|Protect Your Cat
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a skin problem, talk to your veterinarian. Describe the specific symptoms and provide relevant information: when did you first notice your cat’s condition? Is your cat itchy or grooming more than usual? Do any other pets have lesions? Or you? Have you used any medicine or flea meds?
Unexplained bumps, nodules, open sores, hair loss and rashes require prompt veterinary care. They may be symptoms of a more serious health condition. Your veterinarian can best determine the course of care.
Cats can suffer from a variety of different skin disorders, including feline acne, allergic dermatitis, mites and ringworm. If your cat is frequently itching, scratching, licking his skin beyond normal grooming, or suffering unexplained hair loss, a skin condition may be the cause.
The first step to treating a skin condition is diagnosis of the specific problem. Many skin conditions share similar symptoms, such as hair loss, scabs, or flaky skin. Depending on your cat’s symptoms, a veterinarian may begin by ruling out the most common skin problems.
Allergies are very common in cats. While people show their allergies by sneezing, nasal congestion, and red eyes; cats show their allergies in their skin. There are four types of skin problems cats can have as a result of allergies: hair loss without much skin changes; miliary dermatitis - which causes small pinpoint scabs, especially on the neck and over the hips and tail base; eosinophilic granulomas - which are raised, red, hairless lesions, commonly on the lips, but can be lower on the jaw or neck, or even on the rear legs; severe itchiness at the face or neck. The most common allergies are to fleas, pollen, food ingredients, molds, and house dust mites. Unfortunately, any of the allergens can cause any of the patterns.
Even if your cat is an indoor pet, another pet in the household may have exposed your cat to fleas, or you may have brought them home! If your cat is allergic to fleas, a single flea bite can trigger a reaction that lasts for days to weeks. Good flea control is essential to preventing allergic dermatitis.
Feline acne is one of the most common feline skin conditions. That’s right; even cats can suffer from a bad case of pimples! But cats show their acne only on the chin. You may see just blackheads, or the cat may have red, raised bumps on their chin. For most cats, feline acne will simply clear up by itself. However, if your cat’s acne persists, a medicated shampoo, oral antibiotics or a prescription ointment will help.
American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD)
Bernstein, Joseph A. DVM. "Manifestations of Feline Allergy." Annual Dermatology Continuing Education Conference.