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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Treatment of Skin Disorders in Cats

By Karen A. Moriello, DVM, DACVD, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison ; Thomas R. Klei, PhD, School of Veterinary Medicine and Louisiana Agriculture Experiment Station, Louisiana State University

Successful treatment of a skin disorder requires identification of the underlying cause. Not surprisingly, many treatments for skin diseases are applied directly to the skin surface. This may be the preferred method of treatment for some diseases or beneficial in addition to systemic drugs (medications taken by mouth or injected, then distributed throughout the body). Examples of products applied directly to the skin include antibiotic ointments, corticosteroid preparations, medicated shampoos, and topical insecticides. Most cats do not like to be bathed, so shampoo treatment is less often recommended for cats than it is for dogs. Instead, your veterinarian may recommend local warm packs or washing of the particular area involved (such as the chin).

Systemic drugs may be needed to treat some disorders. These include whole-body antibiotics, corticosteroids, and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

As with any treatment program, make sure that you read and understand all directions for using the prescribed product, including how to apply or give it, how much to use, and how often it should be administered.