Rippling skin disease, known as FHS (Feline Hyperesthesia) in the medical field, is a skin condition that affects felines, causing them to exhibit odd behavior with unrelated symptoms. This behavior may leave a cat owner feeling confused and frustrated. There is nothing quite as unnerving as watching your feline friend acting erratically and meowing in distress. This painful condition consists of a variety of symptoms and thus has been attributed to a variety of causes.
Signs of FHS
Typically cats suffering with FHS exhibit signs such as ripples forming in the skin located along the cat's back. Cats usually bite and scratch their tails incessantly resulting in hair loss, painful irritation, and the development of sores. The loud, persistent meowing that often occurs during the evening hours is a sign of distress. Cats sometimes show a dilation of the pupils and may stare blankly into space. Racing around in circles or an incessant darting back and forth may also indicate that your cat may be suffering from FHS. With this being a very unpleasant skin disorder your cat may be extremely sensitive and experience discomfort when being touched, handled, or pet. Excessive twitching of the tail also occurs in cats suffering from FHS.
FHS goes by many names including rippling skin disease, rolling skin disease, self-mutilation syndrome, twitching cat disease, feline epilepsy, and neurodermitis.
Possible Causes of FHS
It turns out that FHS can be a result of several types of physical problems as well as possible psychological disorders. Physical causes include pansteatitis, brain infections/tumors/trauma, various natural or household toxins/poisons, or even brought on by allergic reactions. Psychological disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) have been linked to the onset of FHS as well due to the stress element involved.
Pansteatitis, also known as Steatitis and Yellow Fat disease, is caused by a lack of vitamin E in a cat's diet. Lack of vitamin E coupled with the introduction of large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids can result in an improperly balanced diet. Tuna is known to be a major culprit in this condition when fed in excess. This disease promotes painful consequences in felines.
Brain infections/tumors/trauma can cause debilitating seizures in cats and bring on the effects of FHS in response. Cats experiencing seizures should be checked by a veterinarian immediately for signs of brain infections, tumors, or trauma.
Various types of household and natural toxins or poisons in your cat's environment can bring on the symptoms of FHS. Flea dips and flea colors often times contain highly toxic ingredients that may severely affect the health of your cat. Make sure all household products that are potentially toxic to your cat are stored in a safe, cat-proof area. Do a little research before purchasing a product that may contain elements toxic to your cat.
Allergies due to allergic reactions to flea bites, food allergies, and other potentially aggravating factors could also induce the symptoms of FHS.
Psychological disorders are also a possible factor in the production of FHS in your cat. Obsessive-Compulsive disorder has been linked to the aggravation of FHS symptoms. Check with your veterinarian regarding treatment options for this condition.
The treatment for FHS will be dependent upon the cause. Careful testing and elimination of the aforementioned causes will help you to alleviate your cat's pain and discomfort. Removal of stressors is a must when dealing with the symptoms of FHS. Sometimes an increase in exercise, a change to a properly balanced diet, and more attentive care is all a cat suffering from FHS needs to eliminate the problem or at least alleviate the unpleasant symptoms. In the case of seizures your veterinarian may prescribe anti-convulsant medication. Anti-allergy medication and elimination of allergens may help in cases where your cat's allergies are the suspected cause of FHS. Removing access to potential toxins, poisons, and treatment for possible infections should also help in ridding your cat of this problematic disease.
Always consult with your veterinarian regarding proper diagnosis, treatment, and preventative measures available in dealing with this odd and distressing disease.