Why Are There Scabs on Your Cat’s Back?

Like humans, cats can get scabs when they have lesions on their skin. A scab is a growth that forms to cover the lesion that protects a wound from infection or worsening and helps the skin to heal. You may at some point notice scabs on your cat’s back and wonder how on earth they got there and if it is something about which you should have concerns. Here is an overview on scabs on your cat’s back.

What Are Skin Scabs?

Scabs on a cat’s back are usually the result of miliary dermatitis. This is a term used to cover a group of skin conditions that are caused by various allergies. Some of these conditions include feline acne, scabby cat disease, flea allergy dermatitis and a condition called blotch. Despite the fact that there are a number of conditions that lead to military dermatitis, the all present in the same way with the same symptoms.

In addition to the scabs, you might notice that your cat is grooming excessively or scratching more than usual. They will often pay more attention to one localized area rather than to their whole body as dermatitis will usually affect only some areas of their body. As the cat is grooming and scratching excessively, you may also see bald patches beginning to appear. The cat will also have a rash, although this is sometimes difficult to see depending on the cat’s coat.

What Are the Causes of Dermatitis in Cats?

The scabs are not actually caused by dermatitis, they are the result of the cat scratching and biting the irritated area to get some relief from the itching. The more the cat scratches, licks or bites, the more likely it is that you will see scabs on the affected area, such as their back. So, you know why the cat has scabs on their back, but you still do not know the cause of dermatitis.

There are many different things to which a cat can have an allergic reaction. Just some of these include ingredients in their cat food, changes to their diet, secondary allergies to substances such as pollen, common household chemicals, a mite infestation, fleas and flea bites, and reactions to materials, such as soft furnishing or new bedding. The most common cause of dermatitis is flea bites.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

You may assume that for your cat to have flea allergy dermatitis, they would have to have a flea infestation on their body. However, that is not the case as they can come into contact with the occasional flea without becoming infected and receive a bite that causes an allergic reaction. As soon as the cat has a reaction, they will make the problem to their skin worse by their over grooming, scratching, and biting.

Fleas are in abundance during the warmer months of the year, so if you let your cat out of the house then, you are much more likely to experience a problem. The saliva from even one single flea bite is often enough to trigger a reaction in cats with sensitive skin.

Treating Scabs Caused by Dermatitis

Prevention is better than cure with dermatitis. To prevent your cat from suffering from flea bites that may cause a flea allergy, get your cat a flea collar and use a spot-on treatment that acts as a deterrent to fleas.

If your cat does have scabs on their back and they are displaying other symptoms of dermatitis, then you should schedule an appointment with a vet. They will examine the cat to determine the cause of dermatitis before deciding on the best treatment to resolve the problem. If you are worried about the vet knowing your cat has fleas, you really should not worry about this. Not only is it something that vets see all the time, it is not a reflection of your home’s cleanliness.

One of the most common treatments prescribed by a vet for dermatitis is a course of antibiotics to treat any infection in the areas with scabs. The may also give your cat an injection of cortisone to relieve the irritation if the dermatitis is particularly bad. Allergies to food and materials are a little more difficult to deal with as it is important to identify which food or materials are causing dermatitis. This may require a process of elimination followed by avoiding these in the future.


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