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Areas of the Body Where Dermatitis Can Affect Cats

Dermatitis is a condition that develops when the skin of a cat becomes irritated by an external factor. When dermatitis is caused by food allergies, environmental allergies, external parasites and bacterial or fungal infections, it can result in inflammation of the skin alongside other common signs.


Signs of dermatitis can arise anywhere on the body, however, some areas are more likely to be affected than others. Read on to learn where dermatitis can affect cats on their body.

How Do Dermatitis Issues in Cats Arise?

There are numerous ways in which a dermatitis issue can arise in cats. Perhaps frustratingly, the common signs of many dermatitis issues in cats are very similar and it is difficult to differentiate between them. This is why it's so important to speak to your veterinarian for professional advice as soon as you notice any signs.

Learn more about some of the common causes of dermatitis issues in cats below.

Illustration of cat in a kitchen with a highlighted stomach

Food Allergies

 

A food allergy arises when harmless ingredients, typically dietary proteins are confused by the body as harmful molecules a cat's body will cause an inflammatory response which triggers an allergic reaction.

Food allergies in cats

 

Illustration of a cat scratching

Environmental Allergies

An allergic reaction occurs when a certain element, found either indoors or outdoors, breaks through a cat's skin barrier. This commonly results in inflamed, irritated and itchy skin.

Cats and environmental allergies

Illustration of a cat with parasites

External Parasites

 

Found in a cat's environment both outdoors and indoors on household objects, as well as other pets, external parasites can cause irritation. They can even lead to an allergic reaction in some cases.

External parasites and cats

 

These factors can all trigger an inflammatory response or an allergic reaction which results in signs of dermatitis.

Signs of Dermatitis on Your Cat's Body

If your cat is affected by a dermatitis issue, you may notice common signs, including redness, excessive itching and hair loss, which can appear on different parts of their body as outlined below.

Illsutration of cat skin

Signs of Dermatitis on Your Cat's Coat

Your cat's coat can be one of the most noticeable areas where signs of dermatitis occur. Look out for signs of dandruff, redness, changes in texture and odor. Some of the conditions your veterinarian may consider while assessing your cat for dermatitis issues include food allergies, environmental allergies, parasites and ringworm.

Learn more about ringworm and other dermatitis issues affecting a cat's coat.

Illustration of cat ear

Signs of Dermatitis on Your Cat's Ears

Ear dermatitis issues in cats may lead to an ear infection if it isn't spotted early. Such issues can be caused by food allergies, environmental allergies and parasites, as well as yeast dermatitis which is common around a cat's ears.

Learn more about dermatitis issues around the ears in cats.

Illustration of cat eye

Signs of Dermatitis Near Your Cat's Eyes

 

When checking for signs of dermatitis around a cat's eyes, common signs include redness, swelling, discharge and hair loss. Even a change in pigmentation of the skin near a cat's eyes could indicate dermatitis.  Usually, signs of dermatitis involving a cat's eyes result from environmental allergies and are also known as allergic conjunctivitis.

Learn more about dermatitis issues around the eyes in cats.

 

Illustration of cat paw

Signs of Dermatitis on Your Cat's Paws

 

Irritation around the paws of your cat could be a sign of a dermatitis issue such as a bacterial or yeast infection of their paw or pododermatitis. Pododermatitis in cats is the inflammation of their paws and can arise from food and environmental allergies, external parasites as well as infections. 

Learn more about pododermatitis in cats.

 

Remember, the signs of dermatitis aren't exclusive to only one area of a cat's body. Make sure you are checking their entire body if signs of irritation begin to appear in one particular area. If you do notice any common signs, such as redness, swelling, excessive scratching and hair loss, always speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and advice on appropriate management options.

Understand Where Dermatitis Issues Can Arise on Cats

Learn more about dermatitis issues in cats and where it is likely to arise with these short frequently asked questions.

Dermatitis can appear anywhere on a cat's body, however certain dermatology issues are more likely to arise in particular areas. For example, a yeast infection is more likely to be present around the ears and paws of a cat. 

The most common areas to look at when checking your cat for dermatitis issues include the coat, paws, ears and eyes. If you spot any signs of irritation or sensitivity as outlined in these articles make sure you speak to your veterinarian for advice.

Don't panic, dry skin can arise near your cat's ear for many reasons. Regardless of the cause, it's important to notify your veterinarian straight away as whatever is causing your cat's dry skin in their ear could result in an ear infection.

If their dry skin has been caused by an environmental or food allergy your veterinarian will recommend appropriate management options. 

For more information on dry skin caused by allergies read our articles for more information: food allergies in cats and environmental allergies in cats.

An ear infection could have resulted from a dermatitis issue that has appeared near a cat's ear. Common signs to look out for include discharge from a cat's ear, swelling or redness and hearing loss. 

Yeast live naturally on a cat's skin and are kept under control by their immune system. However, if there is a change in skin conditions this can result in a yeast infection.

Yeast tend to accumulate in warm and humid parts of the body. This makes a yeast infection of a cat’s paws, in particular, more likely. Look out for redness, itching, and swelling on their paws as well as a strong odor.

Dry skin around your cat's nose could be a sign of many conditions and arise for one of many reasons, such as a change in the weather. However, if your cat's dry skin is arising due to an environmental or food allergy it's important to speak to your veterinarian so they can recommend appropriate management options to relieve your cat of any discomfort. 

For more information on what to do if you believe their dry skin is being caused by an allergy read: food allergies in cats and environmental allergies in cats.