Is your cat having skin condition issues?
We all know cats are fastidious groomers, frequently giving themselves baths and making sure they’re clear.
Did you know, though, that excessive grooming can actually be a sign of cat skin problems?
Along with excessive scratching and hair loss, an exaggerated amount of grooming may be a sign you should contact the Catonsville Cat Clinic.
Though cat skin conditions are not often an emergency, it could certainly be a sign that your cat is unhappy. A persistent skin problem can keep them from enjoying their daily life until those symptoms are addressed.
Compared to dogs, cats tend to require less regular attention for their coats and for their skin. One helpful preventative measure is to do a weekly brushing with your cat. This check-in will keep you familiar with their coat and skin. That way, you’ll be that much more likely to notice any potential cat skin conditions so you can take them right to the veterinarian for care.
How To Recognize Cat Skin Conditions
What are the tell-tale signs of cat skin conditions? These are 5 key signs to keep on alert for:
- Hair loss – Noticing bald patches? Cat shedding more than normal? One of the more common signs of cat skin problems is hair loss.
- Excessive grooming – Another potential indicator of a skin problem, especially if it seems more frenetic. This happens if your cat is itchy or uncomfortable.
- Excessive head shaking – As a sign of either skin problems or issues with their heads, excessive head shaking is worth looking into.
- Irritated skin – Noticing red, scaly, scabby, or patchy areas while brushing your cat? It’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
- Fleas and ticks – Commonly found on an animal’s skin, fleas and ticks are also a sign your cat needs to visit their vet.
List Of Common Cat Skin Conditions
If you have noticed that your cat has one or some of the above symptoms, you may be wondering what the underlying cause is.
Below are some of the common types of cat skin conditions worth knowing about:
- Ticks – Ticks can attach to the skin, causing a raised bump or cause localized swelling as the cat’s reaction to fight it off
- Mites – Also called ear mites, these can produce itchy ears. This is most often seen in kittens and will cause them to hold their head sideways in discomfort. This should be treated by your veterinarian as soon as possible
- Other external parasites, including fleas – These cause itchy skin and cat skin allergies which may in turn cause your cat to scratch and bite itself, leading to secondary infections
- Food allergies – As cats may be prone to food allergies, the cat can develop itchiness over its face. Your veterinarian can help you know what changes are needed for the cat’s diet, along with helping you with a food trial
- Acne – While similar in appearance to a rash, cat acne can involve prescription medication for its treatment
- Cat dermatitis – Skin that’s red, swollen, sore, or with small blisters could be a sign of cat dermatitis which results from direct irritation of the skin
- Cat skin cancer – New or changing skin spots could be a sign of cat cancer, a potentially life threatening condition that justifies an urgent veterinary appointment
- Polyps – Like humans, cats can develop a growth in their ear canals. The proper diagnosis of these will include an otoscopic exam
- Environmental allergies – Like humans, cats can develop allergies to substances in their nearby environment
Other symptoms of cat allergies include:
- Asthma/respiratory symptoms
- Eosinophilic granulomas or plaques
- Excessive grooming
- Feline acne
- Nasal discharge
- Watery eyes
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How To Test And Diagnose
Administered by your veterinarians at the Catonsville Cat Clinic, there are a number of tests available for diagnosing cat skin conditions:
- Microscope examination – Collecting material from the skin or the ear allows us to look for mites, yeast, bacteria, or certain types of cells to find out the cause of the discomfort
- Taking culture of hairs – By examining a fungal culture, it is possible to detect ringworms
- Skin biopsies & cultures – Using a local anesthetic, we can remove a small sample of the affected tissue to examine it
- Allergy testing – Done through the use of blood serum IgE testing
How To Treat Cat Skin Conditions
The first step is getting a diagnosis. From there, we can offer a plan of treatment. Here are some of the common types of treatment:
- If your cat has fleas, your vet will treat for flea control
- If it’s a food allergy, switching your cat’s food may be the best option
- For certain allergic responses, an immune modulating medication may be necessary
- If the itching is severe enough, an anti-itch medication will help them feel more comfortable
Depending on the kind of medication, you may be able to administer it at home. Other kinds must be injected by a veterinarian.
By working with the team at the Catonsville Cat Clinic, your cat will get a thorough exam, an accurate diagnosis, and the proper treatment.
Schedule A Cat Dermatology Visit
Have you noticed any of the symptoms above? If you’ve seen changes in your cat’s grooming, noticed them itching, or discovered red patches on their skin, it’s time to make an appointment.
Untreated, these cat skin conditions can become more difficult to treat – and more costly. Early detection and early treatment is the key to a happy, healthy cat.