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Alopecia (hair loss) is one of the most common problems faced by
cats. The hair loss can be complete or partial, and the patterns
symmetrical or varied. Depending on the cause of the hair loss,
there are a few treatment options, although limited.
Symptoms of alopecia
The most common signs of alopecia include total or partial hair
loss. The skin surrounding the area with hair loss can look
normal or might have bumps, redness, scabs or skin loss. Alopecia
might present itself symmetrically or can appear randomly across
the skin of your cat.
You will need to consult with the vet to find out the exact
reason behind your cat's hair loss. It could be due to:
Allergies – They are the number one cause of
hair loss. Just like people, cats can be allergic to insect
bites, food, dust, medicines or pollen. To make herself
comfortable, your cat will lick the fur till there are bald
patches. It is quite simple to treat, but you might have to
give her medication for the rest of her life.
Parasites – Mites, fleas, ticks and lice can
make your cat lick and scratch too causing sores and bald
spots. Treatment is easy and quick. Use a topical cream designed to get
rid of fleas and ticks or go for the oral alternative. Your vet will
be able to recommend the best treatment course.
Ringworm infection – This is not a worm, but a
fungal infection. The scaly ring of missing hair is the most
common sign. Your vet will be able to diagnose it for sure and
prescribe the appropriate antifungals.
Anxiety and stress – If your cat is stressed
and obsessively scratches and licks, she can end up losing a
lot of hair. This is referred to as psychogenic alopecia. Cats
that suffer from this condition tend to pick at their sides,
belly and legs. It is very common on purebred female cats who
suffer from a nervous personality. Treat the wounds and consult
with the vet to fin out if she needs a change in the
environment or antidepressants.
Rare causes – Some pure breeds like the
Bengals and the Himalayas tend to have genes that cause hair
loss. Other breeds, like the Sphynx are bred to be completely
hairless. Although unlikely, hair loss can also indicate a
problem with the immune system, an overactive thyroid, diabetes
or cancer. Your vet will do a blood serum chemistry panel to
determine if there are thyroid or hormonal imbalances that have
caused the hair loss. Sometimes, imaging tools like ultrasounds
and X-rays are used to rule out cancer and adrenal gland
abnormalities. You need to tell the vet about your cat's
behavior, diet and home to help him pinpoint the exact cause.
How Serious Is Cat Hair Fall?
It is always a reason for concern when your favorite feline
cuddly buddy a less cuddly than usual. If she’s just shedding her
winter coat, then there’s no cause for concern. But if she’s
losing a significant amount of hair, you might want to make that
trip down to the vet to make sure it’s not because of anything
serious.Hair loss in cats can be a headache for owners. Alopecia
can be either partial or complete. The patterns of hair loss can
also either be varied or symmetrical. It is one unpredictable
disease. Although there are treatment options available, they are
really rare and limited. It might not just be the effects of
Alopecia that are making your cat lose hair thou. Here are a few
other reasons why she might be shedding hair:
Allergies Allergies are the
most prominent cause of hair loss. There are a number of things
that your cat might be allergic to including food, medicines,
insect bites, pollen, or even dust. These things may cause her
to itch excessively itch. She might then turn to licking the
problematic areas in order to ease the itch. This can sometimes
cause bald spots that we then mistaken for hair loss. It’s a
fairly simple condition to treat.
mites, ticks, and fleas are also factors that can make her itch
and scratch at her skin. Excessive scratching or licking causes
bald spots and even sores at times. Medicines to treat bites
are easy to come by. Ask your vet which medicine is the best
one for this scenario.
Stress Stress is another factor that can cause her
to itch, lick, and scratch at her skin causing hair loss.
Psychogenic alopecia is another word for this condition. Cats
who’re suffering from this condition tend to target their
sides, belly areas, and legs to scratch. Alopecia is most
common in purebreds with complicated, nervous personalities. A
change in environment might be a good idea when your cat is
stressed. Ask your vet about whether she needs antidepressants
to calm her down.
Infection Ringworm infection is a fungal infection
and not a worm. Missing hair as well as scaly rings, are good
signs that your cat might have this infection. You should take
her to the vet immediately. If you follow the treatment plan
that your vet gives you step by step, then treatment should be
easy and quick. Your vet will give you all the necessary
details and prescribe an antifungal ointment or cream. Make
sure you follow directions religiously as ringworm is an
infection that is contagious.
causes a lot of pain in cats. Cats who have this tend to lick
themselves in the painful areas. This can lead to bald spots
and hair loss.
Although these are the most common causes of feline hair loss, it
can also indicate to other bigger problems like diabetes and
cancer. So it is of utmost importance that you take her to the
vet to make sure.