Dermatitis in cats is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed and irritated. This is a particularly frustrating condition in cats because it can be caused by a number of different sources. Allergies to parasitic bites, certain types of foods, grasses, detergents, or plants are some of the leading causes of dermatitis in cats; many other cats suffering from dermatitis experience this condition from exposure or reaction to a fungus, or as a result of high temperatures and humidity. Whatever the cause, dermatitis can cause symptoms that range from mildly irritating to severely painful.
Symptoms of Dermatitis in Cats
The symptoms of dermatitis in cats generally depend on what caused the dermatitis, and how severely the cat’s skin reacted to the cause. Most pet owners notice that their cat begins to develop dermatitis symptoms in the spring and summer months. The beginning symptoms of dermatitis are often itchy and red skin. The cat may begin to scratch a lot more than usual, or perform various body rubs on the floor to ease itching sensations; the cat may also begin to lick the paws and the base of the tail a lot. Often the pet owner will notice that the areas around the groin, under the neck, and under the legs have become inflamed and irritated.
Advancing cases of dermatitis cause symptoms that are progressively worse. The skin will often become scaly or will have a lot of dandruff. Upon petting the cat the pet owner may notice small bits of skin that is coming off. Constant licking on the paws and base of the tail, or any other area of the body, can cause hot spots to occur; these are sores which develop, then become infected, and continue to worsen if the dermatitis is not treated. Sometimes small red bumps will be noticed all over the cat’s body, and often dermatitis is accompanied by ear infections and a strong odor from the body and ears.
While the cause of the dermatitis can often be elusive, treatments to calm the symptoms should begin as soon as possible.