Cats take care of their fur by keeping it clean and shiny, which is a sign of their good health. However, excessive hair loss or alopecia in cats is a sign that the animal is suffering from a pathology.
The causes of feline alopecia are very varied. The veterinarian is the one who must examine the animal and determine which disease is suffering and give it the appropriate treatment.
Next, we will see the most frequent causes:
Causes of alopecia in cats
Cats lose hair naturally. But, when this loss is excessive and leaves areas of skin visible and colored, inflamed or spun, it means that there is an underlying problem.
Fleas and mites
Cats are allergic to flea and mite bites, so they scratch the area and pull the hairs to lead to alopecia, especially in areas such as the back and tail. The bite can even cause a skin infection that will look reddish and scaly.
Mites get under the cat’s skin, which causes scabies. The itching is so intense that the cat scratches and licks the skin for relief, which generates patches without any hair. In severe cases, it can spread throughout the body.
Ringworm is a fungus that occurs on the face, ears, head and sometimes on the paws of cats. In addition to alopecia, the skin may look scaly, dry or crusted; It also produces intense itching. This pathology is contagious, both for other pets and for the human being.
They can be caused by food, such as some specific proteins (fish, chicken or beef); In this case, the skin will be reddened with lumps.
Allergy to certain chemicals, plastics, rubber, and wool, also cause dermatitis and alopecia in cats. Thallium and iodine are highly toxic to cats and cause immediate hair loss.
The endocrine system regulates hair growth in cats, so any hormonal problem causes alopecia. This is the case of the decrease in sex hormones after castration or excess of them in dominant males.
When the cause of alopecia is a hormonal imbalance, hair loss manifests itself throughout the animal’s body evenly. This assumption is simple to identify for the owner of the pussycat.
It is a pathology of the adrenal glands, which produce excess steroid hormones. It is characterized by causing alopecia in cats symmetrically throughout the body.
Cats are very sensitive animals and prone to stress from drastic changes and other psychological factors. Similarly, confinement and boredom can cause the cat to groom itself excessively, which causes hair loss.
It is possible that the cat suffers from hiccups and hyperthyroidism. This disorder of the thyroid glands not only causes excessive hair loss, but also spots, peeling and pain in the skin accompanied by fever.
Alopecia is accompanied by skin ulcers, which can be infected producing purulent secretions. This is one of the most serious causes of hair loss in the cat, as they indicate the presence of carcinoma.
Diagnosis and treatment of alopecia in cats
Alopecia in cats is well identifiable by their owners, who will find tufts of feline hair everywhere. In addition, it will be noted that the cat has areas of bare skin and will be upset, licking and nibbling the affected skin.
The veterinarian will do a thorough examination of the cat to determine the specific cause of his alopecia. If necessary, it will take samples of hair, skin, blood, and urine, which will help with the diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on the cause of alopecia. Some of them are simple to treat like fleas or ringworm; Other causes can lead to serious health problems that put the cat’s life at risk. For this reason, before the first signs, it is important to go to the consultation with a professional and avoid home treatments.
Remember that some preventive measures can be of great help to take care of the cat’s health at home. It is vital to keep the environment free of fleas, ticks and mites, even more so when you have several pets.
- Other good habits include offering the pussy a proper diet at its age, to achieve a healthy coat. If possible, avoid situations that may stress the animal.