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Cat Health Hair Loss

"Cat health hair loss can be caused by your cat reacting to a problem on the skin such as itch or it could be due to a disease such as thyroid problems. Once it is determined which of the aforementioned issues are causing the problem, a series of tests will be done and treatments tried until the condition is corrected."

Cat health hair loss is different than the normal shedding your cat does. Cats do shed some fur, especially longhaired cats. Cats tend to shed the most fur in the spring, as the weather gets warmer. You’re probably familiar with the amount of fur your cat normally sheds.

But if your cat sheds more hair than usual, or if your cat develops areas of thin hair or bald spots, this is a sign of a medical problem. It could be caused by many things, including allergies, bacterial infections, fungal infections like ringworm, mites, a cat grooming herself excessively due to stress, or a thyroid disorder.

Specific medical causes are known as:

Veterinarians most likely will call your cat's hair loss Non inflammatory alopecia which is a term which means hair loss. The first thing your veterinarian will determine if your cat is licking the hair out or whether the hair is falling out. Most cases are caused by itching (pruritus)
or your cat pulling it out due to some type of underlying problem.

Cat Health Hair Loss Caused by Your Cat - Diagnosis

If you and your veterinarian believe that this is the cause of the hair loss then the next step is to determine if your cat is suffering from a skin condition such as itch (pruritic) or some mental condition that is causing the physical problem (psychogenic).

According to Dr Mandy Burrows the following steps should be taken:

Step 1: Your veterinarian will scrape the skin to see if parasites are causing the problem (see list above). A lamp called a "wood's lamp" will be used to see if any fleas or mites can be spotted. Your veterinarian may treat for fleas to see if that has a positive impact, even it fleas have not been diagnosed.

Step 2: Your veterinarian will do a second check of the skin for parasites. If negative then a problem with diet will be explored.

Step 3:Your veterinarian will recommend a diet where most food groups are eliminated. If the problem with your cat health hair loss starts to go away then foods will be added in to see which one causes the problem to get worse. The sequence explored is usually fish, beef, dairy, pork, chicken, lamb/mutton, eggs and wheat. In general, cats are usually allergic to only one type of protein based food.

If food turns out not to be the problem then your cat will be evaluated for a condition called feline atopy. Treatment could include allergy shots to desensitize your cat to the problem (allergen specific immunotherapy), and the use of medications such as cyclosporin, glucocorticoids, antihistamines. and fatty acids.

If this is not the cause then your cat's environment and even that the cause cannot be diagnosed are possibilities.

Cat Health Hair Loss - Not Caused by Cat Grooming

Your veterinarian will follow these steps if it is determined that your cat is not itching the hair causing the loss:

Step 1: If you cat is taking certain drugs (glucocorticoids or megoestrol
acetate) this could be the cause. Other medications include chemotherapy agents.

Underlying diseases can also be the cause such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and diabetes mellitus.

Other conditions include if your cat is suffering from fever (pyrexia), is pregnant, is feeding kittens (lactation) or has just had surgery. pregnancy and lactation or major surgery.

Hair loss is also a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome. Symptoms which can occur in addition to the hair loss include:

Hyperthyroidism would also cause hair loss. This would be accompanied by:


Feline Diabetes Mellitus will cause hair loss and be accompanied by the symptoms:

Other causes of cat health hair loss include a change in your cat's condition, stomach problems (gastrointestinal) which are associated with abnormal cell growth (tumor) in the pancreas or liver (biliary neoplasia).

Step 2: If all of the above is not the cause then a skin sample will be taken for testing in the laboratory. Your veterinarian will determine if the cause is a problem such as Cushing's Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) or due to cancer in the body (paraneoplastic alopecia).

Tests such as an ultrasound can look at the various glands (adrenal and pancreas) to see if any organ is enlarged.

Step 3: The endocrine system will be tested which is the way your cat's body sends hormones or signals for how to operate throughout the body such as an examination of the adrenal system. Your veterinarian will test for hyperthyroidism.

If a thyroid problem is suspected then your veterinarian may recommend the medication liothyronine and injections with testosterone and
diethylstilboestrol or progestagen.

Sources:

Causes of Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Cats
Holly Nash

 

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