Dermatitis in cats
If your cat is showing signs of excessive scratching, hair loss or over grooming to the point where their actions become aggressive, causing redness and lesions to appear on their skin, then they may have feline dermatitis.
What causes it?
There are a number of causes but flea bite hypersensitivity is the most common, other causes include;
- Food intolerance
- Inhalant allergy
- Bacterial infections
- Yeast infections
- Drug hypersensitivity
- Poor diet
As you can see from the amount of causes it’s important that owners seek veterinary advice in order to find the cause and commence treatment to alleviate the pet’s discomfort as soon as possible.
How is dermatitis diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your cat to identify what is causing the dermatitis so the correct treatment can be given. The location of the redness and lesions may provide a clue as to the cause. If they are close to the base of the tail then fleas are often the culprit. If they are around the head, mites may be the cause.
Your veterinarian will analysis coat brushings, skin scrapings & fur samples to check for parasitic infections such as mites, fleas or fungal infections. A faecal examination may be performed to check for internal parasites or a blood test to see if there is an underlying medical condition causing the problem.
Allergy testing is also possible to see if inhalant antigens are the cause.
How is dermatitis treated?
Treatment depends on the cause if it is fleas, then removal of the fleas from the cat & environment should cure the problem. Strict flea control will need to be performed routinely to ensure the dermatitis doesn’t recur.
The same goes for mites, mange, intestinal parasites, fungal or yeast infection, treat the cause and the dermatitis should go away.
A hypoallergenic diet may be tried if parasites, yeast infections, fungal infections etc., are ruled out.
Antibiotics may be prescribed for secondary skin infections, if required and shampoos may be recommended to relieve itching & inflammation.
Keep your cat’s parasite prevention treatment up to date to minimise skin problems, if you have any concerns call Vet Cross and talk to one of the team.