Cat Skin Infection Diagnosis

A skin infection in cats can be of various origins and may be caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria, which are normally found in the environment or other cats. All cats are exposed to these infectious agents, but only cats with a weaker immune system develop the infection, as the immune system is not able to fight the intruder viruses or bacteria.

Symptoms of the Cat

The skin infection may affect a particular area of the cat's body such as the ears or the face, but may also be present on the entire body. You may be able to detect the infection judging by a few symptoms.

A cat affected by skin infection will have itchy skin and may present other symptoms such as:

  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Skin lesions
  • Hair loss (may be in round patches)

The cat may also present additional symptoms, which can help when diagnosing the pet. The cat may have external parasites, which may be visible to the naked eye (such as fleas). Additional symptoms may include:

  • Flaky skin
  • Excessive production of dander
  • Excessive production of skin oils
  • Dull coat
  • Acne

A cat that is affected by a skin infection may also be allergic or have another health problem which weakens the immune system, so the cat is more exposed to the environmental bacteria and viruses that cause the infections. Make sure to inform the vet about any minor symptoms you observe, which may help the vet come to a quicker diagnosis.

Skin Scraping Test

The skin scraping test is the most conclusive test that can determine the nature of the infection. The vet will take a skin scraping and will analyze it under a microscope.

This test will reveal if the infection is caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi, and the cytologist will also be able to tell you the type of infectious agent affecting your pet. This step is highly important in establishing the type of treatment required by the cat. For instance, different types of bacteria may require a particular type of antibiotic treatment. Fungi will be eliminated with either antibiotics or fungicides.

Giving the dog a generic antibiotic regardless of the type of infection can lead to complications and may not lead to a full treatment of the problem.

Blood Tests

Blood tests may be needed to detect possible problems and to see whether the infection is not spread in the body as well, or whether it originated from the body. The blood tests may also reveal if the cat is affected by an underlying condition that has caused the immune system to be weaker and more exposed to infections.

Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is not always performed, but may be recommended if the vet finds unusual lumps that may be cancerous, and may be the underlying condition causing the skin infection.