What is Seborrhea?
Seborrhea is a general term to describe a host of flaky skin conditions. In healthy feline skin, the cells die and fall off, replaced by healthy new skin cells. In seborrhea, skin cell turnover rate slows or speeds up, leading to two types: oily (seborrhea oleosa) and dry (seborrhea secca). This is a rare condition in cats.
How does my cat get Seborrhea?
Heredity is the main culprit, but this skin condition can develop as a secondary symptom to other conditions, such as reaction to allergies, parasites and poor diets.
How do I know if my cat has Seborrhea?
Affected kittens with the inherited form show signs by age 10 weeks. The skin will be crusty and dry or oily and stinky. Itching and patches of hair loss may be evident. A veterinarian will perform a series of skin tests, biopsies, blood tests and other diagnostic tests to properly identify Seborrhea and distinguish if it is the inherited or a secondary cause. Usually, cats have ear problems with this skin condition.
What can I do about Seborrhea?
The goal is to provide lifelong treatment that controls the symptoms. Key strategies call for the use of medicated shampoos, antibiotics, ear cleaners, anti-fungal medications and essential fatty acid supplements. The type of shampoo depends on whether the type of seborrhea is the dry or oily kind. Monitor your cat’s skin condition and report any problems early before they worsen.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting Seborrhea?
Since strong evidence suggests this is a genetic condition, careful breed selection is advised. The bigger challenge occurs in trying to identify the causes of secondary seborrhea.
Are there certain breeds that get Seborrhea more often?
Exotics, Himalayans and Persians are most genetically predisposed to this condition.