This is a skin disease which affects cats. It is quite common and it can affect cats of any age, sex or breed.
The disease will usually cause a mild papular (lumpy) reaction to the skin. They almost resemble crusty pimples and are usually detected when stroking the cat.
The back, neck and groin areas are commonly affected, but in severe cases the entire body can be involved.
The cat may also groom excessively and have hair loss around the affected areas.
The skin may be itchy and irritated.
Increased fur ball vomiting may occur.
The skin sometimes becomes thickened.
In around 80% of cases, flea bite sensitivity is the cause of miliary dermatitis. This means an allergy due to fleas. Reactions occur to components of flea saliva.
In few cases, other causes may be found but can be more difficult to diagnose, eg. food allergies, psychological problems, hormonal disorders.
If fleas are suspected as the cause then a very thorough flea control program needs to be adhered to. We may need to prescribe a course of cortisone-based drugs to control the irritation caused by the allergy. Treatment is usually very successful but in some cases they may need to be maintained at a low level for life with regular annual check-ups (as these drugs can have long-term side effects).
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