Ragdoll Cat Skin Scabs

by Bill
(Dallas, TX)

Santa Cat

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My 5 year-old Ragdoll cat has developed skin scabs that appear all over, especially the neck area. They get better when flea treatment is applied, but return after 2-3 weeks - too soon to re-apply flea treatment, according to instructions.

Has anyone had experience with this situation and knows a solution?

Thanks, Bill

Update: please read the comments for suggestions. There is one nice comment at the base of the page. Coconut oil was used with success. If the scabs are caused by an allergy (causing itching and sratching) removing the allergen will remove the scabs in due course.

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Ragdoll Cat Skin Scabs

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Jul 15, 2010 My Ragdoll
by: Maureen

My Ragdoll, Eddy, has some skin disorder to which he has lost so much of his fur, and has bare patches all over with scabs. It depresses me, 'cause he was such a beauty. He still is, beautiful face, but he's lost so much fur and it makes him appear so much smaller. I've tried flea shampoo, skin-so-soft. He's such a sweetheart, I hate seeing this happen to him. Guess I'll take him to a vet after all, but they're so expensive!!!

Sep 30, 2009 Turbo's skin scabs are only returning after 4 weeks
by: Isabelle Brettenny South Africa

It would appear that my Turbo is allergic to fleas...his skin scabs have only returned after 4 weeks, so the flea treatment can be re-applied...I'm so please that he doesn't need cortisone...we also have capstar here in South Africa which someone commented on, but I find that the "Advantage" flea treatment has worked well.

Sep 26, 2009 Cortisone
by: Anonymous

As I understand it doctors try and minimise giving cortisone to people or at least limiting it as it can cause problems in the long term. Cortisone is a kind of last resort. In this instance I think it works because a side effect of cortisone is a suppression of the immune system.

That is a negative side effect but in these instances the allergy is due to an overactive immune system so suppressing it helps a lot but it is a kind of forced and unnatural situation which if continued over more than a fixed period of time can have health effects that might outweigh the original problem.

That said there may be no other options. But if flea treatment fixes the problem albeit for a short time my question is why only for a short time? Is it because the fleas are coming back? It looks that way. It seems to me that the flea treatment doesn't hold off the fleas for long enough.

It would seem therefore that the best treatment is to use other flea removal methods (natural methods) together with the chemical methods (Frontline spot treatment). And to do that on a continual and thorough basis. More work, yes, but I would have thought better for the cat in the long run.

Sep 26, 2009 I too have a ragdoll with scabs
by: Kristin

I have a Rogdoll too. He keeps getting scabs on his neck and especially his back. I give him flea treatment and they go away but like your cat, they come back before it is time to reapply another treatment. I am going to try to give him this pill called a capstar for fleas that they can take whenever even if they are using other flea treatments. It kills fleas in 24 hours or less. I am going to buy it on Monday. If all else fails I think I am going to have to take him to the vet to get a cortizone shot.

Sep 12, 2009 "Scabby Cat"
by: Kathleen W.

I've had two female tabbies who had dermatitis. Neither of them had fleas, and they were indoor cats. They would pull their fur out and get scabs all over. Cortisone shots from the vet cleared it right up.

Another option is bathing with a pure, mild soap, like Ivory (bar). The soap trick is much cheaper, as long as your cat is agreeable, or at least manageable. My cats were so unhappy (think sick, and tired) that they didn't put up much of a fight. The relief was immediate, and the scabs dried up and fell off, as with the shots. The trauma of a bath may be considerably less than that of going to the vet's.

Sep 09, 2009 Turbo has nodules under his chin?
by: Isabelle Brettenny

I had the same problem with Turbo (sort of mix Maine Coon). Since the flea treatment, the scabs have diappeared, it's been 2 weeks now, so I'll see if it comes back after 3 weeks...Wow your cat is so beautiful!!! Thanks Michael for the advice...

Sep 08, 2009 Feline Miliary Dermatitis
by: Michael

Hi Bill, you have a fine looking cat. I don't have personal experience of this but I do know cats and am concerned and would like to try and help although a good vet is the obvious answer (I know they are expensive!). However, a good vet is the person to ask. What follows are just my thoughts and possible causes.

There are a ton of skin complaints and reasons but because flea treatment alleviates the condition and the worst of it is around the neck area (where fleas congregate) I would suggest that this is Feline Miliary Dermatitis (FMD).

FMD is characterised by small bumps and crusts around the head, neck and back which can be felt beneath the coat. It may be associated with fleas and complicated by pyoderma (inflammed skin or pockets of puss beneath the skin caused by bacterial infection).

FMD is caused by an allergic reaction to various agents including flea bites, mites and lice. Flea bite allergy is the most common cause. Ragdolls have nice coats for fleas.

So, on the basis I am correct (and it might be more complex than as I state) you will need to eliminate and control fleas on a wider and more profound basis. What is happening, it seems, is that you are getting some control locally (on your cat) but not generally (in the house and/or on other cats if you have them).

However, I would take care with flea products like sprays and powders as they can be dangerous in my opinion.

I would do this:

  • Carry out a thorough mechanical cleaning of the interior of the house and possibly in addition carry out insecticide applications but with great care. I think a good clean and regular cleaning and hoovering should be enough. A natural product, Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, might assist.
  • Use a flea comb very regularly say daily
  • Shampoo with an insecticide product labelled for cats
  • Use an insecticide cream rinse containing 0.5% permethrin
  • Repeat shampoo every 2-3 weeks
  • In between shampoos, use a products such as Ovitrol Plus Flea Spray, Mycodex Aqua Spray, Escort Flea & Tick Pet Spray or VIP Pet Spray (with care)
  • Fit a flea collar but absolutely per manufacturer's instructions and it should be a breakaway one (one that comes free if caught to avoid strangulation)

This is in outline. You can formulate your own methods but the bottom line is a "holistic" (complete) attack on the bl**dy fleas!

Source: Me and Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin

8 thoughts on “Ragdoll Cat Skin Scabs”

  1. I have tried everything to help get rid of the skin problems on my 4 yr old ragdoll. She ended up needing a cortisone shot for her allergies but it didn’t help with the skin problem. Finally I decided to try coconut oil that is good for the skin and hair, or in this case fur. I used it twice in a one week period and used a flea comb to comb it through her fur around the head and neck. Then used a brush to brush it through the rest of her fur. The scabs have not come back on her head and neck in two week time. She is eating better and looking better.

    • Many thanks for your very useful information. I hope it will help many visitors. The best ” cure” is to figure out why the allergy exists and to remove the allergen. Thanks again.


  3. My cat has scabs that when they fall off trun into open cuts please help I don’t know what to do it is really bad I’m taking her to the vet but what dose she have

    • Quite a few diseases can cause scabs and often they can be caused by the cat himself scratching an irritated skin. The underlying condition will be a skin condition such as an allergy (for example a flea bite allergy) or the presence of a skin parasite. The vet is the person to diagnose and good luck.

  4. My cat has skin scabs,have used flea products,sprays powders and carpet treatments.none of which have helped .I have not found any fleas ,and our two dogs do not have any.could you please give me suggestions as to what else may be the cause,and cure.thankyou so much.


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