Bengal Nose

Bengal Nose - a comparison between a good nose and an affected nose - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Bengal Nose - a comparison between a good nose and an affected nose - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Bengal Nose refers to a condition, which is a dry, crackly nose leather reported by breeders and in a research paper. It is not as far as I am aware a medical term. The nose leather (for people not in the cat fancy) is the end of the nose for a cat. Some breeders think the condition is caused by an incorrect diet in which there is a shortage of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). In that case rubbing vitamin E oil on the nose alleviates the condition. At least one vet diagnosed it as a food allergy, which was cleared up by a change in diet incorporating a different protein level.

However, a research article emanating from Sweden tells a different story. Diet may be a factor but there are other causes. There is also the question as to whether this condition is inherited from the Asian Leopard cat, the wild cat ancestor to the Bengal cat. For the time being, it is the research paper that tells us something about this disease. Perhaps more work is required? Or more cat breeder input.

The research was self funded and is entitled, "A novel ulcerative nasal dermatitis of Bengal cats" - Author: K. Bergvall. The author refers to the condition as a unique dermatitis that affects Swedish Bengal cats. It, in fact, seems to affect non-Swedish Bengal cats too. The work was carried out on 48 cats over the period 1999-2003. This is many years ago and it surprises me that it has only now being talked about. Perhaps I (and others) were unaware of it but breeders (or some breeders) were aware of it and didn't discuss it. How prevalent is it? Not sure, but of the 48 cats presented to the researcher 6 had crusts, fissures, erosions and ulcers of the nasal planum. That represents 12.5% of the total. The current percentage may be lower. Planum means "A plane or flat surface". Nasal means "pertaining to the nose". That doesn't exactly tell me the area we are talking about but as it is the nose leather (info from breeders - above) it must refer to the flat surface at the end of the cat's nose.

The condition was found to start at 4 months to 1 year of age. Antibiotics did not work. Salicylic acid improved the lesions in one of two cats treated. Prednisolone (a synthetic steroid similar to hydrocortisone - it is used as and anti-inflammatory drug and is a immunosuppressive drug) proved effective in curing one cat and partially cured another. Steroids are, as far as I am aware, a last resort in treatments as they can cause side effects. Some breeders wouldn't consider steroids to be suitable to control this condition, for an otherwise healthy kitten.

The most successful drug in treating "Bengal Nose" was Tacrolimus ointment. This is an immunosuppressive drug used with corticosteroids to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs in humans. This drug decreased the lesions in 4 cats. Lesion means "discontinuity of tissue". In this case it means that the nose leather is not cut but made up of broken tissue as a result of the condition.

The researcher speculated that it was an inherited disease and one linked to the immune system of the cat. Cat breeding cat lead to defective immune systems and higher levels of ill health in purebred cats. It is well known that purebreds generally live shorter lives that Moggies, on average. Inbreeding depression is a description of immune system malfunction or an immune system not working to full effect. Bengal Nose may be linked, therefore, to inbreeding in Bengal cats but this is pure speculation by me. It is, though, recognized that the Bengal breed has been developed from a small number of founding individual cats. Also the fact that the problem has no known environmental or dietary cause (i.e. it cuts across a variety of circumstances) and does not respond well to usual medication except as described above indicates a genetic illness.

There is no reference to it in Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated a recommended book.

It there anyone who can shed light on Bengal Nose?

Bengal Nose to Home Page

Definitions from www.thefreedictionary.com

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Bengal Nose

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Dec 06, 2011 Bengal Nose Solution
by: Wrenaria

I had this problem with my Bengal cat and the solution we found with our vet was tacrolimus. You can read more about our experience here.

It's a prescription ointment, so it is not a cheap upfront cost, but a tube of tacro will probably last us at least a year. Totally worthwhile.


Dec 01, 2011 sierra
by: Anonymous

We have had sierra for a little over a year now. She is 6 years old. The weather started to turn cold and my husband noticed half her nose was dry and cracked. We did some research and heard about bengal nose. The next day we put neosporin on it. The next day i looked over as she was cleaning herself and it was bleeding. we added more neosporin to it. We cant take her to the vet for a few more days until we get paid. It doesnt seem to bother her. I feed her indoor science diet. From what i have read is most of them get it at a few months old then it goes away. the side of her nose that is affected always had a funny look to it. i thought it had been from the previous owner. But it was soft. She lets us add the stuff to her nose with out any problems so far. I worry about taking her to the vet. when i got her from petsmart she was so stressed out it took over a month before she stopped losing hair in clumps. Nothing has changed in her food. It was colder last winter than this one and it didnt happen. Im not sure what to do for her until we can take her to the vet or if they can do anything.


Sep 13, 2011 Bengal nose thoughts & observations
by: Anonymous

Bengal nose does not for the whole part seem to bother the cats involved. It often has dissapeared on my kittens whom got it around the time the nose leather changed from black to brick. I remember the Asian Leopard is mainly a protein eating cat (birds) who also eats alot of fish probably ocasionally lizards or bugs when times are sparse, does this mean thier ancestors should have higher protein fresh uncooked meat? Calling Bengal nose a "disease" is to me a far off stretch as the cats are not bothered nor does it seem to affect their overall health. As for breeding about 1/3 kittens of my litters have had Bengal nose at some time or another, I dont fail to recognize it is always arriving almost immediatly after the first shots, (caused by the immunization?)

2 in a litter may develope it and 2 may not, all cats I have kept from said litters, it has cleared up by the time they turn 14-15 months but they tend to be more boogery than my other cats who never developed it.

My kittys that do have it seem extremely healthy and loved though I would not show them until it clears.

It is possibly the nose leather because of the genetic code has a hard time changing over from the black to the nose color it will become and it could be one of the componants in the immunizations themselves cause an irritation or the immune system response to those immunizations which I highly suspect, it could also be the dietary needs are not met as far as oils, pure raw protein.

I really wish more studies could be done on it as a non disease but a condition (like chapped lips or hang nails we dont dub them diseases) and possibly studies on a holistic approach via diet, suppliments to see if this will make a difference. I myself am working on a few things and will post if I find any of them helpful but to put the scare into people over the dreaded Bengal nose is quite ludicrous it is one of the minor incoveinces we face to have a hybrid animal and hopefully one we can find the cause and alleviate it.

by the way may it be noted we have 6 spayed and nuetered bengals who roam free on our 180 acres they have never had Bengal nose and I often catch them eating grass and bugs....


Jul 10, 2011 Re:Sorry but..
by: Anonymous

Hi Michael,

Contrary to popular belief being a breeder of purebred animals does not mean that a person must give up all moral obligations. As a general rule, most breeders are concerned about the illnesses present within the breed they work with just as much as the owners of the pets they sell to.

With this said, the very idea of a purebred is one in which people choose to isolate specific traits and features by limiting the gene pool. If genetic illnesses are present in the breed, it should be brought to the attention of those who are interested in the breed itself. The same could be said for HCM in the bengal breed, or hip dyslpasia in the Maine Coon.

As a bengal breeder myself, in the past six years of breeding I have seen this condition appear on a few of my cats on occasion. Though it's something that I definitely agree is undesirable, it is generall classified as a cosmetic fault (like a kinked tail or crossed eyes) and is not life threatening.

It neither hinders a cat's quality of life nor does it cause an lowered immune system/increase in illness. And in most instances, it seems to be seasonal at best, as many of the cases I've been reported by my pet buyers it seems to come and go. A good diet with supplements and lack of grain seems to have worked best for the cases I've had.


Jul 02, 2011 Surolan Drops
by: Michael

Suralon worked for one Bengal cat. This drug is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal combi drug. Seek veterinary advice before use.

I think the anti-inflammatory element works but this drug does not cure the underlying cause.

That is just a personal and untested view - a guess essentially.


Jul 02, 2011 Sorry but..
by: Michael

Response to last comment. I am sorry but I get the uneasy feeling that your comment is not genuine but one designed to water down the potential impact of this article on the popularity of the Bengal cat.

I may be wrong and if so I apologise but...


Jun 19, 2011 My Bengal had Dry Nose
by: Anonymous

Hi all, just sharing my story. I have 2 bengals, both 6 years old now. When my male bengal was about 6 months old, he developed the horrible crusty nose. No one at the time had even heard about such and problem and my vet was stumped. I did a lot of research and came across a few articles and other info, but not as much as you can find now. We tried some steroid cream, but it only made it marginally better. Then we just used neosporin for a while to keep it moist and prevent infection. Then, almost as suddenly as it appeared, the dry nose just went away when he was about a year old. The odd thing was that his nose went from being black, to deep pink, and it has been that way for the last 5 years. No recurrence of dry nose either. Hope others have the same experience I did. It sure was scary while he had the condition!


Jun 19, 2011 Response to last comment
by: Anonymous

Nice comment but I am not sure that your intentions are genuine. Very sorry if that sounds horrible or if I am wrong. But I don't think it is a problem that is as easy to eradicate as you suggest. My feeling is that it is linked to breeding.


Mar 22, 2011 Bengal nose
by: Debby

I received my new stud @ 5 mo. old. He had a very crusty nose. He had just gotten over months of ring worm, so his immune system was weakened. I was lead to believe that it was caused by the nasal vaccine that was given to him. He came down with the same symptoms as he was being vaccinated for. With CS, lycine, neosporine on his sore nose , he got over it in about 4-6 wks. Never showed up again. Different diet might have helped. I think he was raised on Iams.. None of his kittens have had it and hes a great guy :)


Dec 28, 2010 Begal Nose
by: Anonymous

I bought a kitten for stud purposes, when he was 5 mo. old. He had sore, crusty, scabby nose, when I got him. I was concerned, and I treated him with lycine, and Collodiol Silver. He had just gotten his 3rd vacsine , and it was the nasal type. He seemed to have come down with the virus he was being vacsinated for. He had also,was just getting over ringworm. I think his immune system was already low. He came out of the "bengal nose" in a month, and has been healthy, and is a great stud for his mate. The kittens are healthy. I do not recommend the nasal vacsinations. I get the shots at the vet clinic now.


Nov 12, 2010 Bengal nose 5 month kittens
by: Anonymous

our bengals had it but it appears to be getting better since I have switched away from a food with grians etc to one with higher proiein...


Feb 06, 2010 bengal nose
by: Anonymous

My cat definately has this and has had since only a few months.Whilst it does not affect him seriously bathing it seems to bring him some comfort. would it be okay to use vitamin e oil to soften it up for him as it really does look painful and the vets were absolutely useless.


Nov 13, 2009 Hi - response to last comment
by: Michael

I am not a breeder. The problem is hard to cure because it is associated with the immune system. That then makes it severe. But it is not (it seems) a major debilitating disease/illness so in that way it is not severe.

I think vets prescribe ointments and the like that keep it in check and comfortable without curing it.

I don't think steroids are appropriate because of the side effects for long term use.


Nov 10, 2009 my cat
by: alisha

Im pretty much definitely sure my bengal has it. How severe is this?


Oct 15, 2009 what
by: Anonymous

hi i need help with my science project -- what other genetic diseases?

Answer: I made a post on the blogger site that lists genetic diseases for cat breeds:

genetic-diseases-in-purebred-cats.html


Sep 01, 2009 Response to last comment
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Yes, if it is an inherited condition that affects the immune system then I think it would be irresponsible to breed from him. If in doubt don't breed is my view because it may affect the offspring and their offspring and perpetuate the problem to the detriment of the breed generally.


Aug 31, 2009 bengal nose in studs
by: Anonymous

I have a bengal stud whom is 8 months old so i havn't bred from him as yet. However i am positive he has bengal nose. i did not breed him myself he was purchased and bought into my cattery. should i not breed with him will this condition be passed on through his kittens?



Comments

Bengal Nose — 10 Comments

  1. I got my Bengal from a breeder here in Ontario-she’s gotten out of it since. He’s had Bengal Nose since I got him at about 12 weeks. Bouts of gastrointestinal distress eventually led me to a great local vet who diagnosed Lupus. Algonquin Animal Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario is where I take my boy. I also have Lupus and the vet said they’ve seen owners and cats with similar illnesses. My Bengal has been on oral steroid medication every second day for several years now. I use the liquid form as it is easier to get the dosage exact and avoid flare-ups. He gets .25 ml every second day. As long as the steroid is not missed his gastro problem is kept at bay. The oral steroid has had no effect on his Bengal nose. He loves to have me clean his nose with tepid water and Q-tips and will jump up on the bathroom vanity and meow it’s time to fix his nose. I often also then put on a steroid cream – the same I use for my face when my Lupus rash flares. In winter I keep the humidity up to 36% and this also helps a lot. It’s a prescription cream I get from my doctor so there’re no ‘extra’ ingredients. He is also on a prescription diet (Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Moderate Calorie diet). The diet really helps his tummy and any attempt to change it has been met with flare-ups. My beloved Bengal will be 7 years old this May and I adore him. He has videos up on YouTube and you can be seen him under my channel: Remedy Farm. Any others who have Bengals with Bengal Nose are welcome to contact me through my YouTube channel. Perhaps increasing awareness of this condition will help the cats.

    • Thanks Erica for visiting and a very informative and useful comment. You both have lupus. Is the lupus and Bengal Nose connected (the same cause – immune system defect). It is charming that your cat likes to have his nose sorted out and cleaned up. Smart boy. I am sorry, though, to hear that he has a stomach illness that is incurable. Permanent steroids seems to be a last resort treatment. Pleased it works though.

  2. I have a 5 mo old kitten with this problem vet is not sure had biopsy they all scratch there head he’s large but a grey cat with lion looking face thank you now ill tell my vet

        • hi michael i took max now to dermatoligist does not no said your cat is a maincoon not a bengal but his nose and symptoms match bengal nose now hes 7 mo old there giving him something for herpes cause they dont know please michael if you have any sugestions on what might help let me know. i hope it will just go away. should i put anything on it.

          • Hello Ginger. In this instance, I would trust your vet. There is a big difference between the Maine Coon cat and a Bengal cat and therefore your vet is almost certainly correct. As far as I am aware, Bengal nose is a particular condition that relates only to this cat breed. Therefore, the condition that your Maine Coon has is probably different to Bengal nose. Therefore, the treatment would also be different. As a result, for the time being, I would simply follow your veterinarian’s instructions and wait and watch.

            If you have a photograph please upload it but make sure that it is of the right size. Personally, as mentioned, I was simply follow your veterinarian’s instructions and not add to the treatment. I wish you the best of luck and my best wishes to your cat.

  3. My Bengal has this as well. She’s now 2.5 and it comes and goes. However this time the entire nasal planum has peeled off and left exposed raw skin on and under her nostrils. Our vet has given her a shot of something that he says has helped canines with skin issues, so will see what happens. But would love an update if you have any additional scientific insight.

    • Hi Mali, I’ll see if I can get some fresh info about this. Bengal nose is a real problem and it is mysterious. It is also mysterious to me why the breeders or cat associations don’t say something about it. They are awful when it comes to this sort of thing. It is a breeder problem.

    • Mali, is it a fair point to say that if the skin has peeled off it is a version or an extension of Bengal Nose.

      Where the skin is dry and flaky it is already partially peeled off.

      My guess is that the condition in your cat has gone a step further and the top layer of skin has peeled right off.

      This is a terrible condition because vets don’t know how to cure it and I think it is due to an inherited gene that causes the immune system to malfunction. It could be an autoimmune problem based on an allergen in the air and inhaled.

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