Please Note this is only for advice and help
never risk your cats health also consult your
own vet before giving any kind of treatment
The various skin ailments of the cat may be divided
into two groups-parasitic and non-parasitic.
The parasitic skin diseases are caused by mites
and fungi. The non-parasitic skin conditions have
various causes, among them poor diet, faulty
metabolism and allergy. While most skin diseases
respond to treatment, the process may be long
PARASITIC SKIN CONDITIONS
Mange is a parasitic skin disease that may take one
of two forms: demodectic and sarcoptic. Both are
caused by mites which burrow into the skin.
Thr feline demodectic mange mite is an elongated
parasite (Demodex cati) that resembles a small
worm with eight stubby legs. The mite causes two
types of demodectic mange: (1) a squamous
form, in which the skin is mildly inflamed, with a loss
of hair and (2) a pustular form, which is associated
with certain bacteria. In the pustular form of
demodectic mange, the skin becomes very red,
there is a bloody discharge and a very disagreeable
odour. While the demodectic mange mites attack
the skin primarily, they have also been found in the
liver, spleen, lungs and other organs of the cat.
Demodectic mange is characterised by excessive
shedding of the hair, reddening of the skin, bare
spots around the eyes, a thickening of the skin and
a bloody discharge. The lesions may be localised on
the head, elbows, hocks and toes or they may spread
over the entire body. The squamous form of
demodectic mange may be confused with other skin
conditions, particularly eczema. The only way to find
out whether your cat has demodectic mange is by
having the vet examine a skin scraping under the
microscope. Demodectic mange is very persistent
and should receive veterinary attention. Cats with
the squamous form, as a rule respond more readily
to treatment, although some cats do not respond
at all and when the mange is widespread, it is
sometimes necessary to have a cat put to sleep.
This is only ever in very very bad cases of mange.
You can give your cat emergency treatment by
washing the affected parts with mild soap and warm
water, then applying a salve composed of rotenone
and cold cream or glycerine. Further treatment
should be under the supervision of the vet.
The sarcoptic form of mange is caused by another
mite called Notoedres cati. The condition is
characterised by intense itching, thick and dry skin
scabs and loss of hair. The condition usually begins
on the cat's head, around the eyes, ears and muzzle.
However, it may also appear on the lower abdomen,
chest, under the front legs, and at the root of the
tail. A positive diagnosis can be made only by
examining a skin scraping under the microscope.
The treatment of sarcoptic mange should be left to
the vet, although you can provide emergency
treatment by applying a rotenone and cold cream
Ringworm is a very contagious skin disease caused
by a fungus. Two species of fungi are responsible
for ringworm--Trichophyton megalosporon and
T. microsporon. Ringworm is common in young
kittens and can be transmitted to human beings and
dogs and other animals. The ringworm fungi limit
their activity to the outer layer of skin. They fasten
on to hair follicles and in between the hair sheaths,
eventually destroying the coat and causing the hair
to fall out. Ringworm usually begins on the head,
neck, and legs, but may be found on other parts of
the body. Ringworm is characterised by round or
oval lesions on the skin, bare spots and scabs and
crusts. The lesions may be well-defined scaly patches
forming irregular circles up to two inches in diameter,
or they may appear as small, red, swollen areas on
the hairless parts of the body. A third type is
characterised by reddish pustules around the edges
or rims of the affected parts. Ringworm responds
to treatment with tincture of iodine or iodine
ointment. The disease is contagious, and you should
therefore wear rubber gloves when handling the cat.
Stand the cat on newspaper, clip away the hair
around the lesions and remove scabs and crusts
by washing with mild soap and warm water.
Apply iodine or iodine ointment the affected parts.
Wrap up the hair and scabs carefully, and burn. The
oral medication for ringworm is also available, and if
the disease persists, the cat should be taken to the
Favus is another skin disease caused by a fungus,
Anchorion schonleinii. It is transmissible to human
beings and other animals. The fungus causing favus
grows into hair follicles and penetrates more deeply
between the layers of the skin than does the
ringworm fungus. The disease is characterised by
honeycombed crusts on the face, ears, head and
paws. Stumps of broken hairs may be seen in the
centre of the honeycombs. A positive diagnosis
can be made only by the vet examining a skin
scraping under a microscope. Favus also responds
to iodine or iodine ointment. Use the same
precautions as for ringworm, and if the condition
persists, take the cat to the vet.
NON-PARASITIC SKIN CONDITIONS
The non-parasitic skin conditions are very perplexing
to the layman. Since one condition may have various
causes, treatment often has to be experimental.
The discovery of the cause of a non-parasitic skin
condition may take a long time.
Eczema may often be a symptom of a disorder,
rather than a disease in itself. It has long been a
controversial skin condition, affecting both human
beings and animals, and has various causes among
them faulty diet, allergy, hormone imbalance,
external parasites, kidney ailments and vitamin
deficiencies. Still other factors may be involves.
The symptoms of eczema include itching, pustules,
bloody discharge, scabs and dandruff. These are
also symptoms of other skin conditions and it is very
easy to confuse eczema with mange and ringworm.
The treatment depends upon the cause, which may
take some time to discover. The diagnosis and
treatment should be left to the vet, although you can
give emergency treatment by washing off the scabs
with soap and warm water, and applying a soothing
agent, such as calamine solution.
Dandruff is another skin condition with many causes,
among them excessive bathing, use of a caustic soap,
faulty diet, parasites and exposure to dry heat. The
most noticeable symptoms are dry skin and greyish
white scales. Here, again the treatment depends
upon the cause. Go over your cat's diet to see
whether it is getting enough fatty acids. A daily
grooming will help to get rid of the scales or flakes,
but it will not cure the dandruff. Take the cat to the
vet if the dandruff persists.
Some cats lose their hair without any apparent
reason. However, among the suspected causes are
friction involved in lying on hard surfaces, functional
disorders, chemical irritation, dietary deficiencies,
disease and parasites. Kidney ailments and thyroid
and pituitary gland disorders often produce loss of
hair. The symptoms of alopecia are obvious: either
small. localised bald spots or large, irregular bald
areas over the body. The treatment depends upon
the cause and it may take some time, plus various
tests, to determine the source of the baldness.
Alopecia, while unsightly, cause no great discomfort
to the cat. However, since the hair helps insulate the
cats body and protect it from insects, large denuded
areas may be bothersome. Consult the vet for
diagnosis and treatment.
Impetigo is an inflammatory skin condition and is
highly contagious to other animals and human beings.
It is characterised mainly by pustules. The pustules,
which are not as deep as those encountered in
mange and ringworm, break easily, causing the
disease to spread rapidly over the body. Impetigo
usually responds well to treatment. Dust the pustules
with an antiseptic powder. Avoid contact with the
pustules by wearing rubber gloves. If the condition
persists, consult the vet.
Dermatitis is a generalised inflammation of the skin
with vague or obscure causes. A thickened skin,
scaling loss of hair and intense itching are the most
prominent symptoms. The itching is often so intense
that the cat constantly licks the affected parts or
rubs itself raw against tables, chairs and other hard
surfaces. Among the suspected causes of dermatitis
are faulty diet, food allergies, intestinal parasites,
metabolic disturbances, insect and animal bites, stings
blows, scratches, chemical irritations, burns, scalds,
freezing and excessive sunlight. Chronic dermatitis
should be brought to the attention of the vet
Some temporary relief can be given the cat by
washing the affected areas with mild soap and warm
water, then applying a soothing lotion such as
Many cats are allergic to certain foods, plants and
other substances. An allergy may reveal itself in
it may be accompanied by dermatitis,
swelling, itching or skin sores. Tracing the specific
cause of an allergy is often a complicated process,
making it necessary for the cat to undergo various
tests. A skin condition of undetermined origin
should be treated by the veterinary surgeon.
THE ELIZABETHAN COLLAR
In treating skin disease, it is necessary to cover
the affected parts with oils, ointments or salves.
Cats lick the medicines off, thus retarding treatment
To prevent this situation, it may be necessary to
fasten an Elizabethan collar around the cat's neck
This collar can be made from a disc of ordinary
cardboard eight inches in diameter, with a hole
in the centre large enough to fit over the cats head
The collar will slip over the cats head more easily
if you slit the cardboard all the way from the circle
in its centre to the circumference of the disc. The
collar can be padded with cloth or roller bandage.
Won't you please take a few minutes to sign our guestbook. Thank you.
free hit counter
To visit my site since 20th of june 2002
(c) copyright 2002 cat hotel