Exfoliative dermatosis in cats: cause, symptoms and treatment

Exfoliative dermatosis in cats, a disease that damages the skin of the feline. Let’s see what the causes, symptoms and treatment to apply.

Exfoliative dermatosis is just a strong signal of an underlying condition.

In fact, exfoliative dermatosis refers to a set of skin problems that can be traced back to one or more underlying disorders, which in common have the symptom of skin peeling.

Cause of exfoliative dermatoses in cats

Very often the causes of exfoliative dermatosis in cats are not easy to identify, while other times they are due to the following factors:

  • allergies (pollen, flea bites, food allergy, etc.);
  • vitamin A deficiency in some cases;
  • zinc deficiency in some cases;
  • diabetes mellitus in cats ;
  • congenital defects;
  • nutritional disorders and reactions (malnutrition, feeding of generic foods);
  • hormonal disorders;
  • parasitic infestation (cheyletiellosis, demodicosis, feline mange );
  • skin infections;
  • inflammation of the sebaceous glands (glands that produce oils in the hair coat);
  • thickening of the skin due to an unknown cause;
  • immune system diseases , in which the body’s immune system attacks its own skin (pemphigus);
  • seniority;
  • abnormal development of the skin and hair follicle;
  • skin cancers .


The signals that the cat’s body sends to manifest exfoliative dermatoses in the cat, can be the following:

  • accumulations throughout the coat or in some localized areas;
  • fatty or dry accumulation of superficial skin cells;
  • feline alopecia ;
  • debris around the hair shaft;
  • hair follicles filled with oil and skin cells;
  • skin infections due to pus;
  • smell of rancid grease;
  • itch;
  • scales and crusts above the nose and on the edges of the footbed;
  • scales in the form of dandruff or in sheets (coarse scale).

Diagnosis and treatment of exfoliative dermatosis in cats

In order to make a correct diagnosis, the veterinarian must be informed of the clinical history of the cat and the appearance of the first symptoms.

Subsequently he will have to perform specific tests and a differential diagnosis, since the causes of this problem of desquamation in cats can be many.

The vet will start with common blood tests, such as:

  • complete blood count;
  • biochemical profile;
  • urine analysis.

Then move on to more specific tests to check the cat’s skin, for example:

  • skin scrapings, which will be sent to the laboratory for bacterial and fungal cultures;
  • skin biopsy;
  • intradermal skin test;
  • test for ectoparasites (skin parasites).

if, on the other hand, the suspicion falls on a food, the veterinarian will be able to carry out food elimination tests.

Once the correct diagnosis has been established, the veterinarian will be able to decide the type of therapy to proceed with for the treatment of exfoliative dermatosis in cats.

In general, a frequent and appropriate topical therapy is carried out , with excellent formulas to be able to treat this condition and a moisturizing ointment to replenish the moisture content of the skin.

Very often it is recommended to bathe the cat but this will depend on the type of flaking.

While antibiotics will be prescribed in cases with secondary bacterial skin infections.

The antifungal drugs for cases with fungal infection and antiparasitic drugs in the presence of the parasites of the cat

The treatment should not be underestimated, but must be performed scrupulously as it could be a problem that could recur and cause a relapse.

Furthermore, remember that many of the cat’s skin diseases can be transmitted to other animals, including humans (zoonoses).

This is why it is necessary to be very careful to handle with gloves, avoiding touching the animal with bare hands. Thus minimizing the chances of contagion.

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