Fecal Mats On Dogs And Cats

Dogs and cats with long, furry coats are prone to a condition called ‘fecal mats’.  The term is a polite way of stating that feces are stuck in the hair over the anus.  With time, the feces cause a terrible infection that actually destroys the skin and underlying tissues.  A few years ago, I removed a fecal mat on a dog and found maggots.  Yikes, I hate maggots!  

The following pictures are of a long haired cat with a fecal mat. If you have a squeamish stomach, I recommend skipping the pictures.  Please remember to perform regular hygienic shaves on all hairy animals to prevent fecal mats.  I commonly see this condition in Old English sheepdogs, Collies, Shetland sheepdogs, Shih- tzus, Poodles and Lhasa apsos, Bichon frises, and Samoyeds.  In cats, Persians, Himalayans and their mixes are most commonly affected.  If you live with a hairy animal, check their rear ends daily and keep them groomed to prevent fecal mats.

Photo 1)  This is what the cat’s rear end looked like before treatment.  Please note that you cannot see the anus because it is covered by the fecal mat.  Although the picture is gross, trust me, the smell was even worse. 


Photo 2)  After treating the cat with fluids, antibiotics and medication to block pain, he allowed us to shave off the fecal mat.  Note the inflamed skin surrounding the anus.

Photo 3)  Here is the cat all nice and clean.  The picture isn’t great because the cat was tired of having his rear end treated.  After a rest break, he was a good boy for a bath and brush.  He went home purring and smelling great.  I wish I could say the same for our bath tub. 

Photo 4)  For the really brave people, the next picture is of the mat.  This is the underside of what you saw in photo 1.  


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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