5 Cat Skin Conditions Requiring Immediate Treatment

There are several cat skin conditions that require immediate attention, since they can pose serious health problems. Parasites, allergies, insects, endocrine imbalances, infections (bacterial or fungal) and certain feline diseases can cause cat skin problems. Inspecting the skin and hair at least once a week for outdoor cats and twice a month for indoor cats will alert any cat owner to differences and possible medical emergencies. Visually inspect the skin and hair of a short-hair cat as well as physically touching the skin to feel for any lumps. The same should be done with a longhair cat, except the hair needs to be parted with a comb in order to inspect it more thoroughly.

Cat Hairball Symptoms

Sometimes a cat will groom himself constantly when there is a skin or medical problem in an attempt to clean himself, or to relieve the itching. This can lead to hairballs.

Symptoms for hairballs are:

  • Wheezing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Hair in stool
  • Not passing stool

There are several cat hairball formula foods on the market that include more fiber in the cat's diet, in order to rush the hair out of the digestive tract.

Some other medical conditions are not so easily cured, and immediate medical attention should be sought.

Condition #1: Swelling

Swelling indicates a major infection and can produce permanent damage to the tissues that are swollen. It can also be life threatening when located on certain parts of the body, such as the head and neck. Trauma, allergies, parasites, insects or disease can cause swelling.

Condition #2: Pus

Pus indicates that the infection has been present for a while and is not healing quickly. Feline acne, cancer, skin ulcer, bacteria or fungal infections, impetigo and pyoderma are examples of such cases. Usually a traumatic wound or the presence of grubs (insects) oozes pus and so immediate veterinarian attention is necessary, so the wound can be properly cleaned.

Condition #3: Lumps/Bumps/Skin Changes

Cysts, warts, mycetoma (open pus wound), hematomas (collection of blood under the skin), grubs (fly larvae), sporotrichosis (open pus puncture wound) and cancer are examples of bumps or lumps that need immediate attention. Any skin change in pigmentation can be an indication of cancer.

Condition #4: Endocrine Problems

Some hormonal imbalances are not life threatening; however, if not treated quickly enough, it can lead to more serious medical problems. Hyperthyroidism is such an example. Usually endocrine problems manifest as something like hair loss, puffiness or decreased/increased appetite or thirst. Not all incidences can be the result of imbalances. Ulcers and ringworm also produce hair loss.

Condition #5: Communicable Diseases

Ringworm appears as a skin ulcer, is highly contagious and should be treated immediately.

It is always best for a veterinarian to check any skin or hair change to determine the cause and the treatment.