All About Cat Dermatitis Treatment

The term cat dermatitis applies to a variety of feline skin conditions like rashes, bumps, scabs and lesions. These problems are often the result of allergic reactions, infections, diseases and nutritional deficiencies. Skin conditions create irritation and discomfort, and may cause your cat to excessively itch, bite or groom a particular area.

Dermatitis Treatment Depends on Symptoms

Treatment of cat dermatitis is based on the cause of its symptoms. Oral and topical medications are frequently prescribed to treat allergy-based conditions. Other recommended treatments include injections, supplements and dietary changes. Here are some of the most common causes of dermatitis like cat skin rash and commonly prescribed forms of treatment.

Cat Dermatitis from Flea Allergies

Allergic reactions to flea bites are a leading cause of cat skin problems. This kind of condition, also known as feline miliary dermatitis, is most common during the summer months when flea populations are at their peak. Cats with hypersensitive reactions to flea bites will often scratch or bite the base of their tail. They may also overly groom themselves, resulting in lost or thinning patches of fur. Treating cat dermatitis caused by flea allergies requires a series of steps.

Antibiotics will likely be prescribed to help heal any sores or infections caused by your cat's excessive scratching, biting or grooming. Next, you'll need to rid your cat of fleas with a topical anti-flea product like Frontline or Advantage. Finally, it's important to stop the cycle of infestation by eliminating fleas from your cat's environment. Regular vacuuming and applying pet-safe insecticide to your home can help control flea populations and protect your cat from future dermatitis-related problems.

Bacterial, Fungal and Parasite Infections

Certain bacteria, parasites or fungus can also create dermatitis symptoms in your cat. Fungal infections are found most frequently in cat fur, nails and skin. They appear as ring-shaped areas of scaly, patchy skin and broken hair, called ringworm. Your vet may prescribe an anti-fungal pill or topical ointment to kill the organism infecting your cat. There are also a variety of shampoos, cleansers, creams and lotions designed to eliminate fungi from your cat's fur and skin.

Although not as frequent, cats can also develop bacteria-based dermatitis like pyoderma. This condition can result from infected wounds or allergic reactions to fleas or food. Antibiotic pills or topical medicines are often prescribed to treat the problem. Shampoos and conditioners containing benzoyl peroxide are also available for skin infections caused by bacteria. Another source of cat dermatitis are parasites like mites and lice. These small contagious organisms can infest the head, neck and ears of your cat, resulting in symptoms known generally as mange. Preferred treatment methods include topical medicines like Revolution, MilbeMite or Acarexx, or anti-mite shampoos or dips.

It's also important to eliminate infection-causing organisms from your home or other places frequented by your cat. Anti-mite sprays are available that kill the parasites without harming your cat.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Allergies

Nutritional disorders are another source of cat skin infections and irritations. Deficiencies of vitamins A, E and complex B-vitamins like biotin, B6 and B7 have been attributed to symptoms like hair loss and scaly, dry and flaky skin. A lack of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and zinc have also been associated with cat dermatitis.

Food allergies are another diet-related cause of skin problems in cats. The effects can occur suddenly and may result from changes in your cat's diet. If your vet suspects allergies or deficiencies are causing dermatitis they may prescribe specific changes in your cat's diet during an 8-10 week testing period. The results of this trial diet can help your vet identify the cause of your cat's skin condition, and identify if dietary changes are required to treat the problem.

There are several factors that can contribute to symptoms of cat dermatitis, including flea bite allergies, bacterial, fungal and parasite infestations, and nutritional imbalances and allergies. Although the causes of skin problems are numerous, there are a variety of treatments available to address the source of your cat's condition and relieve sores, inflammation and related problems.