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Holistic Treatment of Feline Contact Dermatitis

Allergic & irrigant contact dermatitis in cats

Why does my cat have a skin rash?

Has your cat ever had a skin rash or red areas that seemed inflamed?  What about watery, runny eyes?  Our cat Snowbear’s eyes were sometimes runny, but he never had skin irritations.  From time to time we would notice our cat Lili had some redness on the skin above her eyes.  It seemed to come and go, and we didn’t notice any scratches or scabs.  Until this week.  Out of nowhere she suddenly had a sore above her right eye surrounded by pink, inflamed skin.  Her eyes seem exceptionally runny, too.  Down here in Houston, TX, there can be such a combination of pollens, grasses, air pollution, etc, that it’s easy to attribute these symptoms to.  However, it’s rare that Lili goes outside.  Furthermore, we have a very powerful HEPA filtration system in our home, so it was more likely the cause was coming from something indoors.  By muscle testing we determined she had contact dermatitis.  The question was, from what?

What exactly is feline contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is due to hypersensitivity to something that has come in contact with your kitty’s skin causing redness, inflammation, scabs, and even ulcers or hot spots.  According to Doctors Foster and Smith it’s either allergic or irritant: 

Allergic contact dermatitis is a rare disease which occurs when an animal’s skin overreacts to certain small molecules in the environment. Substances which can cause allergic contact dermatitis include certain antibiotics applied to the skin; metals such as nickel; materials such as rubber or wool; and chemicals such as dyes and carpet deodorizers.  It requires multiple exposures to the molecule before it develops, and it rarely occurs in animals less than two years old.

Contact dermatitis in caseIrritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is exposed to severely irritating chemicals, such as the sap in poison ivy and salt on the road.  It often occurs in inquisitive young animals who get into things they should not.

Lesions generally occur on the areas of skin that are sparsely haired and directly exposed to the offending molecules. This often means the back of the paws, abdomen, face, and lips. The affected areas are very red, have small bumps or vesicles (blister-like lesions), and itch. In irritant contact dermatitis ulcers may appear.

On the hunt for the cause

Lili’s symptoms matched exactly to this description and location of the lesions, and muscle testing revealed it was irritant-based, not allergic.  Rather than only trying to come up with a natural treatment I needed to determine the cause.  It had to be coming from her environment so I thought about the area where she spends most of her time–in the office with dad.  Was it caused by the laundry detergent used to wash her bedding?  No.  Perhaps something in the air?  Yes!   Then I remembered that my husband loves to use air fresheners in the bathroom, despite my protests.  Just recently I asked him to start using the bathroom next to the office instead of the master bath because I didn’t want to breathe in the chemicals.  I hunted down the Febreeze air-freshener and muscle-tested it with Lili:  Bingo!  This was it!  My husband tested it too and confirmed my findings.  He felt terrible knowing he had been unknowingly contributing to her condition.

Homeopathy to the rescue!Homepathy can treat contact dermatitis

I pulled out my veterinary homeopathy guide and found several possible remedies for Lili’s case.  The one that resonated with her was Mercuris solubilis 30c.  It matched her symptoms as well as her emotional state of distrusting of others.  In her case that would be Rocket, Gunner, and Aylen because they try to chase her.  After diluting three pellets in purified water I gave her 1/2 ml.  I have to repeat this 5x/day for 6 days.  I can already tell a difference!  The redness is starting to diminish, and the scab is starting to heal.  Her eyes aren’t watering as much either.  She has spent most of her day downstairs away from the office, and my husband is thankfully no longer using the air freshener. 

Environmental irritants can cause contact dermatitis in cats

Lili has her own chair in daddy’s office

Next time you are tempted to use air fresheners, scented plug-ins, non eco-friendly cleaning products, or even candles, think twice.  The toxic particles released into the air are being absorbed into the skin and lungs.   They can do a lot more damage than you realize, and you probably won’t even realize it until you or your cat become symptomatic.  Ditch the toxic products and go with natural, eco-friendly ones instead. 

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