Skin & Hair Disorders in Cats
Sections below give a brief introduction to a wide range of possible skin and hair disorders in cats,
and suggestions on how to find the causes.
It should be understood, that there is ONE predominant root-cause for skin & hair-loss problems that bothers cats (dogs more often) and their owners today! That root-cause is all about Yeast overgrowth of the digestive tract; wherein, healthy bacteria that is normally "in control" has been destroyed sufficiently to allow Candida yeast to take control. The result is a myriad of external symptoms as yeast-related toxins, poisons, and dying cells exit the body via skin, feet and ears. We recommend you use the NZYMES symptom-checker to assess and take a full accounting for all possible symptoms that may be troubling your precious pet. This can be extra helpful in making this very important determination. But, for even more help in 'understanding and analysis', you can take a few minutes to watch our special assessment VIDEO, if you desire to get your cat started on a path to wellness. Be aware that a vet diagnosis in such cases usually steers towards "allergies".
But, if the above information and assessments leave you unsure as to the root cause for what is going on with your feline friend, the remaining sections of this page provide information on OTHER possible factors or underlying problems.
For a comprehensive list of more issues that may cause a cat to scratch continuously, lick and bite at
their skin and rub against objects to relieve discomfort, SEE: ITCHY
There is another group of skin conditions that affect the
appearance of the coat and hair. These diseases do not cause your cat
much discomfort-at least not at first, Hair Loss is the main sign. It
may appear as impaired growth of new hair, or you may notice a patchy
loss of hair from specific areas of the body. At times, the coat does
not look or feel right and may be greasy or coarse and brittle. To
determine the possible cause, see HAIR LOSS DISORDERS.
When your cat has a painful skin condition and you see pus and
other signs of infection on or beneath the skin, this is pyoderma. Some
cases are caused by self-mutilation and are late consequences of
scratching and biting. Other pyodermas are specific skin diseases that
occur by themselves. See PAINFUL SKIN
DISORDERS WITH PUS DRAINAGE.
During grooming, playing or handling your cat, you may
discover a lump or bump on or beneath the skin. To learn what it might
be, see LUMPS OR BUMPS ON OR
BENEATH THE SKIN.
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a skin ailment,
conduct a thorough examination of the skin and coat. On short-haired
cats, run a fine-toothed comb against the lay of the hair to expose the
skin. On long-haired cats, use a bristle brush. Check the appearance of
the skin and examine the scraping found on the comb and brush. In many
cases the diagnosis is apparent.
Regardless of the nature of your cat's skin issues, NZYMES® natural line of nutritional supplements can help to support her system on many fronts; including improved digestion, better uptake of nutrients, increased immune function, and support against nasty organisms.
powerful formulas have proven their helpfulness in VET STUDIES
, with nutrition conscious veterinarians
and pet owners who have used this powerful formula
for years to help strengthen the immune system,
reduce pain, restore mobility and increase vitality in animals of all
(Crusty Areas Produced by Scratching)
scratching, and licking along the back, around the tail and
hindquarters. Fleas or black and white gritty specks in hair (flea
feces and eggs).
Head Mange Mites (Scabies):
Intense itching around the head, face, neck, edges of ears. Hair rubbed
off. Thick gray to yellow crusts. May be complicated by pyoderma.
Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiella
Mange): Tremendous amounts of dry scaly dandruff over the
back, neck and sides. Mild itching.
and severe skin irritation between the toes, around ears and mouth.
Look for barely visible red, yellow or orange chiggers (larvae).
Ear Mites (Ododectes):Head shaking and scratching at ears. Excessive brown waxy or purulent
material in ear canals.
Ticks: Large insects
attached to skin. May swell up to pea size. Often found around the
ears, along back and between toes.
Two-millimeter-long insects or white grains of sandy material (flits)
found attached to hair. Found beneath matted hair in poorly kept cats.
May have bare spots where hair rubbed off.
Soft-bodied legless fly larvae found in damp matted fur. May be
complicated by pyoderma.
Food Allergy: Severe
itching over the head, neck and back, Swelling of eyelids. Often
complicated by hair loss and oozing sores from constant scratching and
(See Yeast Problem
Feline Miliary Dermatitis:
Small bumps and crusts around the head, neck and back felt beneath hair
coat. May be associated with fleas. May he complicated by pyoderma.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis:
Red itchy bumps and inflamed skin at site of contact with chemical,
detergent paint and so forth. May have scales and hair loss.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis:
Appearance similar to contact dermatitis, but rash may spread beyond
area of contact.
Inhalant Allergy (Atopic
Dermatitis): Appearance similar to feline miliary
dermatitis. May have symmetric hair loss over body.
Indolent (Rodent)Ulcer: Red shiny patches of hairless skin. Usually involves the middle
of the upper lip; occasionally the lower lip. Not painful.
crusty or red circular patches with central hair loss. Sometimes just
broken hairs around the face and ears. Highly contagious. May become
Utilizing a 2%
Solution of OX-E-DROPSor uisng Tincture
of BlackLeaf straight can be very effective in combating
these fungal problems.
Thinning and loss of hair around the eyes and eyelids giving moth-eaten
appearance. Rare in cats.
Raised, red circular plaque on abdomen or inside of thighs
(eosinophilic plaque); or linear plaques on back of hind legs.
Feline Endocrine Alopecia:
Thinning or balding of coat on insides of back legs, lower abdomen and
genital area. Distribution is symmetrical (mirror image). Occurs most
often in neutered males and spayed females.
skin and thinning of hair/coat. Hair becomes dull and brittle. Rare.
Loss of hair in symmetrical pattern over trunk with darkening of
underlying skin. May indicate thyroid problem.
Stud Tail: Greasy,
rancid-smelling waxy-brown material at top of tail near base.
Thinning of hair in a stripe down the back. Caused by compulsive
RESEARCH: Feline Behavior and Training: Behavior Disorders.
Pimple-like bumps on the underside of the chin and edges of lips.
blisters on abdomen and hairless areas of newborn kittens.
Cellulitis or Abscess (Pyoderma):
Painful, hot, inflamed skin or pockets of pus beneath the skin. Often
caused by self-mutilation. Look for underlying cause (i.e., itchy skin
disorder, foreign body, puncture wound).
Papillomas and Warts:
Grow out from the skin and look like warts or pieces of chewing gum
stuck to the skin. Not painful.
Collections of blood beneath the skin, especially on the ears. Caused
Tender Knots (Abscesses):
Frequently found after cat fights. Forms a firm swelling that becomes
soft with time. Painful.
Cysts: Smooth lumps
beneath the skin. May grow slowly. Can discharge cheesy material and
become infected. Otherwise, not painful.
Mycetoma: Mass or
nodule beneath skin with an open tract to the surface draining a
granular material. Caused by a fungus.
nodule with overlying hair loss and wet surface of pus at site of
puncture wound or break in skin. Caused by a fungus.
Suggested Research: Infectious Diseases: Fungus Diseases.
Inch-long fly larvae that form cystic-like lumps beneath the skin with
hole in center to breathe. Often beneath chin or along abdomen.
When a Lump May Be a Cancer:
Rapid enlargement; appears hard or fixed to surrounding tissue; any
lump growing from bone; a lump that starts to bleed; a mole that begins
to spread or ulcerate; unexplained open sore that does not heal,
especially on feet or legs. Note:
The only way to tell for sure is to remove and study the lump under a
SUGGESTED RESEARCH: Common
surface growths or Tumors and Cancers.