Skin problems in Cats
If your cat’s dignified poses have given way to constant scratching and licking, a skin problem may be to blame. Cats are susceptible to skin infections, parasites, allergies, and many other conditions. Here is an overview of some of the most common feline skin problems.
Yeast infections are caused by a fungus and are more likely to occur in cats that have other medical problems. The ear is one of the most common spots for a yeast infection.
Symptoms may include a black or yellow discharge, redness of the ear flap, and persistent scratching of the ear.
Yeast infections respond well to treatment with antifungal medicine, but make sure to get a diagnosis from a veterinarian before using anything on your cat.
Ringworm is another type of fungus that affects cats, especially if they are under age 1. It may cause circular lesions on a cat’s head, ears, and forelimbs. The skin around these lesions is often flaky and bald.
Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread to other pets in the home, as well as to people. Treatment depends on severity, but may include specialized shampoos, ointments, or oral medications.
Cats can have allergic reactions to grooming products, food, and environmental irritants, such as pollen or flea bites. Scratching the head or neck is a common sign of food allergies.
Symptoms of other allergies include chewing on the paws or base of the tail, or scratching the ears. Allergies can cause hair loss or skin lesions anywhere on the body, including the belly.
There are a variety of treatments to soothe itching skin associated with allergies, but avoiding exposure to the irritants is the best strategy.
Shedding and Hair Loss (Alopecia)
If you live with cats, you learn to cope with cat hair on your favourite sweater. But if you notice your cat is losing more hair than usual or has bald patches, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Abnormal hair loss can be a warning sign of several illnesses, as well as fleas, stress, allergies, or poor nutrition.
Dry, Flaky Skin
Like people, some cats get dry, flaky skin in the winter. It’s usually nothing serious, but have your veterinarian take a look. Persistent dandruff may be a sign of poor nutrition, inadequate grooming, or an underlying medical problem. Special shampoos and supplements of omega-3 fatty acids can help treat feline dandruff.
Cats are known to be fastidious groomers, but sometimes they overdo it. Compulsive licking, chewing, or sucking on the skin may lead to irritation, infection, and thinning hair (a condition called psychogenic alopecia.)
Cats may groom compulsively in response to stress, such as moving into a new home, but may also over groom due to a medical problem such as osteoarthritis. If this describes your cat, talk to your vet about stress reduction and behaviour modification strategies.
Homeopathy can support certain skin and mental conditions. If you have a cat that has physical or mental issues and you would like to support it in a more natural way, please feel free to contact me.
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The information contained in this website is not intended to replace guidance from your veterinarian. Bowen Therapy and Homeopathy are complementary to veterinary treatment and the general care of the animal.