A complex and fragile ecosystem...
The skin barrier is essential to protect the body from bacteria, yeasts, allergen and other irritants. It also retains moisture and plays a role in maintaining body temperature through sweating (although cats can only sweat through the skin on their paws).
The normal skin barrier relies on 3 components
- the mechanical skin barrier,
- the immunological skin barrier
- and the microbiological skin barrier.
This balance between them is fragile and if disturbed can go wrong leading to skin issues.
… with essential functions
Whatever the colour or the thickness of their fur, all cats can develop a skin problem.
Dry skin, oily or flaky skin (dandruff), allergies, infections, or loss of fur can be symptoms of a defective skin barrier. It’s important to contact your vet if you suspect a skin problem because cats are experts at covering things up when they are poorly. Only your vet can prescribe a treatment.