Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) of the Skin in Cats | petMD
Diagnosis: Diagnosing SLE is extremely difficult. There is no single test that can specifically diagnose SLE. Tests that may be helpful in establishing a diagnosis include bloodwork (CBC, serum chemistry profile), FeLV and FIV screening, and urine analysis. A test called ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) testing can also be used in the diagnosis of SLE; however, this test seems to be somewhat unreliable in cats. This test looks for immune system activity against certain portions of the body’s own cells. Joint taps (if arthritis is present) and skin biopsies (if skin disease is present) are also beneficial.
Demodectic mange (caused by or ) is not considered contagious, nor is it common in cats. The cigar-shaped mites are normal residents of a healthy cat’s skin and hair follicles. While there are still different theories about interspecies transmission of Demodex mites, there is no question that mites cannot be transmitted to cats from dogs-who are most often affected. Furthermore, disease only occurs when the mites are present in large numbers, which could be a sign of a compromised immune system.
PF may affect cats of any age depending on the cause; median age 5 years. Domestic short hair cats are most often affected. Other reported breeds include domestic long haired cats, Siamese, Himalayan, Persian, Maine Coon, American Blue, Somali, Scottish Fold, and Ragamuffin. The duration of disease prior to presentation varies. Previous dermatologic disease unassociated with the PF may be reported. It has been suggested that chronic inflammatory skin disease may play a causative role.Studies indicate that between 6 and 15 percent of feline patients have at least one dermatopathy and many cats suffer from more than one. Among cats presented to the dermatology service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, for instance, a recent study showed that 22 percent had evidence of two skin diseases and 6 percent have three distinctive skin diseases. In areas where fleas are present, the most common cause of self-inflicted alopecia and miliary dermatitis in cats is flea allergy.3 With Filbert, the initial skin disease—based on positive ringworm culture—was fungal-inflicted alopecia with scaling, which had been improving until about a month before presentation. In addition, although Filbert had been receiving monthly flea control, not all of the cats in the colony were under flea control. Furthermore, a new cat had been added to Filbert’s living group for 2 weeks but was removed shortly before his skin condition had worsened. Whether this cat played a role remained unknown, but it is likely if the transient was not on flea prevention.A cat’s lifestyle, gender, and breed can also affect their risk of various skin conditions. Compared with indoor cats, cats allowed outdoors have a greater chance of infestation by external parasites such as fleas, and a higher risk of injury and abscesses from fighting with other cats or animals. In addition, male cats are more likely than female cats to engage in that may result in bite wound-induced abscesses. Finally, certain breeds, such as Himalayans, may be more prone to skin disease than other breeds of cats.A number of conditions, ranging from parasites to allergies, can cause skin disease in cats, and the prevalence of each condition varies with geographic location. In upstate New York, at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, for example, the most common causes of skin disease in cats seen by dermatology specialists are allergies to airborne particles, , or and mosquito bites. At private practices in Canada and the United Kingdom, on the other hand, studies show that abscesses are the most common cause of skin disease in feline patients.
The treatment of feline skin disease depends on its specific cause. is treated by using appropriate flea control products to eliminate fleas from both the cat and its environment. Food allergies are usually treated by instituting a diet that does not contain components to which a cat is allergic. Abscesses are treated by draining the infected site and giving the cat antibiotics to fight bacterial infection, and fungal disease is usually treated with anti-fungal medications. In many cases, the cause of skin disease in cats may be communicable to other cats (and, in some cases, to people), so preventing transmission to other animals or humans is often an important component of a treatment plan.