Scabs on Cats? What Causes Them and Learn how to Treat Them


Millet is a form of hardy, nutritious grass seed that humans have cultivated for hundreds of years. It is very adaptable, with a wealth of functions, providing food and sustenance for livestock and humans. We are saying “it,” but actually millet is an umbrella term for at the least 50 different varieties of this staple grain. They’re drought resistant, have a rapid growth and harvest cycle, and typically gluten-free, so millets are experiencing a form of renaissance amongst individuals with food allergies. But why are we happening about ancient agriculture? What does it must do with scabs on cats?

It might probably be alarming to pet your cat and find scabs. This feline skin condition is miliary dermatitis, and it takes its name from scabrous sores that resemble millets. Like millet itself, this skin allergy affecting cats will not be only one thing, but a symptomatic name that encompasses a spread of potential allergens and reactions to them. Let’s look more closely on the possible reasons for scabs on cats and why they seem in your kitty’s back, neck and tail.

You could have the option to stop scabs on cats before they occur. Photography by Anna Dudko/Thinkstock.

First, what’s feline miliary dermatitis?

Because cat skin allergies have so many possible causes and provocations, what we check with as miliary dermatitis goes by several names. Some you could have heard: the feline pimples, feline eczema, the colourful and nonspecific “blotch,” the highly descriptive “scabby cat disease,” and flea allergy dermatitis. This last term describes probably the most common reason for scabs on cats and the one which confounds most cat owners. More on that in a moment.

Related: 10 Common Cat Skin Problems

There are numerous causes of miliary dermatitis in cats, external and internal, but they express themselves in the identical ways and with the identical set of symptoms. We’ve mentioned scabs on cats, but these are only probably the most obvious and telling signs. Before the looks of scabs on cats, you might notice your pet begin a regimen of outrageously excessive self-grooming. Now, cats spend nearly half their waking life licking and cleansing themselves, so is there a distinction?

With dermatitis, skin inflammation’s first yield is an itchy rash, which might be difficult to perceive, depending on the length of a cat’s coat. One sure symptom of miliary dermatitis? Repeated attention to a particular and localized area by licking, scratching or biting it. Because the rash spreads, a feline may not only groom obsessively but begin balding at those sites. Areas typically affected are the neck and the spot where the tail meets the trunk.

What causes cat dermatitis?

Allergies themselves don’t cause scabs on cats on the back, neck and the bottom of the tail, but by the cat’s singleminded concentrate on getting relief from the allergy. The more intently a cat scratches, licks and bites at himself,  the more those telltale scabs will form. Time is of the essence. The longer the condition progresses, the more likely it’s that a cat will develop scabs. In the case of scabs on cats, scratching on the scabs clears a path for secondary infections by often harmless bacteria that survive cats.

Now, there are rashes and lesions present before the cat’s self-grooming traumas, and these arise from several possible agents. Things that may cause these allergic reactions and begin the ball rolling toward scabs on cats:

  • Materials in recent bedding, carpets, rugs or other home furnishings
  • An ingredient or ingredients in cat food
  • Seasonal allergens, like pollen
  • Common household chemicals, including cat shampoo
  • Mites, comparable to a sudden proliferation of ear mites or Cheyletiella (walking dandruff)
  • Fleas and flea bites

By far, probably the most common reason for miliary dermatitis in cats and the scabs on cats that accompany the condition is the bite of a flea.

Flea allergy dermatitis in cats

Since many domestic cats spend most of their time indoors, we will anticipate the cries of protest and alarm. How can a cat express allergic reactions to fleas if she has no fleas? If the house is repeatedly cleaned? If the cat is taking preventative medication or wears a flea collar? For cats with flea allergies, especially those with sensitive skin, or younger cats and kittens with still-developing immune systems, the excellence between having fleas and being bitten by a flea is inconsequential.

All cats, particularly indoor ones, are fastidious groomers. Their rigorous cleansing routines mean that even cats who encounter fleas occasionally is not going to necessarily have them crawling and bouncing throughout her body. In other words, a cat doesn’t have to “have fleas,” per se, to experience the in poor health effects of a bite. If a cat gets out of the home through the warmer parts of the 12 months when fleas are in abundance, even a temporary period of supervised Caturday excitement can expose her to those pesky critters.

For cats with sensitive skin, indoor cats with limited exposure to the natural world, or those whose homes are kept so immaculate that they don’t even wear flea collars, the saliva from a single flea bite is sufficient to impress an allergic response. This condition, called flea bite hypersensitivity, is an increasingly common, if not the leading, reason for skin allergies amongst cats and dogs. It’s also step one toward the formation of millet-shaped scabs on cats — often on cats’ backs, necks and tails.

Treating cat dermatitis and, in turn, treating scabs on cats

Diagnosing miliary dermatitis is fairly easy for a practiced veterinarian. The location of the rash, lesions or scabs on cats — depending on how far advanced the problem is— gives a vet a clearer idea of the true source of the allergic response and a great begin to a reliable approach to treatment. Determining the precise source of your cat’s skin allergy is vital.

For cats who have already got sores from excessive grooming where flea bites are at fault, knowing that they’ve a flea allergy is not any condemnation of you as a cat owner or your private home cleanliness. Cortisone injections will help alleviate persistent itching, and, if mandatory, antibiotics prescribed to treat existing wounds.

Your vet may counsel preventative measures once you recognize concerning the cat’s allergy. Indoor cats who prefer to enterprise outdoors supervised could also be cautioned against it, or regular use of anti-flea prophylactics could also be advisable. Implementing prevention strategies might see you and your cat changing your normal routine, but being consistent with the brand new routine will ensure your cat doesn’t suffer from recurrent bouts of miliary dermatitis.

Tell us: Have you ever ever seen scabs in your cat? How did you treat them? What was the reason for scabs on cats in your case?

Top photogprah:  ©chendongshan | Thinkstock. 

This piece was originally published in 2016.

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