Animal Dermatology Clinic of BC

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Certified Specialist in Skin, Ears, Hair, Nails and Allergies

Feline Skin Disorders

Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)

Feline Skin Disorders Fungal infection are more common in kittens than adults. Long hair cats especially Persians are more susceptible and more difficult to treat. Patchy hair loss of head, ears then anywhere on the body.

Eosinophilic Plaque

Large single or multiple hairless, inflamed, ulcerated patches which are really itchy. These are usually associated with allergies. The term eosinophilic simply refers to the type of white blood cell found in the lesion.

Eosinophilic Granulomas

This is an inflammatory lesion which is raised in a nodular or linear configuration. It most commonly occurs on the lips, chin, oral cavity or a linear strop down the back of the back legs. The lesion usually includes eosinophilic cells. The condition is often associated with allergies.

Indolent Ulcers (Rodent Ulcer, Eosinophilic ulcer)

This is a crater like ulcer with raised margins on the upper lip. This ulcerative skin disease is often associated with allergies.

Crusting (Scabs) and Nail Bed Discharge

The most common auto-immune skin disorder of the cat is Pemphigus Foliaceous. This inflammatory skin condition involves the immune system attacking the patients own skin. PF is characterized by crusts and pimples often found on the head, ears, and body. Another common presentation is a “pussy” discharge from the nail beds.

Flea Allergy

Flea allergies are probably the most common allergy in cats. It effects the back 1/3 of the cat, especially the lower back area. There is intense itchiness with hair loss and scabs. Fleas or flea dirt are usually found there as well.

Food Allergies

Although food allergies can cause vomiting or diarrhea, if often cause only itchy skin with hair loss, or one of the eosinophilic disorders. The head and neck are frequently involved. The most common food allergies included, fish, beef and dairy.

Environmental Allergies (Atopy)

Cats can be allergic to allergens in the outside environment or inside the house. It is believed that house dust mite allergies represent one of the most common allergies. These cats will be itchy and often have hair loss similar to the food allergic cats.

Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus (Feline Herpesvirus-1)

This is an upper respiratory disease caused by a herpesvirus. It occurs worldwide and is common in cats, with the highest incidence reported in boarding facilities, catteries, and shelters. Oral or superficial skin ulcers on the face, body, and footpads may occur but are rare. Cats usually develop a severe upper respiratory disease characterized by depression, fever, anorexia, marked sneezing, conjunctivitis, (eye infections) and copious amounts of discharge from the nose and eyes, with crusting of external nostrils and eyelids. Ulcerative or intersitital keratitis may be seen.

  • Diagnoses: Viral swabs, biopsy, clinical findings.
  • Treatment: No specific treatment is available, good nursing care should be provided and antibiotics should be used to control secondary infections. For refactory ulcerative keratitis, topical antiviral eyedrops may be helpful. Some cases antiviral medications may decrease clinic signs, these include Alpha-interferon, Lysine or Imiquimod cream.
  • Prognosis: The prognosis is usually good, with most cats recovering in 10-20 days. Some cats harbour latent infection, which may recrudesce with stress or immunosuppression. Feline rhinotracheitis virus is contagious to other cats, but not dogs or people.