Paronychia is an inflammatory/infectious skin disease of the nailbeds, and commonly seen in Devon rex, Cornish rex and Selkirk rex breeds.

There may be a genetic predisposition between the Rex breeds and paronychia, seborrhea and malasezzia-induced otitis externa.

Although paronychia appears to be a breed related disease, there is an underlying infection attributable to Malasezzia pachydermatitis and gram negative bacteria.

Various bacteria have been isolated from within lesions, including Staphylococcus spp.Streptococcus sppPseudomonas spp and Proteus spp[1]. Multiple bacterial paronychia should lead to suspicion of an underlying dermatosis or systemic illness (e.g. retrovirus infections, systemic lupus erythematosus)[2]. In many cases, there is marked cystic dilation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands with follicular hypoplasia, infundibular hyperkeratosis and variable associated inflammation[3].

Autoimmune diseases, especially pemphigus foliaceous can cause multiple nail bed lesions with creamy exudate. Lesions on other parts of the body, especially abdomen, inguinal region and axillae. Sarcoptes spp infections have also reportedly caused secondary paronychia in cats[4].

Responses are usually good to weekly bathing with Malaseb or other proprietary shampoos which are antibacterial and antifungal.

The use of antifungal oral medication is warranted in cases that are non-responsive to topical shampoos.



  1. ↑ Guaguere, E & Prelaud, P (2005) A practical guide to feline dermatology. Merial, France
  2. ↑ Guaguere, E, Hubert, B & Delabre, C Vet Dermatol 3:1-12
  3. ↑ Neuber AE et al (2006) Generalized alopecic and cystic dermatosis in a cat: a counterpart to the hairless mouse phenotype or a unique congenital dermatosis? Vet Dermatol 17(1):63-69
  4. ↑ Hawkins JA et al (1987) Sarcoptes scabiei infestation in a cat. J Am Vet Med Assoc 190(12):1572-1573

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *