What Is Miliary Dermatitis In Cats
Miliary dermatitis has been associated with feline acne, flea eczema, flea allergy dermatitis, and scabby cat disease. The causes of miliary dermatitis in cats can be external and internal. However, they express themselves with more or less the same set of symptoms, scabs being the most obvious of the tell-tale signs.
Excessive self-grooming is often noticed before scabs appear on your cats skin. At first, the cat may only be grooming obsessively a specific area. But as the rash and the itching spread, hair loss can become evident on sites that have been scratched persistently. The most common parts of a cats body that are affected are the neck and the base of the tail.
Possible Causes for Your Cats Scabs and Itchy Skin
Miliary dermatitis in cats has a variety of causes, both internal and external, but the symptoms and manifestations are more or less the same. The most common causes of itchy skin in cats include:
Insect Bite Dermatitis In Cats
Cats can develop inflammation of skin after being bit by insects that feed on blood, such as mosquitoes, fleas, and flies. Small bumps typically form on the tips of the ears and may be covered with scabs or develop into sores.
An allergic reaction to mosquito bites can cause an inflammation of the skin with crusted, slow-healing sores on the outer ears, nose, and rarely the footpads and eyelids of cats. Often referred to as miliary dermatitis, these tiny millet seed eruptions will crust over, ooze, then dry, leaving a small patch of hair loss. In severely affected cats, the affected areas progress from small, hard round bumps to raised, white to pink tumors to crusted, slow-healing sores that merge together to affect extensive areas. The amount of itching varies and lymph nodes may enlarge. Treatment includes keeping the cat inside and using a prescribed insect repellent when exposure to mosquitoes is anticipated. Be sure to use only repellents prescribed by your veterinarian and specifically made for cats.
The rabbit flea is found mainly in Europe and Australia and can be transmitted to cats. The fleas adhere tightly to the skin of the cat and typically affect the tip of the ear, where it may cause inflammation to the skin.
Biting flies can also cause dermatitis after biting cats. Treatment includes controlling the flies in the environment and using anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your veterinarian.
Cat Scratching Scabs On Neck
The neck is usually a very sensitive region which in case of any bacterial, yeast or allergen infection, could result to a scratching scab.
When your cat has got the scabs on the neck area, you will find it usually spending most of the time scratching itself on the affected area. At times, while scratching the skin may get loose and during that time you will see your cat bleeding.
Fundamentally, you are required to constantly monitor your cat, so that you can notice the infection or the allergic reactions in the initial stages so as to help lessen the symptoms such as scratching.
Remember that the cats have got long nails and especially if you do not trim them regularly, these nails can cause serious injuries to the cat, when it is scratching its neck due to the itch scabs.
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Causes Of Cat Skin Issues
In some cases, the condition affecting your cat can be traced back to a specific underlying cause. In other cases, symptoms of skin irritation could be caused by one of several different causessome of which may need to be alleviated to relieve your cat of its skin irritation.
Common causes of skin conditions in cats can include the following:
- Poor grooming, especially when an irritant is not properly cleaned from the skin
- Allergic reactions, which may be caused by new allergens encountered indoors or outdoors
- Genetic skin sensitivities, which may be more likely to develop in certain breeds
- A bacterial infection, potentially acquired through an open wound
- A scratch, cut or other injury causing local redness and inflammation on the skin
- Hormonal imbalances
- Parasites, particularly lice and scabies
What Is Food Allergy And How Is It Treated
Food allergies in cats are caused by an immune reaction to a food or food additive. The allergy most frequently develops in response to the protein component of the food for example, beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. Vegetable proteins such as those found in corn or wheat, as well as food additives and preservatives, may cause food allergies in some cases. Food allergy may produce any of the clinical signs previously discussed, including itching, digestive disorders, and respiratory distress.
Food allergy testing is recommended when the clinical signs have been present for several months, when the cat has a poor response to steroids, or when a very young cat itches without other apparent causes of allergy. Testing is conducted by feeding an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. This means a diet in which the ingredients have not previously been fed to the cat . Because it takes at least eight weeks for all other food products to be removed from the body, the cat must eat the special diet exclusively for a minimum of eight to twelve weeks. If a positive response occurs, you will be instructed on how to proceed.
If the diet is not fed exclusively, it will not be a meaningful test. This means absolutely no treats, other foods, people foods, or flavored medications during this period. This cannot be overemphasized. Even accidentally providing a tiny amount of the offending protein can result in invalidating the test.
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Causes Behind Scabs On Cats Skin
Even though I cant cover all the possibilities behind that shredded patch of skin, I can give you several general causes behind this condition. The scratching was either done by your cat due to skin irritation, or by an external factor , which caused the wound to open in the first place.
In this section, we will cover three general causes, and right by each factor, we will also look at the products that can provide temporary relief in your pets aid. The medical products are listed here as a temporary solution since you are always recommended to go to the vet for closer inspection.
Common Places On Dogs Where Crusty Scabs Appear
Crusty scabs commonly appear on parts of the dogs body that are constantly bitten, scratched, or chewed. These include areas of thick, furred skin that are hard to keep clean.
Your dog may develop scabs on its body if it constantly scratches itself or parasites are always biting it. Crusty scabs are also common in dogs with itchy skin issues, dry skin, or allergies.
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Psychogenic Alopecia In Cats
This is a type of feline skin disease which results from a behavioral disorder. The hair loss is self-induced by excessive licking and grooming. It occurs because the cat is anxious, usually resulting from changes in their environment. This could be due to moving into a new home, the arrival of a new family member or any type of regular stressor. Alopecia can appear anywhere on the body its mouth can reach. In these cases, the treatment will stem from the cause of stress. If we cannot work out why the psychogenic alopecia is occurring, we can contact a feline ethologist.
When the cat grooms so much, they may cause the skin to break and develop wounds which may scab over. You will need to take the cat to the vet to both help discover the cause and to treat any wounds. Since human antiseptic can be toxic to cats, the vet should provide a feline friendly antiseptic.
First What Is Feline Miliary Dermatitis
Because cat skin allergies have so many possible causes and provocations, what we refer to as miliary dermatitis goes by several names. Some you may have heard: the feline acne, feline eczema, the colorful and nonspecific blotch, the highly descriptive scabby cat disease, and flea allergy dermatitis. This last term describes the most common cause of scabs on cats and the one that confounds most cat owners. More on that in a moment.
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There are many causes of miliary dermatitis in cats, external and internal, but they express themselves in the same ways and with the same set of symptoms. Weve mentioned scabs on cats, but these are only the most obvious and telling signs. Before the appearance of scabs on cats, you may notice your pet begin a regimen of outrageously excessive self-grooming. Now, cats spend nearly half their waking life licking and cleaning themselves, so is there a distinction?
With dermatitis, skin inflammations first yield is an itchy rash, which can be difficult to perceive, depending on the length of a cats coat. One sure symptom of miliary dermatitis? Repeated attention to a specific and localized area by licking, scratching or biting it. As the rash spreads, a feline may not only groom obsessively but begin balding at those sites. Areas typically affected are the neck and the spot where the tail meets the trunk.
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Treatment Of Feline Miliary Dermatitis In Cats
Treatment is theoretically straightforward: Remove the irritants and make the cat more comfortable until the lesions heal. In practice, it can be difficult to identify the cause and the skin can flare up.
Cat owners need to remove fleas from the cats home environment, which may help relieve many of its symptoms. If the fleas return, the allergy symptoms and rashes will return. Because cats groom themselves daily, its rare to find live fleas on their bodies.
If the cause of the cats skin condition is a food allergy or intolerance, the pet parent will need to switch the cat to a different food. It is vital that, once a food allergy has been diagnosed, the cat does not eat the allergy-causing food again. If the cat has been allowed to roam outdoors, it may have to stay indoors permanently to reduce the risk of eating an offending food or hunting and eating prey that could cause a relapse.
The cat owner may need to give the cat one of several medications:
- Fatty acid supplements
- Topical ointments
- Medicated shampoo to minimise inflammation and itching
Allergy shots for cats are controversialthey are used only for cats who are severely affected and are not always successful in curing the condition.
What Can I Do To Determine The Cause Of These Scabs
Schedule an appointment with a vet. Your vet will ask you many questions about your cat, including any diet changes, flea preventative used, time spent outside, how long the lesions have been present, do any other pets or people in the home have similar lesions, have any prior treatments been tried and did they give relief, and if there is any seasonal pattern noted.
Initial diagnostic tests often include a skin scraping to look for mites, skin cytology to look for yeast/bacterial infections, and fungal culture to screen for ringworm. A biopsy of the lesions may be needed if the skin does not improve. The biopsy can help screen for cancer , Pemphigus, or other auto-immune skin diseases, and give an idea if this is allergy-related. Biopsies can also find mites that may be hard to find on skin scrapings.
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Treating Cat Dermatitis And In Turn Treating Scabs On Cats
Diagnosing miliary dermatitis is fairly easy for a practiced veterinarian. The placement of the rash, lesions or scabs on cats depending on how far advanced the problem is gives a vet a clearer idea of the true source of the allergic reaction and a good start to a reliable method of treatment. Determining the precise source of your cats skin allergy is key.
For cats who already have sores from excessive grooming where flea bites are at fault, knowing that they have a flea allergy is no condemnation of you as a cat owner or your home cleanliness. Cortisone injections can help alleviate persistent itching, and, if necessary, antibiotics prescribed to treat existing wounds.
Your vet may counsel preventative measures once you know about the cats allergy. Indoor cats who like to venture outdoors supervised may be cautioned against it, or regular use of anti-flea prophylactics may be recommended. Implementing prevention strategies might see you and your cat changing your normal routine, but being consistent with the new routine will ensure your cat doesnt suffer from recurrent bouts of miliary dermatitis.
Tell us: Have you ever seen scabs on your cat? How did you treat them? What was the cause of scabs on cats in your case?
/ Bacterial Or Fungal Infections
A cat may have scabs due to an existing bacterial or fungal infection.
The more time a cat spends outdoors, the more external elements itll encounter. Even fighting with other cats can lead to an infection.
Here are some of the bacterial and fungal conditions that can cause cats to get scabs:
Feline acne commonly forms around a cats chin. In many respects, it resembles human acne. The skin will become inflamed, covered in blackheads, pimples, and pustules. These will eventually scab over.
The Japanese Journal of Veterinary Dermatology notes that any cat, regardless of age, sex or breed, can develop acne. Sometimes, the problem can be treated at home.
If cleaning clears up the acne, no further treatment is needed. This was a temporary outbreak, potentially hormonal in nature. If the problem persists, your cats skin may have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
Pyoderma is a bacterial infection caused by pus in a cats skin.
Pyoderma usually arises due to excessive bacteria. If your cat is not grooming properly, the risk is heightened. Stress can also provoke an outbreak of pyoderma.
Pyoderma was long thought to be rare in cats. However, Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice explains that its more common than previously believed.
Pyoderma is always worth investigating as a possible explanation for scabs on the skin. If pyoderma is diagnosed, your cat will be prescribed antibiotics.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Skin On Cats
The symptoms of dry skin on cats include white dandruff-like flakes appearing in their fur, and noticing your pet scratching at itchy areas. Dry skin can also result in a diminished shine to your cats fur.
They will have what looks like dandruff in their fur, notes Dr. Osborne. Your dog or cat may also be scratching themselves or have a dull-looking coat.
Treating Fleas In Cats
Talk to your vet if you suspect your cat has fleas theyll be able to recommend the most suitable treatment. Cat fleas are persistent little critters, so not only does your cat need to be treated but their environment must be treated, too. This means washing bedding, cushion covers and clothing at high temperatures. Once youve got rid of them, make sure you use a flea-prevention treatment all year round as the both high humidity of the summer and central heating in winter make for cosy flea environments.
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Symptoms Of Dry Cat Skin
The appearance of dandruff-like flakes is a tell-tale sign of dry skin.
You might also want to look out for other symptoms such as
- Excessive grooming
The warmth from the hot towel can help soothe your cats dried-out skin, leaving it feeling refreshed.
Simply approach your cat when its in a calm, approachable mood and drape the hot towel over the dried-out areas. Keep the towel in place and let it sit for around five minutes before removing it.
Cats are not particularly fond of water thus, it is important to wring the towel until it isnt dripping wet before placing it on your pet.
Coconut oil or pure aloe vera
As advised by Pet Lovers Centres Pet Care Consultant, applying coconut oil or pure aloe vera sparingly on your cat will do the trick.
Brush your cat gently
Brushing your pet occasionally with a cat brush can help to remove dead skin flakes and spread its natural skin oils.
Be sure to be gentle and avoid applying too much pressure. You should also take extra care to stroke in the direction of its fur.
Stop immediately if you notice your cat begin to show signs of pain or irritated skin.
Can Shaving A Cats Coat Lead To Health Problems
Shaving your cats coat can predispose them to develop different skin and health conditions. By shaving their fur, we eliminate their protection against extreme weather conditions, water, and ultraviolet rays of the sun, among other things.Without proper protection against water and moisture, cats are more prone to developing superficial infections on their skin. Moisture is a good environment for fungal and bacterial growth and excessive or retained moisture on the surface of their skin often lead to moist dermatitis or dermatophytosis . While primary skin infections can easily be treated with topical or systemic antibiotics and anti-fungals, they can still cause severe discomfort in cats and can lead to secondary inflammation and complications.
Without their fur, cats are at risk of getting sunburns, especially if they spend most of their time outside. The ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause damage, sometimes irreversible, on the outermost layer of the skin and may lead to severe inflammation and secondary infection. In some severe cases, the damage is enough to cause changes in the cellular level and lead to cancer development.
Contrary to what most cat owners believe, trimming down a cats coat during hot weather does not help them cool off, but takes away their ability to regulate their body temperature. Shaving their coat can make them more prone to heatstroke during summer days and hypothermia during cold, winter nights.
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