the relief she needs. Your cat may need to be treated with medicine for one of these conditions. It is always important to keep an eye on your cat after giving her medicine to ensure that the issue is improving and not worsening. If the issue doesn’t slowly start to clear up then there might be other cat skin conditions at play. A vet check-up will help ensure she gets the care she needs. Make sure to have a list of all of the symptoms you have noticed in your cat to help her veterinarian diagnosis the skin irritant.
You love your cat and hate to see her uncomfortable. Even though she is a great self-groomer, check her fur and skin regularly for any possible issues, and keep an eye out for changes in smell, itching, and cleaning routine. The sooner these issues are addressed, the better your cat will feel.
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Here Are Some Signs Of Itchiness In Cats:
- Over-grooming an increase in time spent self-grooming
- Scratching using claws and paws to scratch an area usually the chest, head & neck
- Nail pulling biting and pulling at nails
- Rubbing rubbing face on carpet, or rolling the back on floor more than usual
- Scooting rubbing back end on floor or carpet
- Hair balls hair can be ingested due to increased grooming and forms hair balls in stomach. These hair balls are then vomited out by the cat.
- Head shaking a typical sign of itchiness in their ears
- Hair loss trauma to hairs of a certain area can cause hair loss
- Skin rashes and crusts trauma to skin can also cause rashes or infection
Remember, scratching is one of the forms of itchiness. All scratching is itching, but not all itching has to be scratching! Other behaviours such as licking, biting, rubbing, and head shaking can also be signs of itchiness.
Shedding And Hair Loss
If you live with cats, you learn to cope with cat hair on your favorite sweater. But if you notice your cat is losing more hair than usual or has bald patches, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Abnormal hair loss can be a warning sign of several illnesses, as well as fleas, stress, allergies, or poor nutrition.
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What Is Hair Loss In Cats
Hair loss in cats, also known as alopecia, is the complete or partial loss of hair in felines. The most common cause of alopecia which veterinarians suggest is skin allergies.
There are a few types of alopecia which exist. Some cats have hereditary alopecia, meaning that they can never grow hair and will never have any hair on their body, like the sphinx cat breed. Another type of alopecia is pinnal alopecia. It is usually known to develop outside of the ear pinnae. Pinnal alopecia is very common in Siamese cats and usually resolves with time. Another type of alopecia is the thinning of hair between the ears and the eyes. This type is known as preauricular alopecia and it is fairly normal in every cat.The skin surrounding the area of hair loss can appear normal or it can have redness, bumps, scabs, and skin loss. Alopecia may appear in a symmetrical form, or it might be in random areas of the cats skin.
Cats who do not have any of the above-mentioned types of alopecia usually suffer from acquired alopecia. Acquired alopecia is not a disease in itself, as a cat is not born with it. It is often caused by external factors, such as those listed below.
Yeast And Bacterial Infections
Yeast and bacterial infections in cats are caused by other health problems. Yeast lives on the skin of all cats, but may overgrow and become troublesome in those with medical conditions such as diabetes or allergic dermatitis. Certain breeds, like Devon rex and Himalayan, are prone to yeast infections too.
The ears are one of the top places for yeast overgrowth in cats, while bacterial infections often happen around clogged hair follicles . Bacterial infections can also be caused by cats who bite or scratch their skin.
With a yeast or bacterial infection, your cats skin may become red and irritated or develop a brownish, scaly appearance. You might also see discharge or notice a bad smell.
Its important to talk to your vet about how to appropriately diagnose and treat your cats yeast and/or bacterial infection. The vet may prescribe an anti-fungal medication or antibiotic to help clear up the infection. But its also possible that the infection is caused by an underlying illness, like feline leukemia, FIV, diabetes mellitus, or neoplasia. If thats the case, your vet will also try to treat the underlying disease in addition to the skin condition.
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Essental Fatty Acid Supplements For Cats
Essential fatty acid supplementation is often used for anti-inflammatory effects and hyper -sensitivity disorders. The usual dose given is 50 mg/kg of EFA daily composed of EPA and DHA. A good source of EPA and DHA is in marine fish oil. A common dose given to a cat is a 250mg capsule daily of fish oil or 250mg of EPA and DHA in a fish oil that is pumped onto food. If the fish oil comes as a capsule it can be pricked with a needle and emptied onto their food.
Another good source of EFAs are in a pipette applied directly to the skin weekly. Dermoscent makes a spot on product that helps to restore the skins natural barrier and improve dry skin and itchiness. It is called Dermoscent Essential 6 Spot-on
There are a lot great reviews of this product on Amazon including this one:
My cats fur never looked better! i managed to get my cat off STEROIDS that were controlling her skin allergies for over a year! Finally our vet recommended these drops and she has never been softer, better looking kitty plus she barely sheds. Her fur got back the shine and quality.I cannot recommend this enough especially if your cat has skin itchy allergy/problem.. maybe all you need to use for her is this..
Treatment Options For Miliary Dermatitis In Cats
The treatment of your cats scabs and itchy skin will be based on identifying the trigger and relieving the symptoms. If a flea allergy is the culprit, your vet will prescribe a flea medication for at least 2-3 months. Take note that you cant use flea medication for dogs on your cat. Some of these medications contain active ingredients that are toxic to cats.
In cases of a mite or lice infestation, medicated baths or sprays are sometimes applied. If a food allergy is suspected, a hypoallergenic food trial is recommended so a new diet that doesnt contain the offending allergen can be fed.
A short course of corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease the itching and make your cat more comfortable while the specific medication works on getting rid of the primary cause.
If a secondary infection is present, a round of antibiotics or antifungals may be given for a specified period. Even if skin problems start to resolve within a few days of taking the medication, make sure to finish the entire prescription to prevent recurrence which can be more serious and can be a challenge to address.
Additional treatment protocols may also include giving antihistamines, cyclosporine, and supplementing your pets diet with essential fatty acids.
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