Is your Cat Losing a Lot of Hair?

BY | July 05 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

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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.

Common causes

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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 sheโ€™s just shedding her winter coat, then thereโ€™s no cause for concern. But if sheโ€™s losing a significant amount of hair, you might want to make that trip down to the vet to make sure itโ€™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:

  1. 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. Itโ€™s a fairly simple condition to treat.
  1. Parasites Lice, 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.
  1. Anxiety and 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 whoโ€™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.
  1. Ringworm 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.
  1. Pain Arthritis 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.

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