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What are Skin Ulcers?

Skin ulcers in cats are defects in the surface layers of a feline’s skin. The ulceration is often slow to heal, requiring careful observation and veterinary care. The majority of skin ulcers are the result of trauma from an outside source, but can also be linked to certain varieties of disease.

If you notice a crusted wound on your cat’s foot, nose, or skin, it is likely that she has a skin ulcer. Skin ulcers in cats can be a red, inflamed sore spot on the cat’s skin, or the wound can open, seeping discharge from the affected area. Feline skin ulcers have many possible causes including parasites, infections, allergies, disease, burns, and a variety of other skin irritants. Cats also have a tendency to self-manipulate a wound, licking or biting continuously until the skin problem becomes severe. 

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Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 511 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Skin Ulcers in Cats

The initial signs of skin ulcers in cats is a crusted area of the feline’s foot, nose or skin. As the ulceration progresses, or if the cat has inflicted self-manipulation, the skin problem can progress into an extensive lesion. The affected area may open, draining a thick, white substance, the area around the ulcer may become red and irritated, and the cat may lose hair in the area. 

  • Depigmentation 
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Multiple lesions 
  • Skin erosions 
  • Skin ulcerations 
  • Discharge
  • Dried crust 
  • Inflammation 
  • Swelling 
  • Redness 
  • Self-manipulation (licking) causing hot spots or infection 
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Causes of Skin Ulcers in Cats

There is a long list of possible causes of skin ulcers in cats that includes: 

  • Zygomycosis (a type of fungal disease) 
  • Urine scald (prolonged urine exposure due to urinary incontinence) 
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis (immune reaction to drugs or infection) 
  • Tick bites
  • Tail gland hyperplasia 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (skin tumor) 
  • Sporotrichosis (fungal infection)
  • Spider bite
  • Solar dermatosis (sunburn) 
  • Skin fold pyoderma
  • Skin cancer
  • Sebaceous gland tumor
  • Rodent ulcer (allergic syndrome) 
  • Ringworm (fungal infection) 
  • Pythiosis (mold) 
  • Superficial pyoderma (bacterial infection) 
  • Deep pyoderma (bacterial infection)
  • Psychogenic dermatitis (self-manipulation) 
  • Phaeohyphomycosis (fungus) 
  • Pemphigus vulgaris (autoimmune disease) 
  • Pemphigus foliaceus (autoimmune disease) 
  • Pemphigus erythematosus (autoimmune disease) 
  • Panniculitis (trauma, trapped foreign bodies, infections, autoimmune disease, idiopathic) 
  • Notoedric mange 
  • Nocardia (bacteria)
  • Mosquito bite
  • Miliary dermatitis (allergenic syndrome) 
  • Myeloma (tumor)
  • Mast cell tumor 
  • Mammary Cancer 
  • Lymphoma 
  • Lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease)
  • Lice
  • Hyperthyroidism (overproduction of the thyroid hormone)
  • Hot spots
  • Histoplasmosis (fungal infection)
  • Hemangiosarcoma (tumor)
  • Granulomas 
  • Frostbite
  • Folliculitis (hair follicle infection) 
  • Flea allergy dermatitis (allergic reaction to flea bites) 
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Feline pox 
  • Feline leprosy (bacteria) 
  • Feline herpesvirus 
  • Calicivirus 
  • Erythema multiforme 
  • Epitheliotropic lymphoma 
  • Eosinophilic plaque
  • Eosinophilic granuloma 
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Burns
  • Bite wounds
  • Bowen’s disease 
  • Bee stings
  • Basal cells tumors
  • Bacterial infection 
  • Aspergillosis 
  • Abscesses
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Diagnosis of Skin Ulcers in Cats

Skin ulcers in a cat takes a timely differential diagnosis, as this skin condition can be caused by numerous conditions. Diagnosis of a skin ulcers 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 ulcer was first noted, where the cat spends most of her time and what the pet owner suspects could be the cause of the skin problem. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may choose to perform a variety of diagnostic tests including:

  • Skin cultures: swabbing the skin and examining the sample will determine if the ulceration is caused by an infection of bacteria, or fungus. 
  • Aspiration of Fluids: Syphoning a small sample of the draining fluids can be used to determine possible caused when examined under a microscope.  
  • Skin biopsy: a portion of the surrounding tissue may be removed to be examined in a laboratory setting. 
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Treatment of Skin Ulcers in Cats

Treatment of skin ulcers in cats vary depending on the underlying cause of the skin condition. Your veterinarian will tailor a treatment plan to your cat’s specific condition and overall health. The majority of felines can receive treatments at home as an outpatient, but if your cat requires supportive care, she may be required to stay in the clinic for a few days. An Elizabethan collar is often sent home with patients to prevent the cat from licking, biting or scratching at the ulceration, making the problem worse. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and antifungal medications are just a few medical options your veterinarian may recommend to your cat with a skin ulceration.

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Recovery of Skin Ulcers in Cats

The prognosis of skin ulcers in cats depends on the underlying condition that caused the feline’s skin to ulcerate. Follow-up care with your veterinarian is highly important to ensure the wound is healing and the therapeutic treatments are working as planned. Felines with underlying disease or poor health can often develop secondary infection to the ulcer, and should be evaluated for evidence of complications.

Conditions related to skin ulcers can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 511 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Skin Ulcers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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House cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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27 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Random Sores Around Her Face And Neck

She is in inside cat, doesn’t go outside at all and recently sores have popped up, I don’t think it’s from fleas I havnt seen any on her and she doesn’t scratch offten

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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27 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Cats can be affected by allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, or parasites other than fleas. If this is something that is not improving, it would be best to have a veterinarian examine her, as they can look at the area, see what might be going on, and get treatment for her. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 8, 2020

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Cat short hair

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Large Skin Sore

Skin sore on his back just below shoulder blades

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your picture, that appears to be a bacterial infection, and may need antibiotics or other medication to help keep it from getting worse. It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 511 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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