We Know Allergies Cause Itchy Skin In Cats But Can Anxiety Or Stress Cause Skin Conditions Or Itchiness In My Cat
Yes, we do see that in cats. I will say that the overwhelming majority of itchiness in cats is related to an underlying organic skin condition. It is also often other issues in the body that are causing skin conditions. There’s usually an underlying cause that’s not behavioral. In some cases, cats that are stressed, anxious, or dealing with high levels of day-to-day anxiety will pull their hair out, not because they’re itchy, but because they’re stressed. It is difficult to determine the issue in those situations. First, focus on the common things that cause cats to do that. It is often a skin condition, but it’s also important to understand that sometimes, especially indoor cats, are dealing with a lot of stress that’s related to a lack of environmental, mental, and physical stimulation. Work through factors like inter-cat conflict or conflict with other pets in the house. Many behavioral things impact cats that sometimes lead to them pulling out their hair. These are complicated situations, so it’s best to work through those things with your veterinarian to get the best results.
Identifying Cat Skin Problems By Location On The Body
The location of the cat skin disorder can also indicate the type or problem your cat might have. For example feline skin problems on the ear can indicate mites or food allergy, a facial problem could be mange and near the tail is most likely a problem with fleas. Hair loss on the back half of the body are often due to food allergy or atopy .
Certain breeds have a higher incidence of cat skin problems. For example:
- Abyssinian cats: earwax and cat ear canal infection , excessive grooming
- Persian cats: cat walking dandruff , Ringworm , superficial dermatitis that occurs in skin folds due to moisture that leads to skin infection, feline seborrhea
- Siamese cats: food allergy, hair loss , white cat hair around eyes , cat white skin patches
There are also problems that are unique to kitten skin.
What Is The Prognosis For A Cat Diagnosed With Miliary Dermatitis
For most cats, the prognosis is excellent for controlling the condition. The offending allergen must be removed for long-term resolution. Depending on the climate and the cat’s life style, year-round monthly flea preventive may be recommended. Many cats that have an allergic cause to their miliary dermatitis respond well to intermittent corticosteroid therapy, hypoallergenic diets, antihistamines and/or cyclosporines. Your veterinarian will outline the best treatment protocol for your cat’s individual needs.
|Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM|
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Is It Normal For A Cat To Have Skin Problems
One of the first things youll want to ask yourself is whether cat skin problems are normal. The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. Some cat skin problems are normal and can be caused by things like food allergies or environmental irritants. But other skin problems like ringworm or cat acne may be a sign of an underlying health issue.
If your cat is having skin problems, the best thing you can do is take them to the vet for a checkup. The vet will determine the root cause of the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Medication For Skin Disease In Cats
As noted above, several different causes of skin disease in cats may require the use of medication. The most common treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication. This may be given as tablets , oral liquids , or depot injections . These are prescription-only medications so they need to be used under the careful supervision of your veterinarian.
- Anti-fungal and/or antibacterial medication, topically and/or systemicallyAntihistamines may sometimes be suggested.
- Shampoos may be recommended as topical treatments for a number of different skin diseases.
- Dietary supplements such as omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids are often recommended to generally improve the health of the skin and to improve the skin barrier.
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Fatal Skin Diseases In Dogs And Cats: What Veterinary Professionals Need To Know
JoAnna Pendergrass, DVMFirstline
They’re rare, unusual and prognosis is often dismal. But in the event you encounter one of these difficult dermatologic cases, you’ll want to be prepared. Heres the latest on potentially fatal skin diseases in small animals.
No, skin diseases in small animals aren’t typically fatal.
However, the lesions associated with some skin diseases in dogs and cats are severe enough to make a pet look so bad that its owner no longer wants to deal with the disease and decides to relinquish-or even euthanize-the pet.
Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California-Davis, recently spoke about the skin conditions that threaten the well-being of the affected animal. Here are his insights on neoplastic, metabolic, immune-mediated and neutrophilic small animal skin diseases.
How Soon Should I Bring My Cat To See A Veterinarian For Issues With Their Skin
As with most things, the sooner, the better, because, again, these cats are often miserable or at least uncomfortable when they have certain skin diseases, especially if they’re itchy. So addressing that sooner is just much better for their quality of life, and we can intervene and hopefully get to the bottom of it sooner. Other conditions can affect the skin that have many other detrimental effects on the body, including hyperthyroidism, which we see in older cats. And that can affect the skin. So it may look like the primary issue is the skin when, in reality, they have a severe underlying medical condition. And so, being able to assess and address those things earlier in the process is always better for the cat.
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Infectious Dermatitis In Cats
Ringworm, fungal and yeast infections can cause all sorts of skin problems in cats, known as infectious dermatitis. Infectious dermatitis is easily passed to other cats and, in the case of ringworm, people too. Treatment may involves clipping the cats fur to apply suitable creams as well as any oral or topical treatments appropriate to the underlying cause
Why Is My Cat So Itchy
In most cases, allergies are the cause. Different things can cause an itch. Primarily, you have the underlying condition. Suppose your cat has an allergy, like if they’re allergic to a variety of pollens, your cat’s immune system overreacts and causes inflammation. Inflammation for cats and dogs tends to manifest in the skin. That inflammation disrupting the skin barrier in combination with other factors causes itching.
On top of that, once your pet gets secondary skin infections, it leads to worse itching. The extent to which each layer causes itching depends on the individual situation. A combination of the inflammation because of the allergy and the secondary bacterial or yeast overgrowth cause itching. Sometimes there’s no secondary infection, and it’s just an underlying allergy or related condition that causes your cat to itch. Each situation is different, and because there are many things to tease out, it’s important to have your cat evaluated by a veterinarian. In cases where the itching is difficult to manage, making the cats miserable, we refer to a board-certified dermatologist to get the best control possible.
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What Does A Skin Infection Look Like
There are a number of lesions that can be suggestive of a skin infection most of the time apart from ringworm, what we see, and treat, is the secondary infection of self-inflicted lesions due to the cat scratching or licking excessively. These usually reflect the underlying condition that is debilitating your pets skin, and can include:
- Circular hair loss/broken hair, desquamation and sometimes a pink/red margin around central healing, sign of ringworm
- Small, crusted lesions on the trunk for example
- Crusts on the head and neck
- Raw skin and wounds
Greasy tail in a cat
Fungal Skin Infection Ringworm And Malassezia
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by fungi, also referred to as dermatophytes.
Cats catch ringworm from contact with infected animals or exposure to a contaminated environment. However, not all cats will develop the disease, and it seems that debilitated, young, or older cats are more predisposed to infection.
Ringworm lesions can have a circular shape and can vary in appearance from bald circular patches of dry, scaling skin to red skin with dandruff, papules, and crusts.
Go to the next picture for illustration of the disorder
Ringworm lesion on ca cat’s head. Localised hair loss with redness
Unfortunately, this disease is contagious and can be transmitted to other animals in your household and to you and your family as well, especially if they are debilitated or immunocompromised.
Malassezia is a type of yeast that can be found on the surface layers of the skin in healthy cats. In most cases, these yeast organisms cause no harm to the cat, but if numbers multiply, this can lead to dermatitis .
Malassezia dermatitis, although fairly uncommon in cats, causes itchy, scaly, inflamed skin, predominantly seen in the ear canals, on the face, around the claws and on the chin . The coat may appear greasy too.
Go to the next picture for illustration of the disorder
Malassezia infection in a cat. You can notice hair loss, some redness, greasy skin and coat
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Could A Grooming Product I’m Using Cause Skin Conditions In My Cat
Not commonly. There can certainly be reactions to something you put on your cat. Even the best flea and tick preventions and the product we use will occasionally cause a reaction. That can’t be avoided, but it typically occurs shortly after you apply the product, and it’s not going to be ongoing. If you’re using a product that your cat has a significant reaction to, like if they’re itchy and their skin’s red, and you continue to use the product regularly, it could be ongoing. I often get asked, “We bathed my cat a month ago, and it’s still itching. Is it because of the shampoo?” It’s possible, but if your cat’s having skin issues, it’s mostly because of an underlying issue like allergies instead of a product. That has to be discussed with your veterinarian because there can be reactions, but it’s not common.
Atopic Dermatitis In Cats
Atopic dermatitis is a skin reaction to an allergen a cat has touched or inhaled. Causes include dust and mould spores, food or milk products, wool or nylon, and various pollens.
The cats skin breaks out much like acne in us humans and starts to itch. Scratching often breaks the skin and causes bleeding or hair loss, and can even lead to infection.
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How Will A Veterinarian Diagnose Skin Issues In My Cat
Diagnosing skin issues in cats isn’t necessarily a cookie-cutter approach. I can walk you through some of the basics that we look at. So when we have a skin disease, we’ve got hair loss, skin lesions, ear problems, or whatever else it may be. Usually, the starting point of diagnostics that we will do is a skin and ear cytology. Those are getting samples from the skin in the ears, putting them on a microscope slide, staining them and looking under the microscope, and checking for secondary infection. The word secondary is critical because it’s not common for cats or dogs to have primary skin infections. Skin infections are almost always the result of something else underneath, but understanding the infection is essential.
Cytologies, or skin scrapings, are what we use to look for mites and that kind of thing. And then, there are specific tests you can do for ringworm that are pretty different and specific. So we figure out the test based on the presentation. Now we used to have to culture to find out about ringworm, which would take a few weeks. We’ve got some better testing now that that only takes a couple of days. Certain types of skin cancer require skin biopsies, and then addressing the underlying primary issue, particularly with allergies, is often not very simple.
What Is Feline Miliary Dermatitis
Feline miliary dermatitis is a general term used to describe a skin condition in cats that most commonly results from an allergic reaction. The term ‘miliary’ is derived from the word milium, which is Latin for ‘millet’, as the small crusted lesions of miliary dermatitis resemble millet seeds. Frequently these lesions can be felt rather than seen.
“In some cases, even touching the affected skin causes the cat to scratch, lick, or twitch.”
Clinically, the patient has a very itchy rash and may lick, bite, and scratch at the affected skin. In some cases, even touching the affected skin causes the cat to scratch, lick, or twitch. The rash quickly progresses to small lesions with scabs on them these may be the result of self-trauma, or the result of the allergic reaction itself. The most commonly affected areas include: lower spine and around the base of the tail, face, ears, neck, flanks, and belly. The coat often becomes thin in affected areas. In severe cases, the rash becomes infected, which is seen as pustules or pimple-like lesions. Affected cats spend a lot of time grooming and scratching the affected areas.
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What Are The Signs Of Skin Disease
The most obvious sign of skin problem in cats is the cat scratching or licking themselves. At first, this may just appear to be excessive grooming, or over-grooming at first, but this behavior often makes a mild condition far worse.
The five main signs that owners may notice when a cat has a skin problem are:
Why Is It Important To Avoid Self
There are a variety of presentations and different causes of skin conditions, and the way the skin lesion looks is often not definitive. As such, you mustn’t try to diagnose your cat’s skin condition because a certain presentation doesn’t necessarily mean a certain disease. So having a methodical approach that a veterinarian can take by looking at the signs and the history and doing some basic diagnostics is a much more helpful way to approach feline skin disease. The other thing is that addressing the skin disease and the itching can be quite complicated, and there are not many good over-the-counter products that you can use for a lot of these situations. And some of the over-the-counter medications can be pretty dangerous. We want to err on the side of caution with cats, as they can be a bit more sensitive. And so, having your veterinarian look at your cat, assess the skin, talk about the history, do a physical exam, and do some basic diagnostics will be helpful when trying to get a more clear picture as to what’s going on.
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Assist With Grooming When Needed
Although assisted grooming can be an appropriate treatment in cats that have difficulty doing the job themselves, especially cats that are older or overweight, you should not bathe or groom your cat too much, as this can cause its own set of problems. You can help your cat groom by using tools such as a damp rag and a rubber grooming brush.
Flea And Tick Prevention
Want to help protect your doggie from these creepy critters? Its time to learn as much as you can about flea and tick prevention.
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Causes Of Skin Problems In Cats
There are many possible causes of skin conditions in cats. Many of them cause similar symptoms. So, while the location and appearance of a skin lesion can give clues to the underlying cause, further testing is usually needed for an accurate diagnosis.
With that in mind, here are some of the most common causes of skin conditions in cats
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Treatment For Cat Skin Conditions
An accurate diagnosis is important when planning treatment. When symptoms alone are treated without addressing the underlying cause, the problem might come right back.
Treatment for the underlying cause might mean parasite control, antifungal shampoo or medications for ringworm, antibiotics and surgical lancing and cleaning of an abscess, a special diet for food allergies, or other specific treatments as indicated.
For contagious conditions , the vet team can offer advice on preventing the spread to people and other pets.
Regardless of the underlying cause, many of the following treatments are commonly used to provide relief and allow the skin to heal.
Check with your veterinarian before giving any medications to your cat, since many common home medications are toxic to kitties.
Its also important to understand the nature of your cats condition and keep realistic goals. For example, allergies cannot be cured, so they usually dont go away entirely. Instead, they can be managed so symptoms are minimized and a kitty has a great quality of life.
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