How do you know if your cat has a skin condition? Well, two common symptoms are massive hair loss and scratching like she’s entered herself in a World Scratch-a-thon and is determined to win.
There are other symptoms too, depending on this issue and we’ll look at those in a minute.
But first, you might ask yourself, what could trigger an all out Scratch-a-thon in my cat and your answer could be fleas. Food Allergies. Even cancer could drive your cat to the brink of compulsive chewing, biting, and scratching.
The fact is, there are many types of skin conditions that can affect your kitty’s health. That’s why it makes sense to have regular appointments with your veterinarian and if you suspect a skin problem, he or she can investigate further.
Your veterinarian can learn more by taking a sample of skin debris or hair follicles and looking at it under the microscope. There could microscopic bacteria hiding on your kitty’s skin and causing that itch.
Besides itching, there are other signs too.
5 Common Signs Your Cat Has a Skin Condition (Besides Non-Stop Itching)
Excessive hair loss – there’s normal shedding and then there’s gobs of fur coming out in handfuls and leaving bald patches behind. The latter is definitely a sign of a problem and you will want to book an appointment with your veterinarian to have your kitty tested.
Unusual hair loss can be a sign of diabetes, thyroid disease, or other serious illness for which your veterinarian can prescribe treatment.
Sometimes though, the hair loss is not as visible. It might only a bit around the nose and eyes where your cat’s fur is short anyway. If your cat seems to paw at her face, this may signal a rash or an allergic reaction which your veterinarian can help diagnose.
Feline Acne -- It turns out that much like a nervous teenager, cats can get acne. Causes for these bumps include medication, infections and poor grooming. Some cats are allergic to ingredients in certain shampoos or other grooming products. If that’s the case with your cat, you’ll want to discover the source so that you no longer use it on Fluffy.
Flaky Skin— If your kitty has flaky (dandruff-like) patches, it could be caused by a nutritional deficiency or it could be the sign of an underlying medical problem like a skin infection or even hyperthyroidism. It’s also possible that your kitty is having trouble grooming herself if the flaky skin is confined to a hard to reach area.
Ear Mites –If your cat is shaking her head a lot and is paying a lot of attention to her ears, it may be because she has ear mites. Other symptoms include a strong smell and blocked ear canals by a dark, gritty substance.
It’s tough to see these tiny creatures so if you suspect your cat may have ear mites, you’ll want to have her evaluated.
Abscesses – Often caused by bites or other puncture wounds, cats who are prone to altercations with other animals are most at risk. It’s a pus-filled bump and signals a bacterial infection. Your veterinarian will drain the infected area and treat with antibiotics.
Other signs of skin problems include sores, lumps, and bumps of all types. Some of these – like ringworm – are highly contagious and can be passed to humans.
Can You Prevent Cat Skin Conditions?
As you can see, many of these symptoms are obvious – such as bald patches and excessive scratching. Others are less so. If you feel any unusual lumps when you pet or brush your cat, make a mental note and consult your veterinarian.
Regular grooming and a nutritious diet will go a long way toward helping your cat stay healthy but sometimes, your pet will pick up bacteria or develop a serious illness.
Your best defense as a caring pet owner is to provide regular maintenance – brushing, teeth cleaning and annual or semi-annual trips to the veterinarian. If your cat is 8 years old or older, your cat should come in twice a year, once a year if your cat is younger than 8. Call today book an appointment with us.
Skin conditions can be symptoms of serious -- and sometimes contagious-- diseases. The sooner you get treatment for your kitty, the sooner you can help her feel better.