There are two forms of seborrhea: oily (oleosa) and dry (sicca). A combination of both is frequent. A change in the amount and quality of the oily skin secretions (sebum) caused seborrhea. An imbalance between new and dying skin cells causes the flakes on your cat's coat and this aspect of skin peeling.
Dandruffs can be observed in cats with no dermatological disease, usually those that have not groomed properly due to different possible reasons:
- wearing an E-collar for a long time,
- obesity ; some cats are too fat to reach every body site and groom properly,
- too long coat to be able to keep it clean,
- general sickness with depression, or endocrine disorders,
- spine pain which prevents them to turn around properly.
Many dermatologic causes can also be possible: fungi such as ringworm or Malassezia dermatitis, parasitic skin disease (cheyletiellosis, demodecosis), lymphoma of the skin...
Oily skin exudes a waxy, greasy substance and you may see comedones. Often, cats smell bad. With dry seborrhea, dandruff are more frequent and a lack of sebum irritates the skin. Skin hyperpigmentation and hair loss are also common.
The damage of the natural protective skin barrier can be a favourable place for bacterial or yeast infections. Itch may appear too. The ears or the tail ('stud tail') are sometimes affected or only a part of the body.
Stud tail is an overactive sebaceous gland on the upper part of the tail. This gland produce sebum but also pheromones included in territorial marking and sexual communication.