Nose Sores on Cats

By Lisa McQuerrey

Nose sores on cats can be caused by animal bites, fungal infections, parasites or skin infections. In more serious cases, tumors or cancerous growths may be the cause. If your cat develops nose sores, segregate her from other household pets and contact your vet for an examination and proper diagnosis.

Fungal or Parasitic Infection

Pink circular sores can be a sign of ringworm, a contagious fungal infection often seen on the nose and face of cats. Fleas also can cause sores, especially if your cat has an allergy to flea saliva. Some skin conditions such as allergic dermatitis, bacterial or yeast infections can result in inflamed patches of skin.

Allergic Reaction, Injury and Trauma

Cats are curious by nature. Your cat may have stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong, such as into a toxic plant or chemical container. Insect stings and bug bites also can result in swollen welts, especially if your cat is allergic. Run-ins and fights with wild or domestic animals can lead to bites, scratches and open wounds or hot spots.

Feline Mange

Mange, or scabies, is caused by a tiny mite, and usually results in rashlike sores on the face and ears. While more common in dogs than in cats, it can be contagious and usually is seen in poorly fed cats or in felines with weak immune systems. Treatment involves eliminating the mite with medicated shampoo.

Cancer and Feline Leukemia

Older cats, particularly those who spend a good deal of time in the sun, may develop cancerous nose tumors. A biopsy usually is taken as part of the diagnostic process. Feline leukemia can present with upper respiratory infections. The virus can lead to anemia or lymphoma. There is currently no cure for feline leukemia, though the disease can be managed in otherwise healthy cats for several years.

Feline Calicivirus Infection

Feline calicivirus can cause respiratory infection and oral disease in cats. Ulcerations on the nose and mouth are symptoms. Calicivirus is highly contagious, and numerous strains with varying symptoms exist. While antibiotics may be prescribed for infected ulcers, uncomplicated symptomatic home treatment usually is recommended.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet will examine a skin culture from your cat’s nose and possibly conduct blood tests to aid in the diagnostic process. Treatment will vary based on the cause of the sores. Infections are treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, anti-fungal medications are used for fungal infections and topical cortisone creams and antihistamines for allergic reactions. If your cat has a cancerous nose tumor, surgery and chemotherapy may be recommended.