Feline miliary dermatitis is not a specific disease; it is a disease complex, meaning that it can be caused by a combination of factors.
Some of these could be genetic, some could be environmental, or it could be dietary issues with your cat.
It also has a myriad of different names including; miliary eczema, feline eczema, papulocrusting dermatitis, scabby cat disease, and it has also been called the blotch in cats.
But whatever you chose to call it, it can be quite nasty for your cat.
It is a condition in which your cat will develop very serious skin lesions that become a red and crusty rash that can cover several parts of their body including on and around the head, the neck, as well as the back.
These lesions will resemble millet seeds, thus the term miliary.
That is one of the biggest challenges with Feline miliary dermatitis; there can be several conditions and underlying disease that are actually causing it.
The list of causes will include allergies from food, pollen's, or fleas; as well as bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections.
It could also be caused by parasites that have infected your cat’s skin such as mites or lice, or it could be an actual hypersensitivity to intestinal parasites.
However, it does not stop there.
Feline miliary dermatitis could also be caused by autoimmune diseases, abnormalities with your cat’s hormones, or nutritional disorders, such as biotin or fatty acid deficiencies.
Ring-worms could also be the cause of this condition. There have also been reported cases where the medical community could not find the actual cause.
That is what makes this condition so very difficult.
However, there are several experts that believe the major cause in most cats will be from sensitivity to flea bites or from biotin or fatty acid deficiencies.
Whatever the causes are for this very painful condition in your cat, the symptoms will be the same.
These lesions in your pet’s skin will first appear as multiple small crusty bumps that look as it they are red underneath.
It can be isolated in just one part of your cat’s body, or it can cover large portions once it starts to spread.
These bumps will itch and if they spread and grow, so will the severity of the itching.
Once the itching becomes intense on the part of your cat, they can inflict a lot of damage including hair loss as well the potential for infections.
The proper diagnosis of feline miliary dermatitis is the key to properly treating this condition and in most cases it will have to be done by ruling out what is not causing it.
The location of the rash is very important in the diagnosis. In most all cases when the rash is located at or near the back of your cat, especially near the tail, it is caused by fleas.
If the rash is located near the head, it most likely is caused by mites.
However, ringworm can be found in both places. Your veterinarian will use a flea comb to determine if it is fleas, as well as looking for flea dirt, or bloody feces, again to reaffirm for fleas.
They will test your cat’s hair for mites or lice and then take a stool sample to check for parasites.
But if none of those are the cause, they will then have to test for food allergies and or dietary deficiencies, which can only be done by trial and error.
The treatment will obviously depend on the cause, if it can be found. If fleas, lice, or mites are the cause, there are several very effective shampoos and treatments that will eliminate this skin condition.
If severe, your cat may have to go through a series of dips to totally eliminate the rash.
Ring-worms are treated with both oral as well as topical treatments.
If a bacterial or yeast infection is found, it will be treated with antibiotics or anti-fungal medications.
If it is an autoimmune or an allergy problem, it is treated with steroids or antihistamines.
The vast majority of Feline miliary dermatitis cases will almost always be caused by fleas or the diet, or what is deficient in the diet.
This is opposed to an actual allergy of some type of food, which is very rare in this condition.
Fleas are quite easy to control, but there is a preventive measure that a lot of cat owners do not known about.
Vitamin B1, Thiamine, is a natural flea repellent, as fleas absolutely hate the taste of thiamine.
Biotin is also a very effective supplement for preventing this condition, as a deficiency of Biotin causes both hair loss as well as several skin disorders in cats.
It is also essential in keeping your cat’s nervous system and nerve tissues healthy, especially important with this skin condition.
But perhaps Biotin biggest role is with processing of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in your cats diet.
Outside of fleas, a deficiency of Biotin as well as fatty acids is the major cause of Feline miliary dermatitis.
Essential fatty acids are required by your cat, and they can produce some fatty acids, but not all of them.
But they need all of them to remain healthy and battle skin conditions like this one.
Arachidonic acid is especially critical for cats. It is found abundantly in animal fats, so make sure your cat gets enough meat in their diet.
There are also several forms of fatty acid supplements available especially for cats, but the liquid gels caps or liquid forms are much more effective as they will perform much more efficiently in your cats system.
Feline miliary dermatitis is a very serious skin condition in your cat, but is can be prevented in most all cases by protecting your cat against fleas with traditional methods or with Thiamine.
However, making sure they get the essential fatty acids either by their diet or protecting them with supplements is also a must.