Skin infections in cats are usually secondary to parasites such as fleas and mites, although some cats may be affected by environmental allergies or stress. The most common symptoms of skin infections in cats include scratching, hair loss, and excessive licking and grooming.
Due to the warm climate of Naples, Estero, and Marco Island, parasites such as fleas can cause intense irritation to the cat’s skin as the flea bites to obtain its blood meal. The biting flea can cause inflammation of the skin, which, when licked or scratched, produces sores and in turn a bacterial infection. The prognosis is excellent when fleas are managed with oral or topical flea preventatives, though in some instances the cat’s secondary bacterial infection requires treatment with antibiotics.
Ear mites, which are small bugs that live in the ears, are most common in young kittensand puppies. Mites can cause extreme itching and scratching around the ears and head. When ear mites are present, they often produce a great deal of black chunky debris in the ear canals. Ear mites are identified with magnification of a microscope and, when treated properly, have a very good prognosis.
Skin infections can also be caused by Ringworm which is a type of fungus. It is most likely to be seen in young kittens and puppies or immunocompromised animals. Ringworm is a type of skin infection that is zoonotic – meaning one that is transferred from animals to humans. It generally presents as red, crusting sores on the body and is often times itchy. While it can be a nuisance and is potentially contagious to people, the prognosis is excellent with appropriate treatment.
Less common allergies to molds and pollens in the environment can also be a trigger for itching and subsequent skin infections. Skin allergies can be managed through a combination of oral medications and hypoallergenic diets.
At Town & Country Animal Hospital, we offer a variety ofoptions to care for and treat cat skin infections, as well as care and management for many other diseases and issues, including dog skin infections and cat flea and tick infestation.