Why Does Your Cat Have Scabs? And How to Treat Them

If your cat starts to develop scabs, it can be scary, especially if you don’t know the cause. There are a variety of things that can lead to this skin condition including injuries or a skin condition known as miliary dermatitis. Understanding the potential causes and treatments can hep to put your mind at ease and give you an arsenal for treatment and bringing the condition under control.

What is miliary dermatitis?

This is a condition that causes sores to develop and they form scabs that look a lot like millets of grain, hence the name of the condition. It is actually a skin allergy. When your cat develops these types of scabs it means that it is allergic to something that it is eating or something in the environment. The scabs most often form on the back, neck and tail. There are also other names for the condition including feline eczema, feline acne and “scabby cat disease” It is a condition that you can actually prevent if you know what your cat is allergic to.

How to know if your cat has miliary dermatitis

Before the development of scabs and sores on your cat, you may notice an increase in personal grooming. This is one of the first signs. Your cat may develop skin inflammation with an itchy rash which may be hard to see through the thick coat of fur. This is why your cat may increase grooming along with scratching or biting the areas which are irritated. You’ll find scabs that look like little millets of grain from the neck down the tail.

The causes of miliary dermatitis in cats

The causes of the scab formations are from your cat constantly licking, scratching or biting the itchy areas.

The cause of the rash and the irritation could be one of any things. All are worth investigating. Your cat may have an allergy to an ingredient in the food that you’re feeding him. Have you changed brands or flavors recently? Does he have a new pet bed? Sometimes the culprit is in a new carpet or rug or new bedding. It could even be caused by the kind of shampoo that you’re using to bathe your cat. Another possible cause is from flea bites. If your cat has fleas, he may also have an allergy to them. Fleas leave a black dust of fecal matter on animals and it’s not uncommon for them to be allergic to this. It’s called flea dust and often shows up around the belly. Your cat may also have ear mites. If you’re treating your cat for fleas he may even be allergic to the flea collar or flea powder.

Treatments for feline dermatitis

The first thing to do is to try to find out what is causing the condition. The process of elimination can be time consuming but it’s the only option. It’s a good idea to keep your cat indoors except for potty times. Look for the most obvious causes first. If you changed your cat’s diet, go back to the previous food to see if this solves the problem. Discontinue use of new shampoos or flea treatments. If your cat has fleas or ear mites and has not yet been treated, then get rid of the parasite problem. If you can’t find the cause of the problem and the itching and scabs persist, then it’s probably time to take your kitty to the vet for a consultation

Visiting the veterinarian

Your vet will examine the cat and give you his or her professional opinion on the possible causes. If could be something that you haven’t thought of yet. In any case, your pet’s doctor can prescribe a medical treatment that will help to alleviate the symptoms and if the condition is severe, may put your cat on a prescription of antibiotics to help speed the healing process. The vet can also give you some pointers for preventative measures to lessen the risk of exposure to common allergens for your cat. This is the best solution when you’ve exhausted all of your resources. The vet may even prescribe a cortisone injection to help make your kitty more comfortable. Cats are just as vulnerable to the development of allergies as humans are.


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