Feline Staph Infection

A case of feline staph infection occurs when the Staphylococcus bacteria infects the skin of a domesticated cat. The Staphylococcus bacterium is very common, and naturally resides in the skin of every cat. The condition is only called a staph infection when the bacteria start to cause problems in the cat’s skin and hair follicles.

Causes of Staph Infection

Staph is an opportunistic infection, because the bacteria normally exists in the body of the cat without causing any problems. Feline staph infections only occur when the bacteria are given a chance to take hold, such as times when the cat’s immune system is weakened, or when the cat’s skin is irritated. The most common cause of staph infection is an allergic reaction in the skin, which is usually triggered by fleas. It can also be triggered by airborne pollen, food or other potential allergens. Skin allergies weaken the skin’s defenses, making it vulnerable to the staph bacteria that are already present.

Symptoms of Staph Infection

The symptoms of a feline staph infection so closely resemble those of feline ringworm that it is often difficult for cat owners to distinguish between the two. The affected cat will develop circular, hairless lesions on its skin. These lesions will be red and irritated, and they will sometimes be covered in small scabs or pimples. The inflamed area is also very itchy, and infected cats can be identified because of their excessive scratching and biting at the infected areas.

Treatment of Staph Infection

Since staph is a bacterial infection, the medications that most veterinarians will prescribe are antibiotics. While these drugs will be effective in killing the majority of the bacteria in a feline staph infection, the opportunistic nature of staph dictates that the initial cause of the infection be treated as well. If you only treat the infection, but not the cause, another infection will soon arise. If the disease came about because of a flea allergy, the appropriate flea medications must be administered. There are special ointments and shampoos designed to relieve cats of staph infections, which will also help to heal the cat’s skin.

Cat to Human Transmission

Some people believe that, because the same species of bacterium is responsible for both human and feline cases of staph infection, it is possible for pet owners to contract the disease from their infected cat. These people are mistaken. Staph bacteria are already present in all humans, so it does not make sense to say that people can somehow get infected with staph through contact with their infected cat. The disease is a result of a weakened immune system, not contact with the pathogen.

Feline staph infection is a disgusting disease that often occurs in cats with poor general health. The best way to prevent your cat from contracting a staph infection is to keep it in a clean, sanitary environment. This will keep your cat healthy and its immune system strong.