The skin disease feline miliary dermatitis is most commonly caused by flea bit allergy. It is a skin disease that is caused by an allergic reaction to allergens that also include mites, lice and other skin parasites, bacteria, fungus skin infections and “nutritional disturbances and drug reactions”1.
Small bumps and crusts erupt on the skin around the head and neck, and along the back.
Flea-bite dermatitis may result in raw patches of skin that become infected from intense scratching of horribly itchy skin.
Eosinophilic plaques may develop1. Eosinophilic plaques are well-defined, raised sores with concave surfaces2.
Many cats are resistant to and grudgingly accept flea bites but if the cat is allergic to the flea bite, “a single bite one or twice a week is sufficient to produce a response”1.
This may happen year round if there are fleas in the house but the peak season is the middle of summer.
If you suspect feline miliary dermatitis through observing the symptoms described above, please check for fleas as discussed on this page: Cat Flea Treatment – essentially comb your cat with a flea comb (32 teeth per inch). You will see fleas and flea feces and eggs if they are present.
The vet will confirm an allergic reaction through an “intradermal test”1. A small amount of the allergen solution is injected into the skin in this test3.
If the cat flea is the cause please read these pages:
Cat Flea Treatment and;
If not a vet will have to assist in determining the allergen concerned.
A backstop position is to administer cortisone injections. This is not a cure but forces a reduction in itching. There may be side effects and they should be administered with consideration and care and not long term.
Topical antibiotic/steroid creams can help. An example is Panolog. “Desensitization is not very effective”1.
1. Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook.
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