All about pyoderma in cats

All about pyoderma in cats

Pyoderma is a type of bacterial infection of the skin that can develop in cats of all types, and which usually develops as a secondary complication of an existing or underlying issue.

Pyoderma can affect cats of any type and develop at any stage of their lives, and there are quite a variety of different causes and contributory factors that can lead to it. However, because pyoderma develops on the skin and this is of course hidden by the cat’s fur, it is not always obvious to cat owners when such a problem develops.

With this in mind, this article will tell you what you need to know about pyoderma in cats, including how it develops, what the symptoms of pyoderma in cats are, and how it is treated. Read on to learn more.

What is pyoderma in cats?

Pyoderma is the name for a bacterial infection that develops on your cat’s skin. This happens when your cat’s natural immune defences break down, which allows bacteria that would otherwise generally be harmless to proliferate on the skin and cause an infection.

This may happen if your cat’s skin is already sore or damaged, such as if inflamed by an allergy; and your cat then scratches and breaks the skin, simultaneously introducing bacteria from their claws into the wound.

Because the skin is already weakened and damaged, the bacteria gains a foothold and infects the skin; and potentially, fungal colonies might develop in the same area too, setting up multiple concurrent skin infections along with the bacterial infection that is pyoderma.

What causes pyoderma in cats?

There are quite a wide range of different things that can cause pyoderma in cats, and generally there are a set of situations and factors that combine to result in it, permitting the bacteria involved to become established.

Some of the most common causes of pyoderma in cats are:

  • Allergies, which make the skin sore and more prone to injury.
  • Flea bites that are scratched and introduce bacteria into the skin.
  • Autoimmune conditions and various types of immune system and/or hormonal disorders.
  • Secondary effects of medications that supress the immune system, such as those that might be used for chemotherapy or to treat other underlying health conditions.
  • Any other illness or incident that causes damage or weakness of the skin, such as a bite from another cat, infestation with mites, bug and insect bites or stings, and skin problems like ringworm.

What are the symptoms of pyoderma in cats?

If you cat has developed pyoderma you might not spot it immediately as their fur is in the way, but it will invariably result in symptoms on their skin itself. However, these can be quite variable, and further affected by or pertaining to the underlying issue that caused the pyoderma to develop in the first place; so pyoderma with flea bites might look rather different to pyoderma with a skin allergy.

Additionally, the symptoms of pyoderma in cats are also common to some other conditions too, and so your vet will need to make a formal diagnosis after potentially testing for the presence of bacteria, and also, identifying the underlying cause.

With these caveats in mind, some of the symptoms of pyoderma in cats to look out for are:

  • A rash across all or part of the skin that may be raised, bumpy or inflamed.
  • Redness and inflammation of the affected areas of the skin.
  • The development of small pustules that can look like whiteheads, albeit a little larger, and which usually appear in clusters.
  • Itchiness and a lot of localised scratching.
  • Crusty or scabby areas of the skin.
  • A rough, raised feeling to the skin that may look or feel dry and scaly.
  • Sores or weeping areas of skin.
  • Loss of fur over and around the affected areas.
  • Your cat’s coat, or your cat in general, may have an unhealthy, unpleasant smell to them.

How is pyoderma in cats treated?

After your vet has examined your cat and run the necessary tests to make a formal diagnosis of pyoderma, they will begin to develop a plan for treating the condition and restoring your cat’s skin to its normal balance.

The first and most important part of this is to treat or manage the underlying issue that led to the pyoderma developing in the first place, and how challenging or straightforward this is can be highly variable.

After your vet has diagnosed and begun to address the situation that resulted in the pyoderma developing in the first place, they will generally prescribe antibiotics to clear up the bacterial infection that is the pyoderma itself. This will usually be in the form of an injectable antibiotic to negate the need to have to give your cat pills at home.

They might also prescribe or provide some topical creams or other products to ease inflammation or itching in the meantime, if the pyoderma is irritating your cat and causing them to scratch and further damage their skin.



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