Miliary dermatitis in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Miliary dermatitis is a frequent skin disorder in cats. Let’s talk about syndrome, a way in which the cat’s skin reacts. In other words, it means it won’t be easy to get a diagnosis.

This dermatosis has various origins on which the veterinarian will then have to study to apply an adequate treatment. Feline miliary dermatitis is known as that skin disease caused by several causes.

The affected cat develops small rashes covered with scab along the neck, head and back. These symptoms can cause very much or paradoxically no itching.

Causes of miliary dermatitis in cats

The possible origins of miliary dermatitis are manifold. It can be the  skin manifestation of an allergy due to the  presence of external parasites in the cat such as: fleas, cheyletials, ringworm, etc., on the skin or in the fur of the feline.

Miliary dermatitis can therefore be caused by:

  • allergy to a drug used for the medical treatment of another pathological situation in the cat;
  • allergy due to parasites on the cat’s skin, also called flea allergy dermatitis (or FAD). To better describe what happens we must start from the saliva of these insects which, feeding on the cat’s blood, can cause allergies and consequently this type of skin manifestation;
  • cat food allergy, caused by proteins in the cat’s diet;
  • hypersensitivity to pneumogastric allergens, allergens such as dust mites or pollens, present in the environment where the cat lives, which develop an allergy;
  • contact allergy. More unusual than other forms of cat allergy, this type of allergy is caused by skin contact with sensitizing products such as shampoos, detergents, floor care products, ointments, etc.

Symptoms of miliary dermatitis in cats

As we have seen, the causes of this dermatitis are different and this also entails a diversity of symptoms depending on the cause that triggers them. Let’s see precisely the symptoms divided by triggering factors.

Flea Bite Dermatitis Symptoms

The itching is so intense that it can cause the cat to tear its fur, creating foci of infection in the skin. If the cat is already prone to flea allergies, throughout the year, the animal will continue to suffer from them. The symptoms, however, are more intense in the summer season as it is the most active time for fleas.

Symptoms of allergic and contact dermatitis

The symptoms of allergic and contact dermatitis are caused when the cat comes into contact with a chemical elementIt occurs both by direct contact and by allergic reaction developed by continuous exposure to the chemical substance. Fortunately, both situations are quite rare in cats.

Allergic dermatitis is most severe in areas where the cat does not have a lot of hair such as: paws, abdomen, anus and nose of the feline. Direct contact dermatitis develops itchy rashes and inflammation. In this way it happens that the cat scratches itself until the hair is removed, leaving the skin exposed, which consequently can become infected.

Symptoms of inhalation dermatitis

Difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of allergies. This type of dermatitis occurs at certain times of the year.

Being caused by breathing in pollen, mold, dust and other allergens both outside and inside the house. Symptoms include itchy head and neck followed by rash and hair loss in the cat.

How is miliary dermatitis diagnosed in cats

To find out the exact cause of dermatitis, the vet examines the cat and then acts with the most appropriate treatment. As a first phase of observation, note where the skin lesions are, a detail that helps determine the cause

If they are near the tail, the fault lies with the fleas in the cat, while if the lesions are near the head, the cause can be attributed to the mites. If the problem is not one of those mentioned above, the vet will consider doing more detailed tests to find out if the cat is allergic to any food that causes hormonal imbalance.

Treatment of miliary dermatitis in cats

Treatment of miliary dermatitis essentially depends on the diagnosis of this dermatosis by the veterinarian. If the vet suspects that an allergic phenomenon is the reason for the appearance of miliary dermatitis in the cat, he will prescribe:

  • treatment of the cat against fleas, on its fur and especially at home where they are more than 95%, in order to eliminate these insects, potential responsible for cat dermatitis; 
  • a  treatment of your home against allergens  by intervening with a great cleaning of the house, with a powerful vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter
    and using acaricidal nebulizers, to eliminate all the mites present.
  • a  desensitization to the allergen  to which the cat is sensitive always if it has been identified precisely, as it is something very difficult to do.

Conventional treatment of miliary dermatitis in cats can also be based on :

  • administering  corticosteroid drugs, either by mouth or topically, to relieve the cat’s symptoms. It should be emphasized that their use can only be done in the short term because their prolonged use causes the appearance of many unwanted side effects.
  • the  administration of essential fatty acids in the form of fish oil. Omega 3 which, being a natural anti-inflammatory, helps restore the skin barrier.

Homeopathic treatment

Homeopathy for cats,  which is  alternative medicine made with herbs,  can also be of great help in relieving the symptoms of cats with miliary dermatitis. Among the plants that have anti-inflammatory, emollient and anti-itch properties, we have: the  flue, the wild pansy and the burdock.

Be careful not to give your pet medicines yourself, even if they are herbs, talk to a specialized veterinarian who can prescribe a solution suitable for your cat.

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