There are many causes of itch in cats including parasites such as mites and fleas, bacterial infections, ringworm and yeast infections, but the most common cause is allergic dermatitis.
Allergic dermatitis is a general term to describe the itchy skin cats can have due to a large variety of allergies.
Itchiness can occur anywhere but most commonly affects the head and ears, along the back and base of tail, and sometimes the paws.
In most cases it is not possible to tell what the exact cause is by looking at the skin reaction- reactions to all allergens will look more or less the same. However, allergies most often occur due to flea bites, then environmental pollens, followed by food allergies as being the least likely cause.
In the case of a one off allergic reaction the standard treatment is:
- ensure there are no fleas present by using a licensed flea medication such as Advocate or Bravecto
- treat any secondary skin infection, as this is a very common complication
- treat the itchiness itself with an anti-itch medication
When a cat has recurrent skin itchiness, it should be investigated further as we like to avoid ongoing medication if at all possible.
A step by step process is necessary, firstly to rule out food allergies, then blood testing can be done to isolate potential environmental allergens. Once we have a narrowed down diagnosis, we can decide on the most appropriate treatment and prevention strategies.
What Needs to be done?
We are happy as always to discuss any questions you may have if your cat is suffering from itchiness!