Exfoliative diseases in cats are clinically characterized by dry or greasy scaling and, less commonly, by follicular casts. In normal skin, there is a continuous turnover of cells, with new keratinocytes being produced in the basal layer and migrating upward to become non-nucleated corneocytes in the stratum corneum. Corneocytes are shed in the environment and are not visible to the naked eye. When this process is abnormal, scales become macroscopically visible. The most common cause of scaling in cats is poor grooming, usually associated with older age, obesity or concurrent systemic diseases. Greasy scaling is often associated with Malassezia overgrowth, while follicular casts are rare in the feline species. The diagnostic approach involves ruling out ectoparasitic diseases and dermatophytosis, evaluating the presence or absence of Malassezia spp. by cytology, and assessing the cat’s general health status, especially in older patients. Histopathology is usually required to make the diagnosis of the majority of exfoliative dermatoses.
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