Feline Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Posted on: 14 July 2015

Cats tend to suffer in silence, but if you've noticed your furry friend acting unusually fidgety or itchy, you may be dealing with feline dermatitis. Below is an explanation of the causes of dermatitis in cats, as well as how you can spot it and what can be done to treat and prevent the problem.

What Causes Dermatitis in Felines?

Similar to humans, there are a number of things that can cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) in cats. Allergies, poor nutrition, parasites, and underlying medication conditions are just a few.

A number of these causes can be ruled out fairly easily, though others may require some trial and error. Blood testing and a medical examination can rule out parasites and underlying conditions, but allergies and poor nutrition can be a bit more difficult to diagnose and treat.

Signs of Dermatitis

Cats show signs of itchiness and irritation similar to humans, though it can sometimes be harder to find due to their fur coats.

Excessive scratching, biting, or licking are usually the first signs that something is amiss. These excessive behaviors can lead to balding and increased irritation of the skin, so it's important to be aware of their usual habits so you can determine when it seems excessive. Other signs include flakes, which can be visible on their coat, as well as scaly or red patches. Bumps or patches of skin that are hot to the touch can also be indicative of a problem and your cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Treatment and Prevention

Since your cat's dermatitis can be caused by a number of things, it's important to visit your vet immediately to determine the proper treatment route and how this can be prevented in the future.

For some felines, treatment can be as simple as a medicated cream applied daily for a certain span of time. This may be prescribed if a bacterial infection is at play or if fleas or other bugs have done a number on your cat's sensitive skin. For cats with dermatitis caused by food allergies, finding the right food for your cat will require a lot of time, patience, and trial and error.  

Once your cat has been diagnosed and treated, prevention is something that may be on your mind. Your vet can give you helpful suggestions on how to prevent further infections or infestations, and they can also help you to find the right diet for your furry friend. Proper grooming and nutrition are key when it comes to the health of your cat, so both of these things need to be addressed to avoid further issues.

If you suspect your cat is dealing with dermatitis, contact your veterinarian or local animal hospital, such as Metzger Animal Hospital, immediately. While many cases of dermatitis are benign, there are some cases that require immediate treatment, and failure to treat can lead to spreading of the issue and further infection.