Your cat's skin and coat are indicators of your pet's overall health and physical condition. Scabby-looking skin, known as feline military dermatitis, is symptomatic of a problem. You will need to find out what is causing your cat's scabby skin to provide proper treatment.
Skin conditions cause military dermatitis
According to the VCA Hospitals, quite a few conditions can give your cat's skin an irritated, reddened, itchy, or scabby appearance. An allergic reaction to flea bites is the most common cause but other allergies and illnesses can also play a role. It can mean that your four-legged friend is allergic to something in their food (even just a food intolerance) or perhaps inhaled an allergen. In rare cases, it could be because of a contact allergen.
The conditions causing your cat's scabby skin include but are not limited to ear mites, lice, ringworm, drug hypersensitivity, poor diet, and infectious or immune diseases.
Take your cat to the veterinarian
As mentioned above, a number of different conditions can give your cat's skin a scabby appearance. Some of those conditions, such as allergies, are only likely to affect your one cat. Other conditions, such as fleas, fungus, and mange, can spread through your household to other pets. Your veterinarian will visually inspect your cat, closely examining the areas of affected skin.
If your vet can't initially diagnose your cat off of medical history and observation alone, they may choose to perform a skin scraping, biopsy and/or examine your cat's hair and skin cells under their microscope. Your veterinarian will do this in order to determine exactly what your cat's skin problems are being caused by. They may also perform parasite testing and allergy testing on your pet. In some cases, vets will refer you to a veterinary dermatologist.
After your veterinarian has given you a final diagnosis, they will prescribe a treatment that they feel will be best for treating military dermatitis in cats.
Cat scabby skin treatments
Your vet can prescribe an assortment of treatments for your cat, depending on what they have determined is causing the scabby skin. Topical ointments, shampoos, dips, and sprays are useful in treating parasite infestations. Antibiotics can treat infections. Antifungal medications will be used for fungal conditions such as ringworm. If your cat is suffering from extreme itching, your veterinarian may also choose to prescribe corticosteroids and antihistamines.
If your veterinarian believes the cat scabby skin could be caused by dietary problems, they may recommend changing your cat's food and diet. Remember that you should follow your veterinarian's official diagnosis and treatment plan for your cat.
You do not want to attempt to treat your cat's condition on your own because misdiagnosis could lead to real problems if the real condition is going untreated. Note, because cats groom themselves, your veterinarian should only prescribe medications that will be safe if they are accidentally consumed.
Preventing future cat scabby skin
Some cats are prone to skin problems but there are things you can do for your pet in order to reduce the risk of the skin conditions reoccurring. The VCA Hospitals recommends following your vet's guidelines as well as veterinarian recommended good quality flea-preventative products. Using hypoallergenic shampoos and soaps on your cat, grooming them regularly, and feeding them a well-balanced healthy diet is always a good idea.
If your cat has a predisposition to certain conditions or your vet believes the condition is likely to reoccur, your vet may choose to give you preventative skin creams or oral medications to be given long term.