Is It Normal For My Cat To Have Dandruff?

dandruff

My Cat Has Dandruff.  What’s going on?

Did you know that just like humans, cats can have dandruff for a variety of reasons? Dandruff is a common skin condition that is distinguished by the manifestation of small, white flakes of skin in the fur. Dandruff, to a large extent, is normal. In most cases owners will not even notice it, unless it becomes excessive.

Dandruff isn’t a disease nor is it an illness, but a symptom and is often caused by external or internal factors. If dandruff is excessive, you should take your cat to the veterinarian to find out the causes of it and address it accordingly. There are many potential causes of dandruff in cats. These include:

  • Diabetes – cat’s body doesn’t respond adequately to insulin, preventing glucose from entering its cells.
  • Poor grooming- this occurs mainly in older cats that may be arthritic or obese cats- both may struggle with grooming.
  • Hyperthyroidism – metabolic disease of the thyroid gland.
  • Seborrhea – skin condition due to the over production of sebum.
  • Demodicosis – A skin disease caused by the demodex mite.
  • Cheyletiellosis- caused by the Cheyletiellosis mite and looks like dandruff in the coat.
  • Poor diet.
  • Contact dermatitis a reaction from coming into contact with an allergen or irritant.
  • Old age
  • Dry weather conditions.
  • Malassezia – fungal infection

If you notice a significant amount of dandruff on your cat you should visit the vet as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination.  Your vet may do a series of tests including blood count, urinalysis, or maybe a biochemical profile to look at the overall health of your cat. Skin scraping tests evaluate for various things such as mites or ringworm. Tape tests are used to look for skin parasites. T3 and T4 tests to check thyroid. Blood tests to check glucose levels.

You can also help your cat through a variety of treatments and things that you can do on your own such as: medicated shampoos and conditioners, soothing shampoos and conditioners, or even increasing your cat’s omega 3 fatty acid intake. You can also use coconut oil to soothe the skin: apply it directly to the irritated spots on the skin.  Coconut oil is full of antioxidants, which help to soothe the skin, help remove the layers of dead skin thus reducing dryness and itching, and aid in strengthening the skin.

Remember, if your cat has excessive dandruff make sure you visit the vet for a checkup. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Your comforting actions and care can make the biggest difference for your cats.

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