Military dermatitis is a skin condition in cats caused by an allergic reaction. The reaction causes your cat to develop sores and crusts on its skin resulting in dandruff, intense itching and, in some cases, hair loss. Though there are several different factors that could result in the allergic reaction, many common ones can easily be treated at home.
When your cat begins to display the symptoms of suffering from military dermatitis, you have to discover the cause of the allergic reaction. Very often the reaction is caused by a common allergen, such as fleas, ticks, heat, a change in diet or contact with a skin allergen such as poison ivy. Begin with any known allergies your cat may suffer from and then investigate any changes to your cat's diet or routine. The most common cause of military dermatitis is flea bites.
Give Your Cat a Bath
To treat military dermatitis, you must treat the underlying cause. A simple, at-home solution is to give your cat a bath. Use a mild soap designed to moisturize your cat's skin, such as an oatmeal based pet shampoo, and allow the lather to sit on your cat's skin for a minimum of 2 minutes. Make sure the shampoo is worked down deep into your cat's fur to the skin to achieve the best results. If the underlying cause of the irritation is flea or tick bites, you need to treat the fleas and remove the ticks. Keep in mind that the use of a medicated shampoo on the sores caused by military dermatitis can further inflame your cat's skin. After bathing your cat with moisturizing shampoo, wait at least 3 days before applying a topical flea deterrent, such as Advantage, applying a flea collar or bathing your cat using a medicated pet shampoo.
During summer months when the weather is especially hot, many cats will experience military dermatitis as a reaction to the heat. If this is the cause of your cat's skin irritation, bathe it but keep it inside your home where it is cooler, if possible, or make sure it has a shaded, well-ventilated area in which to rest during the day. Keep your cat supplied with cold water.
Cats experiencing food or environmental allergies will also need a moisturizing bath, and they will need to be removed from what caused the allergic reaction. Changes in your cat's food or the brand of litter they use can cause military dermatitis. If your cat begins experiencing the symptoms of military dermatitis within 48 to 72 hours of a change in food or litter, reverse the change and then bathe the cat, ridding its skin and fur of any topical allergens. To treat a food allergy, remove the food from the cat's diet and allow at least 3 days for your cat to show signs of improvement. If the condition persists, consult your veterinarian.