SKIN COMPLAINTS IN CATS
Skin disease in its various forms
is probably the commonest problem seen by veterinary surgeons.
This can vary from a low-grade itchiness that many owners accept
as normal, to severe widespread inflammation with reddening, blisters,
eruptions, weeping clear fluid or pus.
The appearance, frequency and distribution
of lesions (areas of damage) vary tremendously. Self-mutilation
by scratching, licking, chewing and biting serves to aggravate
Skin irritation tends to recur and
become persistent and difficult to treat although some cats tend
to be affected only seasonally. Diagnosis of skin disease can
be extremely complicated. Cats are frequently found to be “allergic”
to many different outside factors such as fleas, house dust mites,
carpets, cleaning materials, chemicals in the diet and foodstuffs.
Management of skin irritation usually
takes the form of anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids), antibiotics,
or desensitizing regimes using vaccines tailored specifically
to the individual animal. None of these approaches is likely to
prove rewarding because they fail to tackle the true underlying
cause, which is the build-up of toxins in the cat’s system.
It is often impossible to avoid the
cat encountering those things to which it is allergic but it is
possible to treat the cat by changing the cat’s system so
that it does not over-react to its normal environment.
So what can be done?
1. All family members must agree
to cooperate by ensuring that the correct diet is followed i.e.
no tit-bits, table scraps or other foods.
2. Gradually introduce a low protein,
low fat, easily digestible food. Gradual introduction, by allowing
a slow change in intestinal bacteria, minimises the risk of digestive
3. Quantity of food given must be
carefully controlled - it is essential that intake meets but does
not exceed requirements.
4. Increase exercise – let
your cat outdoors or play with your cat, this increases energy
expenditure and helps discharge waste products from the system.
5. Eliminate internal and external
Many owners overestimate the amount
of food needed by their pet...and success depends on feeding the
right amount for each individual.
pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health