Skin dermatoses is a medical term that can be applied to any number of bacterial infections of the skin or genetic diseases of the skin. Some dermatoses are cosmetic conditions involving loss of pigmentation of the skin and/or hair coat, but are otherwise not harmful.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition, such as whether your cat suffered a recent infection. You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health and onset of symptoms. Your veterinarian will order a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. Blood samples can be tested for autoimmune factors.
As part of your cat’s physical exam, your veterinarian will take skin samples and skin scrapings to send to a lab for bacterial and fungal cultures. If the skin biopsy shows that skin cells are separating from each other (acantholytic), this is diagnostic for pemphigus. Direct immunofluorescence of skin samples using fluorescent dyes can also be used to demonstrate antibodies. Your veterinarian may also take fluid samples from your cat’s joints to check for lupus.
Unless your cat is suffering from multiple organ dysfunction caused by lupus, treatment may be performed on an outpatient basis. Antibiotics will be prescribed by your veterinarian if a bacterial or fungal infection is present. Immunosuppressive medication is often prescribed for autoimmune disorders. Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist if your cat's eyes are affected. Unless topical medications or ointments have been specifically prescribed by your veterinarian for your pet, any preparation should be avoided.
You will need to protect your cat from exposure to the sun if it has been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, or pemphigus erythematosus. You can easily apply a water resistant sunblock with an SPF of greater than 30 to depigmented areas of your cat's skin if it does need to be outside during the day. If your cat is exposed to plastic or rubber dishes (especially if the dishes have roughened edges which might cause abrasions), they will need to be replaced.
If your cat's skin condition worsens, you will need to contact your veterinarian, since it may indicate something more serious that is underlying the skin condition, such as a spreading infection or organ involvement. Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments as necessary to monitor your cat’s skin ailment. Animals that are taking immunosuppressive medications (for autoimmune diseases) should have frequent blood work tests performed.
A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
A professional skilled in the study of the eye
A reaction to a certain pathogen that is out of the ordinary
Loss of epithelium to the basement membrane
Redness of the skin
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.