In this article by PeritoAnimal, we will talk about skin diseases in cats that appear most commonly in cats of all ages. Wounds, absence of hair, itching, or lumps are some of the symptoms that should make you suspect the presence of dermatological disease in your cat.
It is important to go to the vet, as some conditions can be contagious to people and many others can get complicated if they are not treated early. However, to give you an idea of what it might be, we’ve provided pictures of skin diseases in cats below.
If your cat has scabs, dandruff, skin sores, or hairless areas, read on to discover the most common skin diseases in cats.
Ringworm in cats
This is perhaps the most well-known and feared skin disease in cats, as it is a condition that humans can also contract. It is caused by fungi that feed on the skin and is more likely to affect younger or sicker cats because their defenses have not yet developed or are diminished. That is why it is common to find this skin disease in domestic cats taken from the streets.
These fungi produce various lesions, with rounded alopecia being more typical. The skin can become inflamed and itchy. For its diagnosis, Wood’s lamp is usually used, and treatments include antifungals.
Flea allergy dermatitis
Dermatitis is another common skin disease in cats. It occurs due to a reaction to flea saliva. In allergic cats, a single bite is sufficient to cause lesions in the lumbosacral, perineal, abdomen, flanks, and neck areas.
These symptoms usually intensify during periods of higher flea incidence, although we are sometimes unable to see them. To avoid this skin disease in cats, it is essential that you implement an appropriate deworming schedule for all animals in the house, including disinfecting the environment.
Scabies in cats
The mange in cats is another skin disease most common and feared. The truth is that there are several types, octahedral scabies and demodectic mange the most common in these animals. Both pathologies are characterized by being localized, so that the symptoms do not appear throughout the cat’s body, only in certain areas.
The main symptoms of this type of skin disease in cats are itching, redness in some parts of the body, accompanied by shedding, wounds, and scabs. In the case of scabies, the signs develop in the ears, which show an increase in dark-colored wax, which can even cause otitis if left untreated. It is essential to go to the vet to make the diagnosis and start treatment.
Feline psychogenic alopecia
This alopecia is one of the skin diseases in cats caused by behavioral disorders. The lack of hair is self-induced by excessive licking and cleaning, which occurs when the cat is anxious for reasons such as changes, the arrival of new members in the family, etc. The alopecia can appear anywhere on the body of the animal reaches his mouth. In such cases, treatments involve discovering what triggers stress. You can consult an ethologist or specialist in feline behavior.
Another alopecic problem is the so-called telogen effluvium, in which, due to a situation of strong stress, the hair cycle is interrupted, and the hair ends up falling suddenly when its formation is restarted after overcoming the situation. Normally, hair falls on almost the entire body. It requires no treatment.
This skin disease in cats consists of an inflammation of the chin and, occasionally, of the lips, which can occur in cats of any age. It is a skin disease that is complicated by a secondary infection. Initially, black spots are observed that can progress to pustules, infections, edema, enlarged nearby nodes and itching. The vet will prescribe topical treatment.
Dermatitis in cats
It is due to hypersensitivity reactions to different allergens that cause a skin disease in cats characterized by inflammation and itching, called atopic dermatitis. It usually appears in cats under the age of three and has variable symptoms with signs such as alopecia, sores, and, in all cases, itching.
There are cats that also have a respiratory condition with chronic cough, sneezing, and even conjunctivitis. Treatment is based on itch control.
Solar dermatitis in cats
This skin problem in cats is caused by exposure to the sun and affects the lightest, hairless areas, especially the ears, although it can also appear on the eyelids, nose, or lips. It starts with redness, flaking, and shedding.
If exposure continues, sores and scabs appear, causing pain and scratching, which worsens the condition. In the case of the ears, the tissue is lost and can degenerate into squamous cell carcinoma, which is a malignant tumor. It is necessary to avoid direct contact with the sun, use protection and, in severe cases, intervene surgically.
Sometimes, the injection of vaccines and drugs triggers a neoplastic process due to the irritating substances that these products may contain. In this skin disease in cats, inflammation occurs at the injection site, causing a subcutaneous mass that is not painful to the touch, with the shedding of hair that lasts weeks or months after the puncture. If the disease progresses, it can ulcerate. Treatment is surgical and the prognosis is reserved.
Skin cancer in cats
There are more and more cases of cancer in cats and dogs due to several factors. For this reason, skin cancer is already considered another of the most common skin diseases in cats. In this group, the most common skin cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma and often goes unnoticed until its condition is so advanced that there is little that can be done. That is why visiting the vet for regular checkups is so important.
This type of cancer manifests itself in the form of sores in the area of the nose and ears that do not heal. So, if you identify them in your cat, you should go to the specialist as soon as possible to determine whether you are dealing with a case of cancer or not.
An abscess is an accumulation of pus that manifests itself as a lump. The size can vary and it is common for these nodules to become red and sometimes open as if it were a wound or ulcer. It is not a disease itself, although it is a fairly common skin problem because it occurs as a result of an infection. It causes pain and it is important to treat it to prevent the infection from getting worse, as well as the state of the abscess.
Although abscesses in cats can appear anywhere on the body, those that develop in the perianal region, those caused by bites and dental ones are more common.
Warts in cats
Warts in cats are not always indicative of the presence of a disease, as in most cases they are benign tumors. However, they can also be a sign of skin cancer or a product of viral papillomatosis. Although this disease is generally less common than the previous ones, it can occur.
The virus that produces it is not the canine papillomavirus, but a specific virus that affects only cats. It enters the feline through skin lesions and begins to develop, forming a kind of dermal plaque. Thus, what we see are not isolated warts, as with dogs, but these plaques that show red, bulky, and hairless areas.
In either case, it is important to go to the veterinarian to determine the cause and start treatment.
Skin diseases in Persian cats
All of the above skin problems can affect all breeds of cats. However, Persian cats, due to their characteristics and crossbreeding carried out for years, tend to suffer from a number of skin diseases. Thus, in this feline breed the following diseases stand out:
- Hereditary seborrhea, which can occur in a mild or intense degree. The light form appears after six weeks of life, affecting the skin and the base of the hair, causing pimples and abundant wax in the ears. Severe seborrhea can be seen after 2-3 days of life, with fat, flaking and a bad smell. The treatment uses anti-seborrheic shampoos.
- Idiopathic facial dermatitis, perhaps caused by a disorder in the sebaceous glands. It is characterized by a dark discharge that forms considerable crusts around the eyes, mouth and nose in young cats. The condition is complicated by infections, itching of the face and neck and often otitis. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory drugs and symptom control.
This article is for information only, at Pet Rescue Blog we are not able to prescribe veterinary treatments or perform any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.