Miliary Dermatitis in Cats

Overview of Feline Miliary Dermatitis

Miliary dermatitis is a papular, crusting skin disease accompanied by varying degrees of pruritis. Cats with miliary dermatitis have multiple, small bumps on their skin that are usually associated with hair loss (alopecia). On closer examination, these bumps are raised, red swellings topped with a crust. Most commonly the bumps and hair loss are found on the cat’s rump, neck, and chin.

Below is an overview of miliary dermatitis in cats followed by in-depth information on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Miliary dermatitis indicates an underlying skin problem; almost always, the skin problem is a pruritic (itchy) skin disease. The itching causes the cat to scratch, chew or groom excessively leading to the typical bumps with scales. Flea allergy is by far the most common cause of this skin pattern. Other allergies, bacterial skin infection, parasites and ringworm fungus are among other causes. Less commonly, a more severe disease that suppresses the immune system and allows bacteria or other infections to become established may cause this symptom.

The health impact on the cat depends on the severity of the itching or any other effects of the underlying cause.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Miliary Dermatitis in Cats

Treatment of Miliary Dermatitis in Cats

Home Care

Give all medications as prescribed. Follow-up as directed to make sure that the condition resolves completely. Work with your veterinarian to establish a complete flea control program.

In-depth Information on Feline Miliary Dermatitis

Miliary dermatitis is a pattern of skin reaction to an itchy or an infectious skin disease. Cats with this symptom have small bumps on their skin that are topped with crusts accompanied by hair loss in the affected region of skin. Most commonly the lesions are found over the rump, along the back, and around the neck and chin. This is the most common skin reaction pattern seen in cats.

Miliary dermatitis is usually caused by some sort of an itchy (pruritic) skin problem that leads to self-mutilation. On close observation, it is apparent that the cat is scratching, chewing or licking their skin excessively. Often, excessive grooming is not recognized because it is normal to see cats licking their hair coats. The actual lesion is a papule, which is a raised, red, small bump in the skin. When there are several of these lesions, it is called a papular rash. Less commonly, this symptom is seen because of a more severe disease that has suppressed the immune system, allowing infectious agents like bacteria to infect the skin.

Causes of Miliary Dermatitis in Cats

Diagnosis In-depth

Treatment In-depth

One or more of the diagnostic tests described above may be recommended by your veterinarian. In the meantime, treatment of the symptoms might be needed, especially if the problem is severe. The following nonspecific (symptomatic) treatments may be applicable to some, but not all pets with miliary dermatitis. These treatments may reduce severity of symptoms or provide relief for your pet. However, nonspecific therapy is not a substitute for definite treatment of the underlying disease responsible for your pet’s condition.