why does my cat have bad dandruff
I have a 4-year-old indoor /Tabby mix who has cat dandruff on the back half of the top of her back. I was wondering what may be the cause of this and what treatment would help. She has had it since she was a kitten, but it pretty much only becomes obvious when I brush her or take her to the vet. My vet has seen it before, so it may not be something to even be concerned about? -Amber
First, what is cat dandruff? Given that veterinary medicine even has a term to describe freckles in ginger cats lentigo simplex it should not surprise the reader that veterinary medicine has a term to describe severe dandruff: seborrheic dermatitis. I prefer to call it dandruff. Is cat dandruff common? Why does cat dandruff happen? Yes, cat dandruff is common. It occurs most frequently exactly where you have described: on the back, closer to the tail than to the head. The dandruff may be accompanied by greasy hair. Most of the time, dandruff, even when severe, is not representative of a disease. However, some skin parasites (particularly one called Demodex) and fungal infections (such as ) can lead to cat dandruff. So can glandular disorders such as, allergies to or, and even severe problems such as. Some cats appear to respond to dermatological insults (such as exposure to chemical irritants) by producing dandruff. What should you do about cat dandruff? To be sure, you did the right thing by taking your cat to the vet. I hope that she did the appropriate tests to rule out those more serious problems. If she did, it is safe to say that your cat has a good, old-fashioned case of feline dandruff. That means two things. First, the problem will be hard to solve. Second, the problem isn t a problem and it doesn t need to be solved.
Dandruff in cats is, in my experience, hard to treat. Some vets have touted success with dietary supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids. Others recommend special shampoos or spot-on therapies (specifically, I have seen some vets recommend Douxo Spot On or Alloderm). A few owners have reported success after changing their cats diets. However, most people who have cats with dandruff end up frustrated. In my experience, the problem does not improve no matter what is done. I put problem in quotes for a reason. If your vet has ruled out serious skin disease, and your cat is not suffering from itching, hair loss or pain, then as far as your cat is concerned, there is no problem. Cats, unlike humans, don t worry about first impressions. They don t obsess in the mirror. Since the dandruff isn t bothering your cat, I recommend that you not let it bother you. Why risk gastrointestinal upset from a diet change, or an adverse reaction to a shampoo? The problem isn t really a problem, so why not do nothing? Veterinary medicine has a fancy term for this as well: benign neglect. Thumbnail:PPhotography Ychendongshan Thinkstock. P Tell us: Does your cat have dandruff? What are your best tips for handling it? Read more about cats and skin conditions on Catster. com: is not just an aesthetic issue with cats cat dandruff can be symptomatic of a bigger health concern, and your cat s scratching can lead to. A healthy cat will have smooth, soft skin without dandruff flakes or visible sores or irritation. Causes of Cat Dandruff Dandruff in cats usually is from one of four causes: nutrition, hydration, parasites, health problems, or allergies. Diet: A poor diet can cause nutritional deficits that lead to.
A deficit of can lead to dry, flaky skin and a dull coat in your cat. High quality foods contain a balanced amount of Omega oils, so be sure to your cat s brand. Hydration: Lack of proper hydration can cause dandruff in cats. If your cat isn t getting enough water, their skin can reflect that dryness. The dehydration could also be environmental dry air and weather can affect a cat s skin and coat. Sunburn can also affect outdoor cats, particularly if they have a lighter-colored, thinner coat. Parasites: Common causes of dandruff or dermatologic reactions in cats are parasites like, or mites. Bites from fleas and mites can trigger allergic reactions on your cat s skin, which can lead to dandruff and excessive itching. These kinds of external parasites can also cause other serious health problems if left untreated. Health: In some cases, dandruff can be one of the symptoms of feline. You should contact your veterinarian if you re seeing flaky skin in conjunction with other. Allergies: Dandruff can also be the result of an. Food and environmental allergies and stressors can affect a cat s skin and coat. It could be something as simple as a new routine or change in your home that s upset your cat s immune system. It could also be the introduction of a new food. Your veterinarian will be able to help you narrow down possible allergens if you ve ruled out other factors. Symptoms of Dandruff in Cats The white flakes of dandruff are visible to the naked eye and not to be confused with dander, which is much smaller and part of the natural skin shedding process. Dandruff symptoms also include scaly, dry-looking skin. If your cat has thicker fur, you might need to part their fur to see the flakes on their skin.
A cat comb or brush can also help you diagnose dandruff, if you re seeing flakes there after a grooming session. You may also notice your pet engaging in excessive itching or licking at dandruff sites. If overgrooming has occurred as a result of the dandruff itchiness, your cat may have red, inflamed skin patches. Treatments for Cat Dandruff If you suspect your cat might be dehydrated, consider using a which aerates the water and makes drinking more appealing. Switching to wet food is another way to up your cat s water intake. If the air is dry, using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture your cat s skin and fur. For a suspected nutritional deficit, carefully read your pet food s label and make sure it s properly balanced for your cat s life stage and habits. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of can help. For a food allergy, you ll want to consider finding a healthy alternative to the culprit. If you and your vet have determined that an environmental allergy is seriously affecting your cat, your vet might prescribe an antihistamine or steroid. Great Options:, If you believe your cat is upset by environmental stressors, try to avoid making any sudden changes in routine or the home. Keeping your cat calm and reassured could help clear up the problem. If it continues or is severe, your veterinarian may recommend a medical-based calming treatment. Great Options:, And, finally, regularly groom your cat! In addition to being a great bonding time, regular brushing or combing stimulates your cat s skin cells and promotes good circulation. It also helps spread their natural oils evenly throughout your cat s skin and coat. Great Options:,
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