PetAge_Cover_NOV14
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Healthy Coat, Healthy Skin

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It’s not often that pet owners have to deal with skin care problems in cats, but when they do, common conditions include hair loss, chin acne, dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and itchy skin.

“Cats are very sensitive and feline skin conditions often present a diagnostic challenge,” Dr. Lori Coughlin, DVM, at The Cat Practice in Oak Park, Ill., said. “Cats lack a specific liver enzyme, known as glucuronyl transferases, that is required in order to expel toxins from their body. This makes cats very susceptible to external skin treatments, so care must be taken in selecting one, natural or synthetic, that will work.”

Skin conditions vary widely amongst felines and can often be resolved by a simple environmental change. For example, feline chin acne is a common problem in cats, but can be secondary to yeast, fungus,
such as ringworm, and bacterial infections.

“Oftentimes, a simple change from plastic bowls to ceramic, or steel feeding and water bowls can solve the problem,” she said. “But there may be underlying problems, such as stress, yeast, ringworm,  bacterial infections or a hormonal imbalance.”

Prevention

A premium diet is the most important part of preventing skin problems in cats.

“Holistic diets that are low in starch and carbohydrates, and high in protein, are critical for maintaining healthy skin,” Mike Stansbury, chief operating officer at NZymes, said. “Our NZymes Healthy Skin program contains probiotics that rebuild bacteria. Yeast causes breakdown in natural protective flora, and NZymes helps restore balance. Our natural approach takes some time, but after 2-3 months, a healthy, shiny coat is restored. Our goal is to ensure the cat’s immune system is strong enough so that the animal can heal themselves.”

Effective flea and tick control is also important when it comes to preventing skin irritation. Since cats are so sensitive to flea control, all-natural solutions such as Flea Dust from DERMagic are excellent  choices. But if you’re in a high-risk area, you may need something a little stronger. Bayer HealthCare recently introduced Seresto, an effective, easy-to-use collar, complete with a safety-release mechanism, that offers ongoing control up to 8 months.

Treatments

All-natural solutions must be selected with care. DERMagic recently introduced a new line of skin care products designed specifically for cats.

“Our Rosemary Feline Shampoo Bar is specially formulated with all-natural, sulfate-free ingredients designed to provide a gentle but effective grooming experience,” Dr. Adelia Ritchie, founder of DERMagic, said. “The shampoo bar makes grooming easier, allowing you to hold the cat with one hand while creating a thick, rich lather with the other.”

Dr. Emmo’s Pet First Aid offers an all-natural, non-toxic wound care spray wash and gel that keeps minor cuts and skin irritations clean by safely killing common germs and infection-causing bacteria. The two-step process includes a spray wash and spray gel that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria-causing germs.

Grooming

Regular grooming is important as well. According to FURMinator, “up to two thirds  of the hair a cat sheds is ingested during self grooming, resulting in hairballs that are messy, stressful to the cat and the cause of potentially serious problems.”

“Treating your cat to frequent brushing with gentle deshedding tools will help prevent matting, decrease the amount of fur around the house, support a shiny and healthy coat, and reduce the challenges of hairballs,” Justin Crout, group marketing manager for Jarden Animal Solutions/Jarden Consumer Solutions, said. “The cat cologne spray extends the fresh scent of a clean cat and helps hide odor.”

Oster Animal Care and ShedMonster Professional De-Shedding Tools are available from Jarden Animal Solutions. Oster has shared a passion and enthusiasm for pet grooming for more than 85 years and offers an extensive line of products for grooming, including cat cologne spray to give your cat that final fresh scent.

Enrichment sprays can also help keep a cat’s coat in top condition.

“Our sprays offer relief from skin irritation while increasing moisture, reducing shedding and acting as an antiinflammatory for itchiness,” Dr. Michael Fleck, founder of Epi-Pet, said. All-natural cat wipes are another great way to keep cats clean, moisturize skin and coat, and reduce dander and dirt.

“Our Earthbath Cat Wipes are safe for daily use and utilize the healing properties of aloe vera and awapuhi extract to keep cats clean,” Yvonne Roth, director of marketing for Earthbath, said. For quick cleanups, Earthbath also offers a waterless, hypoallergenic grooming foam designed specifically for cats. This waterless hypo-allergenic grooming foam for cats allows you to groom your cat without the hassle of water.

“Our all-natural, human-grade formulas are ultra mild but highly effective,” she said. “Our ear and nose wipes are particularly useful for easy cleaning, and our shampoo foam is designed for cats that prefer to avoid water.”

Derma-IonX from VETiONX, is one such product that treats these conditions. Derma-IonX is a homeopathic, natural OTC medication in a purified ionized mineral water base that includes active homeopathic ingredients, including Agicus muscarius, Alumina and more.

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