Treating Cat Skin Sores

Feline skin sores and skin lesions can occur for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, they're the result of skin disease. However, skin sores on cats can also be a sign of internal ailments, like liver disease, or autoimmune disorders like lupus. Skin sores and lesions in cats are also often the result of parasitic infestation, bacterial or fungal infection, or even cancer. Here's what you should know about feline skin sores and their treatment.

Causes of Skin Sores in Cats

The causes of cat skin sores are numerous. Often, cat skin sores are the result of parasitic infestation by scabies, sarcoptic mites, or demodectic mites. Ringworm, a fungal infection, and minor bacterial infections can cause skin sores in cats. Food allergies and contact dermatitis are also common culprits. Some cats may develop sores and lesions as a result of scratching at chronically dry, itchy skin.

Some skin lesions may be the result of severe bacterial or fungal infection. Skin lesions and sores in cats can also be a sign of cancer. 

Diagnosing Feline Skin Sores

Your vet will need a complete medical history and a thorough physical exam to diagnose the cause of your cat's skin sores. Sores and lesions caused by parasitic infestation, fungal and bacterial infections are easily diagnosed. Your vet can treat skin sores caused by parasitic infestations and fungal or bacterial infections by addressing the cause of the lesions with the appropriate therapy.

If your vet rules out infection or infestation as the cause of your cat's skin sores, he'll test for food allergies or allergic reactions related to contact dermatitis. Allergies can be difficult to treat. You'll need to discover what your cat's allergic irritants are through trial and error. Cats can develop allergic reactions to airborne irritants like smoke and aerosol sprays, as well as to dust, mold, pollen, wool, wood and even plastic; treatment will involved removing the allergic irritants from your cat's environment, and may also include allergy medication.

If your vet can't find any signs of infection, infestation or allergies, he may perform a biopsy to determine if the lesions are cancerous. Other tests, such as blood tests and urinalysis, can determine if your cat's lesions are the result of serious illness.

Treating Cat Skin Sores

If your cat develops skin sores or lesions, see your vet right away. While most skin sores on cats can be easily treated, skin sores can sometimes be a sign of feline cancer. The sooner your vet diagnoses cancer, the better your cat's chances of recovery.

You may need to bathe your cat in medicated shampoos in order to treat skin sores, especially in the case of parasitic infection. Topical creams and oral antibiotics are also prescribed. Cats with skin sores are prone to secondary infection, so your cat may need antibiotics even if the cause of his skin sores isn't a bacterial infection. Your cat may need to remain on antibiotics for up to 4 months, depending on the severity of the infection.