Skin Rash in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Skin Rash in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Skin Rash in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Skin Rash?

The skin is the body’s first line of defense against the hazards of the outside world. When a potential invader comes in contact with the skin, such as a bacteria or fungus, the immune system fights back, sending specialized cells to the point of impact. However, when the body reacts to a substance, the body has an inflammatory response which can potential lead to an allergic reaction. Skin rash in cats is a highly pruritic condition that commonly affects the underbelly, feet, nose, ears and mouth of a cat. The underlying cause of skin rash in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, making the inciting cause difficult to pinpoint.

Skin rash in cats is an overreaction of the immune system to an otherwise harmless substance. Skin rash in cats, also known as feline contact dermatitis, is caused by direct or indirect contact with an irritant, or allergenic substance.

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Skin Rash Average Cost

From 226 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Skin Rash in Cats

Skin rash in cats will cause a notable reddening of the skin. The area affected will be irritated, pruritic (itchy), and inflamed. Common areas affected by skin rash include the cat’s anus, abdomen, toes, ears, and chin, as there is not much fur to protect the skin from the irritating substance. Additional symptoms linked to skin rash in cats includes: 

  • Papules 
  • Blisters
  • Vesicles
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Dandruff
  • Scratching
  • Biting of the skin
  • Greasy fur
  • Secondary bacterial infections
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Causes of Skin Rash in Cats

Skin rash in cats is a result of a feline coming into direct or indirect contact with a substance. The immune system mistakenly takes one of these harmless substances as an intruder and releases a chemical response to the skin, resulting in an allergic reaction. Skin rash in cats can be caused by either an irritant or allergenic substance. 

Irritant Skin Rash Causes

  • Chemicals
  • Solvents
  • Topical medications
  • Detergents
  • Soaps
  • Perfumes
  • Plastic
  • Fibers 

Allergenic Skin Rash Causes 

  • Insect bites
  • Parasites (especially fleas)
  • Foods
  • Mites
  • Fleas
  • Medications
  • Plants
  • Bacterial or fungal infection 
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Diagnosis of Skin Rash in Cats

Diagnosis of a skin rash in cats will require a review of the cat’s medical history, plus a great deal of communication between the pet owner and the veterinarian. Pet owners will be required to tell the veterinarian when the symptoms were first noted, where the cat spends most of her time, and what the pet owner suspects could be the cause of the skin rash. Any new additions to the home such as furniture, deodorizers, or carpeting should be noted as textile materials could be the root of the problem. Changes the pet owner has made to the cat’s food, medications, preventative flea/tick treatments, and even a new collar or food dish should be taken into consideration. 

Tests can include skin combings for fleas or flea dirt, skin scrapes for mites and cultures.

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may choose to perform a patch test. A patch test is a simple test in which the veterinarian will take a sample of the suspected irritant and tape it directly on the cat’s skin. The substance will remain on the cat’s skin for a duration of time, then removed for assessment. If a rash appears underneath the taped substance, the skin rash substance has been pinpointed. If the tape test proves ineffective, the veterinarian may ask the client to remove the feline from the suspected irritant. He/she may also ask the owner to monitor the cat’s daily activities and daily diet to see if they can detect any possible causes at home. 

If the underlying cause of the skin rash remains undetected, the veterinarian may move on to perform an allergy test on the cat’s blood serum or perform a skin biopsy. 

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Treatment of Skin Rash in Cats

Once the underlying cause of the skin rash has been pinpointed, the feline will need to be removed from that substance immediately. The doctor may bathe the feline with specialty shampoo to remove the particles of the substance from the skin and apply a topical corticosteroid to the cleansed skin to relieve symptoms. The best treatment option for skin rash in cats is to remove the irritating substance from the feline’s environment, but if the substance cannot be removed, therapeutic treatment will likely be prescribed.

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Worried about the cost of Skin Rash treatment?

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Recovery of Skin Rash in Cats

The prognosis for a cat with skin rash varies from feline to feline. Some felines’ immune response balances out over time and the substance no longer causes the feline to develop contact dermatitis. However, other cats simply have an over-responsive immune system and pet owners may find more than one substance causes their pet’s skin to break out in a rash. The best way cat owners can keep their cat’s skin rash under control is by following the management and preventative program established by their veterinarian.

Skin rash in cats can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat has skin rash or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Skin Rash Average Cost

From 226 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Skin Rash Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Kitten

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Two Months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Red Patches Clear Oozing Hair Looking Thin Around Ears

It just started recently and I’m not sure why she eat both dry and wet food for kittens. She drinks water. I showered her and used I feel so purrty shampoo for kittens. She doesn’t go outside I don’t own any plans.

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That looks like she may have an infection on her skin, from the pictures, though it is hard to say without being able to see her. Skin infections can worsen quickly, and the best thing to do would be to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her and see what might be causing this problem. Once they have seen her, they will be able to let you know what treatment she needs. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Ragdoll Persian

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Six Years

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0 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Reddish Rssh On Her Belly Not Moved Also To Her Left Upper Leg

Princess has seen the vet a couple of times and she has done nothing for her.. i believe that there should be something done to relieve her rash which is getting worse. thank you virginia resech

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. With out being able to see her, unfortunately, I don't have any way to see what might be able to be done for her, but I agree, there is likely a way to resolve the rash. If your veterinarian has not been able to help her, you can either call them and let them know that she is not better, or seek a second opinion.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Skin Rash Average Cost

From 226 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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