Lichen in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Previously, lichen (trichophytia, microsporia) in cats was attributed to incurable infectious diseases, and since it poses a serious threat to humans, sick animals were subjected to euthanasia. Fortunately, today there are many innovative veterinary developments that allow treating lichen without consequences, even in severe forms.

Why does the disease develop

Lichen is an infectious disease characterized by damage to the epidermis and coat. Pathogenic microorganisms provoke the disease — fungi dermatomycetes Trichophyton Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum. Carriers of pathogenic bacteria — rodents.

The causes of the disease are:

  • weakened immune system;
  • poor nutrition;
  • contact with sick free-range stray animals;
  • infection with parasites.

Lichen spores are stable in the external environment. If you are in favorable conditions for it, they are saved for up to two years. In addition, fungi are extremely mobile and, if no measures are taken to destroy them, they affect new, healthy areas.

The source of infection is an infected animal, as well as objects that surround it — toys, bedding, bowls, furniture, and so on. However, even if a four-legged pet is not from home and does not communicate with its street counterparts, this does not exclude the risk of developing lichen. Spores can even get into the house on the soles of the owner’s shoes.

Which breeds are more susceptible

No cat is immune from shingles, however, according to veterinary data, the most susceptible to pathology are breeds bred artificially. These include Persian, Scottish, and British cats that do not have the body’s innate protection against shingles. At the same time, the disease more often affects kittens, young individuals whose immune system is not yet fully formed, as well as older cats whose immunity weakens with age.

The main symptoms

Microsporia has a number of specific features that make it quite easy to identify. The initial stage is asymptomatic, except for the appearance of small receding hairline. In the future, the cat can be observed:

  • redness of the skin;
  • appearance of spores on the head and muzzle;
  • dry, brittle hair;
  • alopecia;
  • spots are covered with scales.

There are three types of lichen in a cat:

  1. Pink. A pink spot appears on the skin, covered with a dense dry crust.
  2. Wet. The spots are pink, wet and hot. After a few days, small bursting bubbles form on them.
  3. Multicolored. The most contagious type of pathology. A rounded spot is formed on the dermis, the color of which can vary from brown to pale yellow.

Lichen is accompanied by severe itching, which gives the animal considerable discomfort. The cat becomes nervous, sometimes aggressive, and stops eating.

At the first alarming symptoms, you should immediately examine the cat with a specialist!

Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic

Only a doctor can make a diagnosis based on an examination of the animal and the necessary diagnostic tests. Since lichen masquerades as other skin diseases, it is important to differentiate it from scabies, allergies, subcutaneous mites, flea dermatitis.

The main diagnostic method for suspected lichen is to see through the affected area with a wood lamp. The goal is to identify pathogenic microorganisms on the surface of the dermis. When exposed to the lamp’s rays, the fungi emit a fluorescent glow. However, it should be noted that this method is not informative enough. Its reliability is no more than 60%.

A more reliable method is skin scraping. Crusts and scales from the affected areas act as the biomaterial under study.

Treatment, prognosis

Treatment of lichen is carried out in a complex. With timely treatment in a veterinary clinic and adequate therapy, it is quite possible to get rid of microorganisms in 1-2 months.

In severe cases, for example, when lichen is complicated by purulent dermatitis, antibiotic therapy is prescribed.

Best way treat lichen is the introduction of an integrated vaccine (Vacterl, Microderm, Polyvac). It is administered twice (intramuscularly) at intervals of 10-14 days.

Local treatment is performed using antifungal ointments Miconazole, Clotrimazole, Tiabendazole, Sanoderm. The ointment prescribed by the veterinarian should be used for 1-2 months 2-3 times a day until complete recovery. These drugs give a stable effect, help to get rid of extensive lesions and heal the skin.

The veterinarian may also prescribe oral antifungal medications such as Terbinafine, Griseofulvin, and Itraconazole.

Instead of ointment, you can use a spray, for example, a Fungin, but it is less effective and is not always able to cope even with the initial stage of the disease.

Before treatment with ointments or spray, the skin on the affected area is cut with scissors or a razor, which are then disinfected or discarded, and treated with an antiseptic. The pet should be washed with a therapeutic shampoo (Nizoral, Sebozol) containing ketoconazole — a broad-spectrum antifungal component. The use of detergents improves the condition of the coat and skin and relieves itching.

To avoid the spread of lesions, lichen is cauterized with iodine. This should be done carefully, so as not to provoke the appearance of skin burns.

Well-proven baths with sulphurous lime, which can be used as additional therapeutic measures. They give a positive effect, but the cat’s fur may temporarily acquire a yellowish hue.

What to do at home

The first thing the owner should do if they suspect that the cat has lichen is to isolate it from other family members (especially children) and Pets. Isolation will last at least three weeks, so it is advisable to provide the cat with toys. At the end of treatment, they must be burned.

The apartment should be disinfected and vacuumed. The contents of the bags are incinerated. Special attention is paid to the room where the sick animal is kept. It is regularly ventilated, wet cleaning is done.

Litter mats cat needs to be washed, and then treated with anti-fungal drugs Virkon-s, Blaydes. A four-legged pet should have separate bowls.


Sofas and armchairs in the apartment are treated with vinegar diluted in water.

You can’t bathe a cat!

The animal’s food must be complete, including meat, vegetables, and cottage cheese. Be sure to use vitamin and mineral complexes to strengthen the immune system.

Every time you visit your pet, use a change of shoes and clothing, and disposable gloves. After performing the necessary therapeutic and hygienic procedures, wash your hands with soap and then thoroughly wipe them with a solution of Chlorhexidine. In order not to get infected with lichen from a pet, it is useful to take the drug Ornidazole, which has antibacterial and Antiprotozoal activity.

You can not try to get rid of depriving with the help of folk remedies! Treatment is prescribed by a specialist based on the age, state of health of the animal, the area of lesions. To eliminate itching, as soon as possible regeneration of the dermis, you can use, for example, onion juice, calendula tincture, birch tar, celandine juice, but they can not replace a full-fledged treatment.

Possible complications

If left untreated, lichen takes on a chronic form that the cat will suffer from for the rest of its life. The affected areas fester, become inflamed, and then the skin and lymphatic tissues suffer.

In other cases, microsporia is not dangerous. It does not affect the internal organs, does not have a negative impact on the reproductive function, and does not restrict the mobility of the fuzzy after recovery.

After treatment of lichen on the affected areas of the dermis, the cat remains unaesthetic scars, pigmentation and receding hairline. However, these are just cosmetic flaws that do not cause the four-legged pet concern.

Preventive measures

A pet should be periodically examined by a specialist and vaccinated. Vaccination protects animals from many terrible diseases. Even if the cat gets infected with the fungus, the treatment will be faster and in a light form.

Try not to allow the cat to communicate with stray animals, and always inspect it after a walk.