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How to treat dermatitis in cats

 by ben on 11 Jun 2019 |
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Fleas are the most common cause behind feline dermatitis, but your pet’s diet or environmental factors can also inflame his skin.

If you’ve noticed your cat has been itching or licking a lot lately or have seen scabs on your pet, chances are he has dermatitis. It’s the general term for inflammation of the skin, and the source behind animals’ itchy, raw or red skin, as well as bald patches. Left untreated, this uncomfortable condition can lead to serious infections due to constant scratching of the affected area. Fortunately, you can treat dermatitis by addressing its root cause.

In cases of moderate to severe dermatitis, pet owners willnoticebumps, scabs, crusting, cuts, redness or bald patches on their cats’ skin. More often, however, pets display nooutward signs of this condition. That means you need to pay close attention to your companion’s behaviorin order to spot dermatitis. Cats with the condition tend to lick, scratch or chew their skin compulsively so, if your pets seems preoccupied with his skin, it’s time to get to the source of the problem.

Dermatitis is most commonly caused by allergies to fleas, but your pet may also be suffering inflammation due to environmental allergens or even his food. Flea allergy dermatitis occurs when pets have an adverse reaction to the saliva in flea bites and tends to occurduring the warmer months of the year, when pests are most active. Solving your cat’s skin condition can be as simple as solving his flea problem in these cases, so treat him with a veterinarian-prescribed flea medication. Even if you’re not sure your pet’s scratching is due to fleas, treat an itchy pet for them to rule out the problem. Remember, it can sometimes take months to fight a flea infestationand your pet’s skin problem can last just as long.

Once you’ve ruled out fleas as the source behind Kitty’s constant itching, you’ll need to look at his diet. Food allergies are the second-most common cause of dermatitis in cats, and are due to an allergy to specific proteins in his food. Cats can develop food allergies at any point intheir lives, so it’s important to arrange a food allergy trial with your veterinarian even if your pet has eaten the same diet for years. By trying a special prescription diet—and nothing else, including treats—you can see whether your pet’s skin improves and, therefore, whether his dermatitis is caused by food. If his condition improves, you can work with your veterinarian to continue this special diet and control Kitty’s allergies.

After ruling out both fleas and food as the culprit behind your pet’s inflamed skin, you can assume his dermatitis is caused by environmental allergens such as pollen or mold. This type of allergy is much harder to diagnose and manage, but your veterinarian can prescribe medication such as steroids or antihistamines to control Kitty’s chronic condition. Because cats with dermatitis tend to scratch, lick or chew on their skin, which can cause lesions that may become infected, it’s crucial to get to the bottom of your pet’s condition and treat him for dermatitis, whatever the root source.

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