Skin Conditions in Cats Requiring Steroids

As you can see from my coat, I took those horrid pills.

As you can see from my coat, I took those horrid pills.

If your cat develops serious skin issues, your vet might prescribe steroids to clear up the situation. First, she might need to perform a skin scraping or biopsy on Puffy to determine the cause of his misery. Only certain feline skin conditions respond to steroid treatment.

Steroids

Corticosteroids, or simply steroids. are strong anti-inflammatories. Natural steroids are produced by your cat's adrenal glands. The most common synthetic steroids prescribed to treat feline skin issues include prednisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone. Your vet might prescribe pills for your cat or give him an injection. Short-term side effects include increased hunger and thirst, more trips to the litter box, lethargy and vomiting. Cats on long-term steroid treatment might develop urinary tract infections and get fat. Long-term steroid use can cause skin problems in cats, including acne, thin skin and calcium plaque on the skin. Always follow your vet's instructions carefully when giving steroids to your cat.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

If your cat's allergic to fleas, just one of the little pests can cause hair loss, incessant scratching and skin rash. While you must get rid of the fleas, both on your cat and in your house, your vet might give your cat steroids such as prednisone for itch relief. She can also recommend a monthly, topical or oral flea control medication so Puffy remains flea-free. Your vet might prescribe steroids for other types of allergies that result in skin issues. These require more elaborate skin testing to determine the cause than the common flea allergy requires.

Pemphigus Complex

Autoimmune skin diseases don't occur often in cats. The pemphigus complex causes blistering on the mouth, nose, eyelids, anus and genitals. The most common, Pemphigus foliaceus, also causes foot sores. Pemphigus vulgaris, which also affects people, results in fluid-filled blisters that erupt. Pemphigus erythematosus features redness on the nose and other areas, along with the blistering. Perhaps the most disgusting, Pemphigus vegetans, causes lump and pimple formation on your cat, which ooze. Treating autoimmune diseases require suppressing the immune system. Your vet might prescribe dexamethasone or prednisone, along with antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infections.

Lupus

A skin rash over your cat's nose could be a sign of lupus. Another autoimmune disease, lupus has other symptoms including lameness and fever. As lupus imitates other types of disease, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Systemic lupus erythematosus is more likely to occur in cats than discoid lupus erythematosus. The latter form includes pigment loss around the face and privates and nose sores. Steroids, along with other medications, are prescribed to control the disease. Your cat might need long-term steroid therapy for lupus, as the disease can be controlled but not cured.

 

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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