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If you have a cat, you've seen the effort taken to keep fur clean. With this well-groomed exterior you may not notice that your cat has a skin condition.
How to Identify a Problem Right Away
Wondering if your cat has a skin problem? Cat's fur should be clean and fluffy and skin should feel smooth. There should be no redness, lumps, flaking, or any other signs of irritation. If you discover red patches, pimples, scabs, open sores, scaly patches or hair loss, your cat may have a skin condition that needs treatment. Look out for increases in scratching, licking, or itching in certain areas of the body.
Does your cat have an itch? These cat skin conditions may be irritating your favourite feline:
Fungal infections are some of the most typical. Ringworm and yeast infections are two possible reasons why your cat may be experiencing skin problems. Keep in mind they can transfer to other family members quite easily, so early identification is key.
Cats are also prone to parasites and viruses, just as you are. Fleas and mites not only make your cat itch, but both can prove to be a starting point for major skin issues. Even if your cat is not an outdoor cat it is wise to consider flea and tick medicine to help prevent these pests. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. Certain infections often have side effects of skin irritations. One of those is feline cowpox virus, which the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery says cats can get if they've been exposed to rodents that carry the illness. This virus has seen many cases throughout Europe.
When it comes to cat's skin, the environment can have a three-pronged effect on your cat:
- Environmental allergies: pollen, dust and mould are three common allergens that can lead to cat skin problems. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine if this is the issue. It's best to keep your cat away from areas that are laden with pollen, dust and mould. Before allowing your cat back into such areas, take all the necessary steps to clean them thoroughly.
- Food allergies: Skin issues are one symptom of a food allergy. Cats who also experience problems with digestion, such as vomiting or diarrhoea , may also show skin problems as another warning sign.
- Medicine: If on medication, it may have an adverse effect, and you may notice skin problems occurring. Contact your vet before discontinuing use or changing medicine.
What You Can Do
You may still be unsure why your cat can't stop licking and itching, and that's fine. Make an appointment with your vet. Your cat may need to be treated with medicine for one of these conditions. It is always important to keep an eye on your cat after giving medicine to ensure that the issue is improving and not worsening. If the issue doesn't slowly start to clear up then there might be other cat skin conditions at play. A vet check-up will help ensure your cat is geting the care needed. Take a list of all of the symptoms you have noticed to help your veterinarian diagnosis the skin irritant.
You love your cat and hate to see them uncomfortable. Even though cats are great self-groomers, you should check fur and skin regularly for any possible issues, and keep an eye out for changes in smell, itching, and cleaning routine. The sooner these issues are addressed, the better your cat will feel.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghost writing, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.