Q. My cat has a major rash on her back it looks like red bumps an some have even turned into scabs.
LAURA E. MCRAE
A. Skin disorders can be particularly vexing to diagnosis and treat. One of the most common causes of skin rashes in cats is allergic dermititis caused by the bites of fleas. Some cats are very sensitive to the bite(s) of fleas and will react with excessive itching, scratching, and scabby bumps particularly on the lower back and nape of neck. Finding fleas on your cat is a pretty good indicator that fleas are causing the skin irritation. Unfortunately, NOT finding fleas doesn't rule out an allergy to fleas, as it takes only one bite from a flea to cause a reaction in sensitive cats. Moreover, there are many other possible causes for skin rashes in cats, including thyroid disease, fungal diseases, bacterial or viral infections, and irritation from chemicals in the enviroment (scented litter, fabric sheets, air freshners, floor and carpet cleaners, etc.).
A trip to the veterinarian is your first step in treating skin disorders. Your vet will examine your cat, checking for fleas and other external parasites and also looking at the distribution pattern of the rash which will help your vet to determine what might be causing the rash. If necessary, your vet may take hair or skin samples for analysis. Blood work may also be necessary if your vet suspects thyroid diseases or another metabolic disorder.