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Skin & Hair Disorders in Cats  
Help for Cat Skin and Hair ProblemsIdentifying Skin & Hair Disorders in Cats

The following sections give a brief introduction to skin and hair disorders in cats, and suggest where to look to find the cause of a problem.

When your cats begin to scratch continuously, lick and bite at their skin and rub against objects to relieve discomfort, they have an itchy skin disorder, and you must attempt to determine the cause. See ITCHY SKIN DISORDERS.

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 shorthaired cats, run a fine-toothed comb against the lay of the hair to expose the skin. On longhaired 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.

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ITCHY SKIN DISORDERS - Back to Top

(Crusty Areas Produced by Scratching)

cat shedding Fleas: Itching, scratching, and licking along the back, around the tail and hindquarters. Fleas or black and white gritty specks in hair (flea feces and eggs).

cat shedding 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.

cat shedding Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiella Mange): Tremendous amounts of dry scaly dandruff over the back, neck and sides. Mild itching.

cat shedding Chiggers: Itching and severe skin irritation between the toes, around ears and mouth. Look for barely visible red, yellow or orange chiggers (larvae).

cat skim problems Ear Mites (Ododectes): Head shaking and scratching at ears. Excessive brown waxy or purulent material in ear canals.

cat skin disorders Ticks: Large insects attached to skin. May swell up to pea size. Often found around the ears, along back and between toes.

cat skin infections Lice: 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.

cat hot spots Maggots (Myiasis): Soft-bodied legless fly larvae found in damp matted fur. May be complicated by pyoderma.

cat skin allergies 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 biting.
(See Yeast Problem Information)

cat skin conditions 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.

cat bald spots 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.

cat dull coats Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Appearance similar to contact dermatitis, but rash may spread beyond area of contact.

dry cat skin Inhalant Allergy (Atopic Dermatitis): Appearance similar to feline miliary dermatitis. May have symmetric hair loss over body.


HAIR LOSS DISORDERS- Back to Top

smelly cat skin Indolent (Rodent) Ulcer: Red shiny patches of hairless skin. Usually involves the middle of the upper lip; occasionally the lower lip. Not painful.

cat dermititis Ringworm: Scaly, crusty or red circular patches with central hair loss. Sometimes just broken hairs around the face and ears. Highly contagious. May become infected.
Utilizing a 2% Solution of OX-E-DROPS or uisng Tincture of BlackLeaf straight can be very effective in combating these fungal problems.

cat skin rashes Demodectic Mange: Thinning and loss of hair around the eyes and eyelids giving moth-eaten appearance. Rare in cats.

cat licking paws trouble Eosinophilic Granulomas: Raised, red circular plaque on abdomen or inside of thighs (eosinophilic plaque); or linear plaques on back of hind legs.

cat chewing feet trouble 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.

cat Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism: Dry skin and thinning of hair/coat. Hair becomes dull and brittle. Rare.

Cat Cortisone Excess Cortisone Excess: Loss of hair in symmetrical pattern over trunk with darkening of underlying skin. May indicate thyroid problem.

Cat Stud tail Stud Tail: Greasy, rancid-smelling waxy-brown material at top of tail near base.

Psychogenic Alopecia Psychogenic Alopecia: Thinning of hair in a stripe down the back. Caused by compulsive self-grooming.

SUGGESTED RESEARCH: Feline Behavior and Training: Behavior Disorders.

PAINFUL SKIN DISORDERS WITH PUS DRAINAGE - Back to Top


(PYODERMA)

Feline Acne Feline Acne: Pimple-like bumps on the underside of the chin and edges of lips.

feline Impetigo Impetigo: Pus-filled blisters on abdomen and hairless areas of newborn kittens.

Feline Cellulitis or Abscess 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).


LUMPS AND BUMPS, ON OR BENEATH THE SKIN - Back to Top

Papillomas and Warts in cats Papillomas and Warts: Grow out from the skin and look like warts or pieces of chewing gum stuck to the skin. Not painful.

Hematomas in cats Hematomas: Collections of blood beneath the skin, especially on the ears. Caused by trauma.

Tender Knots in cats Tender Knots (Abscesses): Frequently found after cat fights. Forms a firm swelling that becomes soft with time. Painful.

Cysts in cats Cysts: Smooth lumps beneath the skin. May grow slowly. Can discharge cheesy material and become infected. Otherwise, not painful.

Mycetoma Mycetoma: Mass or nodule beneath skin with an open tract to the surface draining a granular material. Caused by a fungus.

Sporotrichosis Sporotrichosis: Skin 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.

cat grubs Grubs (Cuterebra): Inch-long fly larvae that form cystic-like lumps beneath the skin with hole in center to breathe. Often beneath chin or along abdomen.

cat cancer 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 microscope.

SUGGESTED RESEARCH: Common surface growths or Tumors and Cancers.



 
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