The Persian's coat is certainly one of its most exquisite characteristics -- and dare we say, often award-winning. But sometimes there can be surprises lurking beneath all that fine fur. So we invited our members to help us explore this dermatological world and share their personal experiences from the front line (no pun intended) when it comes to maintaining healthy Persian skin. We are happy to share the results of that survey along with many tips and tricks from our members.
If you thought blackheads were just for teen-aged humans, think again. Persians can develop feline acne, usually occurring on the chin area. The sebaceous glands produce a black sebaceous material that can clog hair follicles, and the result looks like "flea dirt". But in its advanced forms, there can be swelling, pustules, and secondary infections.
Around 30% of respondents said their Persians had experienced feline acne at some point.
Common parasites that plague our furry friends include fleas, ticks, or mites. We asked members to tell us about any medications they administer to their Persians for prevention or treatment of parasites. The most common brands mentioned were:
Additional steps they've taken to treat extreme cases included shaving the Persian and fogging the house.
Persians can have dry, flaky skin sometimes just like humans can. About 50% of respondents admitted that their Persians have experienced dandruff in varying degrees. Some of the tips they shared for preventing flakes included:
Salmon oil, olive oil, or other omega-rich oils as food supplements
Shampoos specially formulated for dry, itchy skin
Combing, combing, and more combing
Roughly 30% of respondents reported that their Persians suffer from some form of allergy. The symptoms they described ranged from skin rashes and bumps to scratching and sneezing.
Of that 30%, about half said their cats had food allergies, but switching foods resolved those problems. The remaining half described their cats' allergies as being the result of some airborne allergens, and they rely on air purifiers and micro-dermal soaps to help alleviate their Persians' symptoms.
According to WebMD, "Fungal diseases can be divided into two categories. The first are fungi that affect only the skin or mucous membranes, such as ringworm and thrush. In the second category, the fungus is widespread and involves the liver, lungs, brain, and other organs, in which case the disease is systemic." (With our survey, we focused on the former.)
Sometimes it can be difficult to identify which type of fungal infection a Persian has contracted. As one respondent lamented:
[My cat] had some sort of fungal infection, it started on the head, between eyes to ears, a lot of fur came away, it took more than a year to eradicate this. The vet was never really sure what it was. We treated it with washing with anti fungal shampoo and Daktarin anti fungal cream....It took ages to clear up."
The most notorious type of fungal infection within the Persian community is undoubtedly ringworm. Less than 10% of our respondents claimed to have endured a battle of Persian vs. Ringworm. As with any fungal infection, ringworm can be extremely stubborn and difficult to eradicate.
Your Persian's skin health is just as important as that beautiful coat, if not more important. So be sure to give it the attention it deserves. During your grooming sessions, make it a point to investigate the skin. Check the belly, back, base of the tail, chin, ears, paw pads, and more. You never know what you may discover!