What Causes Scabs on Cats and How do you Treat Them?

Have you ever been sitting with your cozied up to you, gently stroking his fur and you feel something rough deep down in his fur on his skin? When you take a closer look, you realize it’s a scab, maybe several? If your cat has ever had scabs on his skin and you weren’t sure what they were caused from, there’s a chance it is related to something called, military dermatitis. This is a term that also has several other names it is referred to as, like, feline acne, feline eczema, flea allergy dermatitis and others. There are also many different reasons or causes for the skin condition. Here are a few of the reasons your cat might be developing scabs on his skin. When felines develop the skin condition, it can cause them to begin to excessively clean and groom itself, especially in the location where the outbreak began. As the rash spreads, your cat might begin to actually cause a balding spot in the area that is irritated. One of the most common areas for this to occur is the trunk of the body, where the tail and trunk meet. Another common area is the neck. Here are the most common causes of military dermatitis.

Allergic reactions

Cats can have allergies to many different things; things that are irritants to their skin. This can be both ingested or external irritants. When your cat comes in contact with these agents, it can cause an allergic reaction that cause outbreaks on the skin and your cat’s self-grooming traumas related to the skin irritation will eventually cause the formation of scabs. Your cat might be having an allergic reaction to any number of things, including:

  • One of the ingredients of his cat food
  • Materials in the home, from his own bedding, your carpets, area rugs, any other home furnishings
  • Chemicals used in the home, from cleaning products, to the shampoo used on your cat
  • Ear mites or dandruff
  • Seasonal allergies, like pollen or other outdoor and environmental allergens

Flea bite allergic dermatitis

Fleas are no fun, for either pet or pet owner. It’s important to help control the flea situation on your pet and in your home in order to prevent health issues for both. Many people don’t realize that it only takes one flea bite to send your cat into a bad allergic reaction. For cat owners who keep their cat strictly indoors, fleas may not even enter into their minds when they hear their cat has a form of dermatitis. But that’s the thing. Pets don’t have to have a flea infestation in order for a flea to cause this type of reaction. As mentioned, it just takes one bite. For cats who are sensitive to flea bites and have these reactions, especially kittens who are still developing their immune systems, it can be catastrophic.

How to treat scabs

If you find scabs on your cat’s skin, you will want to have him checked by his veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis. Your vet can determine the source, many times, by the location of the outbreak. Once the diagnosis has been made, your vet may give your cat cortisone injections to soothe the itching and inflammation caused by the reaction. This will help your cat to excessively groom and scratch the irritated area. The vet may also give him a round of antibiotics to prevent infection. For the future, prevention of further outbreaks is what’s recommended, such as flea preventatives, as well as changing yours and your cat’s daily routine. For instance, you may have to change your cat’s food or remove certain items from the home he is allergic to. Other preventative measures will be recommended by your vet according to the type of problem that is causing the reactions and ultimately, the scabs.


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