Dermatitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the deep layers of the skin. It is not an independent disease, rather, it is a symptom of some pathological process occurring in the body. According to statistics, one of the most frequent reasons for contacting a veterinary clinic is precisely dermatitis in cats.

It does not pose any threat to human life, but the pet can cause a lot of torment, manifesting itself in the form of severe itching, skin rashes and other painful symptoms.

Causes of the disease

The interaction of the stimulus with the animal’s body leads to the production of an antigen by the body, which, getting into the connective tissues, stimulates the increased release of histamine. Since the concentration of such cells is contained in the skin, it immediately reacts to the”aggressor” substance, causing an inflammatory process.

Based on the causes of irritation, there are several types of dermatitis:

  1. Infectious (bacterial). It is formed as a result of damage to the dermis and penetration of harmful microorganisms into its cells.
  2. Flea market. It appears due to an allergic reaction of the body to the saliva of insects (fleas, hair-eaters, subcutaneous ticks) when bitten.
  3. Allergic. It is caused by external stimuli, food, and feed.
  4. Atopic. It is caused by a genetic predisposition to the disease.
  5. Contact. Occurs when interacting with chemicals.
  6. Traumatic. It is the result of scratches, injuries, cuts, and even friction of the collar.
  7. Drug-induced dermatitis. Cause some medications, more often — antibiotics.
  8. Superficial. It is formed as a result of hypothermia, burns.

Other causes of skin pathology include internal diseases and hormonal disorders. In addition, it is not uncommon for dermatitis in cats to be diagnosed as a result of stress, which can cause anything — a change of owner, a noisy company in the house, a visit to the clinic.

Symptoms of malaise can occur in both a kitten and an elderly cat. No animal is immune from this unpleasant phenomenon, regardless of gender and breed.

Clinical manifestations

With parasitic dermatitis, a four-legged pet is nervous, refuses to eat, and suffers from incessant itching around the ears and tail. He is constantly itching, licking and even biting themselves. The skin is covered with rashes, red spots, flakes. Wet sores and crusts form on the back, neck, chest and behind the ears. Fleas and hair eaters can be detected during an external examination.

If dermatitis was caused by a subcutaneous tick, then skin damage is also observed on the limbs and eyelids. It is not possible to detect the parasite with the naked eye.

The cat’s appearance is deteriorating. Wool loses its luster, becomes dry, brittle, alopecia is not excluded.

Allergic dermatitis is characterized by the appearance of blisters, pustules, edema, redness of the skin, especially in the abdomen and groin. When touching the inflamed areas, the animal experiences pain.

Histamine, which the body produces in response to the allergenic component, causes severe itching. The cat continuously coughs and sneezes. My eyes are red and watery. Atopic dermatitis occurs in cats aged 10 months to 3 years. The allergen is plant pollen, dust, components contained in perfume compositions, and much more.

The inflammatory reaction in contact dermatitis is localized in the place where the skin came into contact with a dangerous substance. Various acids, alkalis, pastes, and creams can act as an “aggressor”. The cat is concerned about itching on the pads of the paws, in the abdomen, neck, chin, anal opening.

Purulent dermatitis is characterized by a chronic course. According to the clinical symptoms of the inflammatory process, it can be wet and dry. In the first case, erosions form on the damaged skin, in the second — scabs, crusts.

Superficial dermatitis manifests itself in the form of small redness and, as a rule, passes on its own.

Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic

To detect dermatitis in veterinary clinics, a comprehensive diagnosis is used. This is due to the variety of causes that cause this skin pathology. At the initial stage, the veterinarian conducts a visual examination of the cat, collects anamnesis, including information about the nature of the diet, information about the pedigree.

Mandatory diagnostic tests include:

  • bakposev and microscopic examination of skin scraping (detection of subcutaneous mites, fungal infection);
  • trichoscopy (if the veterinarian suspects ringworm);
  • urine tests;
  • blood tests for white blood cells and eosinophils;
  • determination of the sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics.

After the diagnosis is made, the veterinarian develops an individual treatment regimen that includes a complex effect on the disease. Therapy is aimed at eliminating the cause of the pathology.

Treatment method and prognosis

The earlier the fight against dermatitis is started, the higher the chances of a successful recovery. Ideally, the therapy is carried out without waiting for the time when the inflamed skin becomes rough and thicker. This means that the disease has turned into a chronic form and it will be more difficult to cope with it.
The main type of drug therapy is itching-relieving drugs. The following tools are used:

  1. Antihistamines (Fenistil,Tavegil, Clarotadine) — subcutaneously, orally. The active ingredient is hydrocortisone. They are most effective for allergic dermatitis, but are prohibited for infection.
  2. Stop-itch ointment is a complex remedy with anti — inflammatory, antipruritic and antibacterial properties.
  3. Medicines with aluminum in the composition. Good results are obtained by Aluspray, which accelerates the regeneration of damaged tissues and has an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect.

In case of traumatic dermatitis, a necessary measure is to treat the affected skin areas (abrasions, scratches, etc.) with an alcohol solution of iodine. You can use compresses with Vishnevsky ointment, lotions with disinfecting and astringent components.

Veterinarians warn: frequent use of highly irritating compounds and alcohol solutions can provoke drug-induced dermatitis. When it occurs, you need to use emollient and disinfecting ointments, such as Solcoseryl, salicylic-zinc, and syntomycin. A good effect is given by creams based on propolis.

If the traumatic dermatitis has turned into a bacterial one, then the infected place is treated with chlorhexidine, and the top is covered with powder with an antibiotic. Pre-cut the wool, remove exudate and dried crusts. In a serious condition of the animal, accompanied by a lack of appetite, lethargy, high fever, you can not do without antibiotic therapy in the form of injections. The task is to prevent the introduction of secondary infection into the process and stop purulent complications.

When infectious dermatitis is caused by pathogenic fungi, antimycotic agents, antibiotics, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs Prednisone, Dexamethasone are used.

If you are exposed to harmful substances that have provoked chemical dermatitis, wash your skin with cold water. Washing should be carried out for at least 10 minutes, using a good jet pressure. Next, the substance itself should be neutralized, for which the affected areas are treated with a weak vinegar solution. Alternatively, you can use citric acid, baking soda.

If the cat suffers from allergic dermatitis, then it is transferred to a hypoallergenic therapeutic diet prescribed by a veterinarian. Modern cat food manufacturers offer a wide range of specialized premium and super premium class feeds to solve this problem.

As for superficial dermatitis, if it does not pass by itself, then the area of skin that has been subjected to frostbite or burn should be sprayed with a special spray. To exclude the possibility of combing and, accordingly, injuring the skin, it is advisable to use a medical bandage or protective collar, which should be fixed on the cat’s neck.

Among other things, it is necessary to strengthen the immune system of the pet, for which the mandatory stage of therapy is the use of Immunostimulants. Typically, veterinarians recommend Immunol Vet, Gamavit, Glycodin, Gamprin. You also need to treat your pet from insects, using antiparasitic agents. The specialist should monitor the treatment process in order to make adjustments to it if necessary — to change the medication, dosage.

As for the prognosis, if therapy is started in a timely manner, it is favorable.

Possible complications include the transition of dermatitis to a chronic form, weakening of the immune system, which makes the pet vulnerable to various diseases. The most dangerous for cats is considered allergic dermatitis, which occurs as a result of a reaction to an irritant. The lack of medical care is fraught with the development of Quincke’s edema, which leads to death from suffocation.

First aid

The owner must provide the pet suffering from dermatitis with the most comfortable conditions and strictly follow all the recommendations of the veterinarian. Self-medication will cause irreparable harm to health, because the allergen that provoked the disease may well be hiding in the home medicine Cabinet. In any case, you can not independently select, change the medications prescribed by the veterinarian, reduce or increase the dosage!

As a first aid, you can give a four-legged pet a suspension of “Stop itching” to weaken the effect of the stimulus. You can not smear the affected areas of the skin with anything, as this will significantly complicate the diagnosis in a veterinary clinic.

To prevent the cat from tearing sores, lightly file his claws and put on a light blanket to avoid infection in the wounds .

Puffiness of the paws indicates that, most likely, dermatitis is caused by an Allergy to cat litter. In this case, you need to replace the contents of the tray by selecting a composition without small particles and without smell.

Prevention measures

According to veterinarians, almost any deviation in the state of health can be prevented, and skin diseases are no exception.

To prevent traumatic dermatitis, carefully examine your pet after each walk. If you detect abrasions or scratches, treat the affected areas with chlorhexidine, Miramistin, or any other antiseptic that is available at hand.

If your pet has a predisposition to allergies, then monitor its diet. Use high-quality food from manufacturers with a good reputation. Never switch to a different species without consulting a veterinarian. When using natural food, make sure that the cat’s menu is balanced, including lean meat, sea fish. No food from your table!

On a cat visiting the street, it is advisable to wear an antiparasitic collar that will protect it from fleas, ticks and hair eaters. Once every 6 months, be sure to conduct an anthelmintic, follow the vaccination schedule.

Keep various household chemicals out of your pet’s reach, as aggressive products can cause chemical dermatitis.

Observe the sanitary standards for keeping the animal, regularly conduct hygiene procedures. If you notice symptoms of dermatitis in your four-legged pet, contact the clinic immediately!