Skin problems can have a range of causes, sometimes more than one. It is very important to have actually the problem inspected by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin problems and treat appropriately.
Cat Hasn’t Fleas but Keeps Scratching – Main Causes
In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergic reactions and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Anyone of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and removing it is the best strategy. With flea allergic reactions, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can trigger them to break out scratch sufficient to tear their skin.
Look for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, including digested, dried blood. You may discover tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Using a good topical regular monthly flea treatment and actively treating your house and lawn will assist break the flea life process.
If you utilize plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for loss of hair, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.
Food allergies are typically brought on by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet uses some non-prescription choices for delicate skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin brings limited protein diet plans that may also offer some relief. Your vet can advise a particular diet that will assist.
If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergic reaction testing done.
Other Causes of Itchiness in Cats
The most convenient problem to diagnose is flea-bite hypersensitivity, although finding the fleas can be difficult. If a visual evaluation or a flea combing does not reveal the issue, the indicator of flea “dirt” (digested blood that the flea deposits in the fur) is usually seen along the lower back, tail base, or around the neck. If no fleas or flea dirt are discovered, but the feline is scratching in these areas, a treatment trial with a veterinarian-recommended flea medication is required. It would be best if you treated all the pets in the family for many months to completely eradicate the fleas.
Other skin parasites like mites can likewise trigger pruritis. Felines that go outside or are in contact with outside pets are more likely to be plagued with these bugs. Skin mites may be discovered with numerous skin scrapings, or hair combings, however incorrect negative results do take place. Treatment choices invalidated or presumed cases consist of a topical, broad-spectrum parasiticide (e.g., Revolution or Advantage Multi), or, potentially, lime sulfur dips.
Food allergies (otherwise called cutaneous unfavorable food responses) are generally manifested by scabs and loss of hair around the neck and face but can affect other parts of the body, too. Some felines will likewise experience diarrhea or vomiting in addition to the pruritis and skin lesions. Contrary to popular belief that a food allergic reaction only occurs after a current diet change, your feline might have been consuming the same food for a very long time, however just recently developed a hypersensitivity to it. The most common allergy-causing ingredients in feline foods are beef, fish, and dairy. Wheat, corn, chicken, and eggs are much lower on the list.
There are no good laboratory tests to verify the food allergic reaction. An 8-10 week diet trial with a novel, hypoallergenic diet (for example, duck and pea or venison and pea) is often essential to verify. Enhancement in pruritis and skin sores is sometimes obvious in 3-4 weeks; however, a complete 8-10 week trial is often required. For this reason, veterinarians usually rule-out other diseases before recommending a food trial. Many vets likewise suggest a prescription hypoallergenic diet instead of trying non-prescription (OTC) foods. Prescription diet plans are manufactured on an assembly line that are devoted to this diet, avoiding trace food particles (possible allergens) from participating in the food, whereas OTC brands often are not.
Inhalant or environmental allergic reactions (atopy) often start earlier in a feline’s life and might start as a seasonal issue in the spring and/or fall. With time, the signs usually worsen and might take place throughout the entire year. Additionally, indoor irritants (e.g., allergen) can cause year-round problems from the start.
The target organ for atopy (unlike the breathing signs in people) is the skin. Cats may have many different areas of the body impacted, making this issue hard to differentiate from other skin diseases. Typically, after removing more easily diagnosed problems, veterinarians will attempt a steroid trial. This involves either an oral medication offered day-to-day or an injection given every 6-8 weeks, as required. The daily medication allows for more exact dosing and fewer risks of side effects but can be challenging with some felines (to state the least!). An alternative medication called cyclosporine is more in favor now due to fewer side effects; however, it is a more costly alternative.
Atopy is a chronic problem, typically needing repeat treatments. Because the long-lasting usage of steroids carries dangers (e.g., steroid-induced diabetes mellitus), your vet will deal with you to decide the best option for your pet.
Identifying skin problems in cats is not always easy. It requires persistence since some sees to the veterinarian are often needed, with treatment trials typically used to reveal the underlying cause. It might take weeks to months to clean up the lesions, in addition to long-term management to keep the issue under control.