Feline dermatology at Cornell University: 1407 cases (1988-2003)by D. W. Scott, W. H. Miller, H. N. Erb

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery


Small Animals



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DOI: 10.1177/1098612X12468922 2013 15: 307 originally published online 27 November 2012Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery

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Only a few peer-reviewed publications address the prevalence and types of feline dermatologic conditions seen in private or specialty veterinary practice. In a study commissioned by the British Small Animal Veterinary

Association (BSAVA) Scientific Committee in 1972–1973, data were collected from 61 veterinarians representing all regions of the BSAVA throughout England, Scotland and Wales.1 Disorders of the skin and ears accounted for 12.5% of the feline caseload. In the USA, the National

Companion Animal Study collected data in 1995 on all diseases diagnosed in 52 private practices in 31 states.2

The most common dermatologic diagnoses in cats were flea infestation (9.2% of all diagnoses), Otodectes species infestation (7.4%), abscess (6.5%), ‘miliary dermatitis’ (2.3%), ‘otitis externa’ (2.3%) and ‘dermatitis’ (1.7%). (The latter three conditions are, of course, cutaneous reaction patterns rather than ‘diagnoses’.) A survey of dermatologic conditions seen in 154 cats in 20 private practices in the UK was conducted in 1998–2001.3 Cats with disorders of the skin and ears accounted for 13% of all cats examined.

Scott and Paradis summarized data on 111 cats with dermatologic disorders seen over a 1-year period (1987– 1988) in a university hospital in Canada.4 Cats with skin and ear conditions accounted for 15.2% of all cats examined during the study period.

The purpose of this article is to report the results of a retrospective study of 1407 cats examined over a 15-year period by the dermatology service at a university hospital in northeast USA.

Feline dermatology at Cornell

University: 1407 cases (1988–2003)

Danny W Scott1, William H Miller1 and Hollis N Erb2


Medical records of 1407 cats with dermatologic diagnoses made at Cornell University teaching hospital from 1988 to 2003 were tabulated. We expressed the diagnoses as counts, percentages of the cats with dermatologic disease (1407) and percentages of all cats seen at the university hospital (22,135) during the same period. A total of 1887 diagnoses were made in the 1407 cats. We compared the age, sex and breed group of our cases with all those 22,135 cats in (‘1-by-c’) χ2 tests in which the hospital population was considered a standard (rather than a ‘sample’). The 10 most common dermatoses, their counts, and the proportions of dermatologic diagnoses and of the total cat population that the cats with these dermatoses represented were: allergy (298; 15.8%; 1.35%), atopic dermatitis (194; 10.3%; 0.88%), bacterial folliculitis/furunculosis (189; 10.0%; 0.85%), otodectic mange (115; 6.1%; 0.52%), flea infestation (99; 5.2%; 0.45%), feline acne (74; 3.9%; 0.33%), flea-bite allergy (70; 3.7%; 0.32%), cutaneous adverse drug reaction (56; 3.0%; 0.25%), idiopathic eosinophilic-granuloma complex (55; 2.9%; 0.25%) and abscess (51; 2.7%; 0.23%). Allergies of all types, combined, accounted for 32.7% of all the feline dermatoses.

Relative to the standard of the total hospital population, cats <2 years old and females (both intact and spayed) were significantly under-represented (all P ≤0.001) in the dermatologic case series. In contrast, Himalayans (compared with domestic short- or longhair, Persian, Siamese and other breeds) and males (both intact and neutered) were significantly over-represented (all P ≤0.001).

Accepted: 29 October 2012 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine,

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY USA 2Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences,

College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY,


Corresponding author:

Danny W Scott DVM, Dipl ACVD, Dipl ACVP(Hon), Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell