Necrotizing Fasciitis in Cats

By Kimberly Harris

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare life-threatening condition reported mainly in humans and dogs. According to the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science at the University of Connecticut, necrotizing fasciitis has been reported only twice in cats.


Necrotizing fasciitis is commonly known as the "flesh eating bacteria." Necrotizing fasciitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin and the tissue that covers the muscles.


Necrotizng fasciitis is usually caused by haemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. There are other types of bacteria that can cause the disease as well, even some found naturally in a cat's body.


In one case of necrotizing fasciitis in a cat, the rear leg had an area of hair loss and discoloration of the skin and underlying muscle. This was not found until the postmortem examination.


Necrotizing fasciitis is a progressive disease that quickly kills the skin and underlying tissue. Infection spreads rapidly and can lead to a systemic infection and toxic shock syndrome; death occurs if not treated quickly.


Treatment of necrotizing fasciitis requires a high-powered antibiotic and surgical removal of the dead tissue.