Are you wondering why your cat suddenly lost his hair? There are many causes for hair loss in cats, including allergies, ringworm, collar irritation, ear mites, and mange. Before we discuss the causes, let’s define alopecia in cats. What is normal and what isn’t? Does the hair in a cat’s coat ever regrow?
First let’s define cat hair loss
Cat hair loss can be an unpleasant problem or a normal part of winter. It is normal for your cat to shed a few hairs on its body but it can be a problem if your cat starts grooming itself excessively. Cats lick themselves almost half the time they are awake and this excessive grooming can cause your cat to lose hair and develop sores or an infection. Sometimes, excessive licking is caused by a harmless skin condition.
Is alopecia in cats ever ‘normal’?
Some cats may develop bald spots because of overgrooming. Some may have ringworm, a fungal infection that causes loss of hair. Treatment for ringworm in cats includes medicated baths, antifungal pills, and antifungal creams. Stress-induced hair loss in cats may be caused by bacterial, yeast, or fungal infections. Cats with ringworm may pick at the affected area, which can be treated with antifungal medication and topical lime sulfur baths.
Psychogenic alopecia may be caused by a mental condition or behavior. A doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate the mental stressor or stop the cat from over-grooming. However, these treatments are not without side effects. Other treatment options include behavior modification and the removal of environmental stressors. The underlying problem must be diagnosed and treated, so that the hair loss will not continue.
Treatment options for alopecia in cats depend on the underlying condition and severity of the balding. For example, allergic reactions to fleas or ringworm can cause hair loss in cats. The treatment of these conditions can include anti-fungal medications, flea control products, and environmental enrichment. Some underlying conditions may require a longer time to treat. A veterinarian can identify the foods and substances that cause your pet’s hair loss and prescribe treatments that will address this problem.
If you have noticed hair loss in your cat, you should consult a vet as soon as possible. Alopecia can be the result of a number of factors, including infection, food allergy, or other symptoms. In some cases, a cat’s hair loss is temporary and may occur in patches. If your cat is losing hair due to an allergy, consult your veterinarian for diagnosis. It may be time to consider a different treatment option.
If you notice bald patches or a generally thin coat in your cat, it’s likely due to alopecia. Depending on the specific cause, this condition can cause pain, infection, or scarring. Your vet will likely recommend a course of treatment, which might include a diet change or even a surgical procedure. However, this may not be a good option if you don’t want your cat to suffer.
What about acquired alopecia in cats?
Some causes of alopecia in cats are bacterial or fungal infections. Ringworm, for example, is a common bacterial infection that can cause a cat’s hair to fall out in circular patterns. This condition can be accompanied by inflammation, lesions, crusting, or redness, and may require proactive treatment to control. Cats can contract this condition from other animals, so prevention is vital.
A veterinarian may first diagnose the underlying cause of alopecia by excluding other common causes. Some of these causes are behavioral, but a striking historical finding can point to a behavioral cause. Certain medications may be administered, including hormones or corticosteroids, but they offer no physiologic advantage and have serious side effects. Your veterinarian can recommend a treatment plan for alopecia in cats that is appropriate for your cat.
Endocrine disorders, including hormone imbalances, can also lead to cat alopecia. Cats’ hair growth is controlled by certain hormones. When these hormones are thrown out of whack, the hair follicles become inactive or start to grow slowly. This condition may be a symptom of an underlying ailment, such as a urinary tract infection or a kidney disorder.
Psychogenic alopecia is another form of alopecia. Cats with psychogenic alopecia lick themselves to relieve stress or anxiety. Occasionally, the skin around the affected area looks normal, but the affected area may have a red or bumpy appearance. It may also be symmetric or random. Acquired alopecia in cats is a disorder caused by outside factors.
Food allergies in cats may lead to seasonal or non-seasonal alopecia. The condition is accompanied by pruritus. It is not uncommon for a cat to have broken or stubbled hairs. In severe cases, there may also be concurrent focal erythema, papules, or crusting. Regardless of the cause, treatment for acquired alopecia is a complex process.
With a cat losing hair will that hair grow back?
Many reasons can cause a cat to lose its hair, including fungal or infectious conditions. Another common reason is high levels of steroids or hormonal imbalances. Inappropriate levels of certain hormones can cause hair follicles to die. Some cats also experience hair loss from neoplasia, a rare type of cancer that attacks the skin and the hair follicles.
Luckily, most hair loss in cats is temporary and will grow back once the weather cools down. If a cat is losing hair in patches, that’s called alopecia. In some cases, the hair is falling out evenly, but in others, it has fallen out in patches. If this occurs, the cat may be suffering from a serious medical problem. The cat may have diabetes or cancer, which are both common causes of thinning hair in cats. Ultimately, it’s best to consult a vet as soon as possible.
However, if the cause is not apparent and the hair is growing back, the loss is most likely caused by a parasite, like fleas. The saliva of fleas causes a reaction in cats, usually on the back, towards the tail. Once the parasites are removed, the hair will regrow. In addition, parasite control products from a vet are the best way to get rid of parasites. Steroid treatment can relieve the itching associated with the loss.
Certain autoimmune diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus, can cause hair loss in cats. If your cat’s hair loss is caused by an autoimmune disease, it will grow back once the underlying cause has been treated. However, some cases can be hereditary and will last only a few weeks. However, it is possible that hair will grow back in patches after they have fallen out.