One of the most common skin diseases of Devon Rex cats is greasy seborrheic dermatitis involving the axillae, groin, ventrum, neck, interdigital spaces, and nail beds. Cutaneous cytologic evaluation nearly always reveals high numbers of Malassezia species. In this open clinical trial, 6 Devon Rex cats with greasy skin and Malassezia were treated with oral itraconazole (5 mg/kg PO Q 24 H) using a 7-days-on/7-days-off/7-days-on pulse therapy protocol. Before treatment, large numbers of yeast were found on all test sites. After the 21-day treatment cycle, the numbers of yeast were significantly reduced in all areas except for the interdigital skin and claw fold. Clinically, the skin was less inflamed. The drug was well tolerated.

COMMENTARY: Although this is a pilot study, many dermatologists and feline practitioners have been treating affected Devon Rex cats as described. In my experience, these cats have overgrowth of not only Malassezia but also of Staphylococcus species and benefit greatly from combined therapy. Pulse therapy with itraconazole was beneficial except for the interdigital skin and the claw fold; however, concurrent topical therapy with a combination antimicrobial shampoo often resolves this, and most cats are very tolerant. Owners need to understand that this is a lifelong problem that will wax and wane. Routine bathing can be beneficial in minimizing the number of episodes per year requiring systemic therapy.

Treatment of Malassezia

pachydermatitis associated seborrhoeic dermatitis in Devon Rex cats with itraconazole-A pilot study. Ahman S, Perrins N, Bond R. VET DERMATOL

18:171-174, 2007.