As a veterinarian specializing in cats, I’ve examined many cats with temperaments that could possibly be described as “a little flaky.” While I’ve grown to understand a few of these flaky feline personalities, flaky haircoats are a totally completely different story.
Cats are fastidious with regards to their look, meticulously grooming their fur to keep up a wonderful, spotless coat. However, every so often, some cats will develop dandruff. In cats, dandruff isn’t a reason behind social embarrassment like it’s in people. In reality, cats couldn’t care much less. In most circumstances, dandruff is merely ugly, though generally it may be an indicator of an underlying medical situation.
The most typical purpose for dandruff, in my expertise, is solely dry pores and skin. Here within the Northeast the place my apply is situated, the winters might be pretty dry, and a few of my feline sufferers will develop flaky pores and skin merely from the low humidity.
(I’ve tried telling these cats to make use of moisturizer after bathing, however alas, they ignore me.)
Obesity is one other frequent reason behind dandruff. In chubby cats, the heaviest focus of flakes is seen within the decrease again area, the reason is apparent: These corpulent kitties are too chubby to succeed in the middle of their backs when grooming!
Although most veterinary textbooks don’t listing dandruff as a symptom of diabetes, a boring, dry, flaky haircoat is a quite common discovering in my feline diabetic sufferers. The main indicators of diabetes in cats are extreme thirst and urination, weight reduction regardless of a ravenous urge for food and doable weak point within the rear legs. If your cat has dandruff plus some (or all) of the indicators listed above, a immediate veterinary go to is to be able to make sure that he isn’t diabetic.
Treatment of dandruff in cats is predicated on the trigger. Dandruff is the least of a diabetic cat’s issues. Cats with diabetes must be fed a prescription eating regimen designed for diabetic cats, and most cats would require insulin injections as a part of their remedy. As the diabetes comes beneath management, the dandruff normally resolves as effectively.
Overweight cats must be placed on a eating regimen. Prescription diets for weight reduction might be of the high fiber/low-fat selection or the high-protein/low-carbohydrate selection. Both diets are efficient; nevertheless, the high-protein/low-carb diets are extra appropriate for cats, as they’re true carnivores and weren’t designed to deal with too many carbs. Also, diets which can be low in fats can generally induce or exacerbate scaly pores and skin.
After analysis, in case your veterinarian agrees that the reason for the dandruff is solely dry pores and skin, there are a number of choices for therapy. Mild circumstances might be ignored; a couple of flakes aren’t any large deal. Combing your cat with a flea comb (a comb with enamel which can be very shut collectively) is normally efficient in eradicating flakes from the coat.
Cats who’re reasonably scaly usually reply to bathing with “keratolytic” shampoo (one which dissolves flakes), and most veterinary workplaces carry these shampoos. (One ought to keep in mind that the share of cats that get pleasure from being bathed is roughly … zero.)
Giving a fatty acid complement wealthy in omega-3 fatty acids usually reduces or eliminates dandruff and normally improves the coat’s common look, though it might take a couple of weeks to see the total impact. Omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements can be found in lots of types, corresponding to capsules, liquids and treats. Because these fatty acids are derived from fish oil, you’d suppose that cats would love these dietary supplements, however in my expertise it’s hit-or-miss. Some cats love them, however fairly a couple of (maybe as a lot as 40%) are repelled by the style and can refuse meals to which these dietary supplements are added.
If there’s no underlying medical dysfunction, then kitty dandruff is simply an ugly nuisance. Conscientious cat mother and father who need to be proactive in stopping dandruff ought to monitor their cat’s weight to forestall weight problems, brush their cat often and think about using a humidifier through the chilly, dry winter months.
It is perhaps mites
I might most likely be remiss if I didn’t point out Cheyletiella (pronounced “kyla-tiella”) in an article about feline dandruff. Cheyletiella is a genus of mites that may have an effect on canine, cats, rabbits and other people. They reside on the floor of the pores and skin, finishing their total life cycle whereas on the host animal. Here are some things you need to know:
✤ The most typical signal of Cheyletiella is itching and dandruff. Although the itching might be wherever on the trunk, it’s primarily targeting the again.
✤ Dry white scales are sometimes current down the again.
✤ When a cat infested with Cheyletiella is examined carefully, the dandruff might be seen to be shifting, therefore the time period “walking dandruff” that’s continuously used to explain the situation. The motion is definitely brought on by the mites shifting round beneath the dandruff flakes.
✤ Cats can develop small scabs throughout their physique, and symmetrical hair loss might be seen alongside the perimeters of the physique the place the cat is perhaps overgrooming from the itchiness.
Diagnosis is made by inspecting pores and skin scrapings beneath the microscope. However, as a result of the mites reside on the floor of the pores and skin, they could be detected utilizing the “Scotch tape” approach, wherein a bit of clear tape is utilized to the scaly a part of the pores and skin, and is then stained and adhered to a slide for microscopic analysis. Fortunately, is well handled.