A cat losing hair should alarm the pet’s guardian, since this may not be a common seasonal molt, but a symptom of a disease. If a cat is shedding hair while inflammation appears on the bold patches of skin, it is absolutely imperious to show the animal to the veterinary.
Natural causes of hair loss in a cat:
- Seasonal Molting. This condition is not accompanied by any deterioration in health, like, dry nose, dermal irritation, and decreased activity. The only symptom of a seasonal molt is homogeneous hair loss, without bald patches.
- Abstemious Diet. The lack of nutrients in the diet of a pet can trigger thinning of coat along the spine area (back, withers, tail). In other parts of the body, the fur merely becomes dull. Itching and irritation in bald areas are also possible. It can be also triggered by excessive consumption of fat, sausage, milk, salty and spicy products by the pet.
- Psychogenic hair loss. An animal in a state of stress can start shedding hair on its abdomen, paws, and withers.
- Facial Alopecia (cat losing clumps of hair on its muzzle). A cat may develop bald patches between the ears and eyes, which is not pathology.
- Reaction to the subcutaneous administration of drugs (injection, vaccination). At the puncture site, the skin looks coarse, the hairs fall out, and inflammation may develop in the bald areas.
- Senior age. Upon the attainment of the age of 10, the coat becomes thinner due to the weakening of immune system.
- Pregnancy. Hormonal fluxes during this period lead to the possibility of hair loss in the abdomen area of a cat.
- Administration of hormones. If the cat is administered hormonal medications, in addition to focal baldness, it may experience a quick gain or loss of weight and frequent urination.
Cat losing hair, especially in patches, may be due to various diseases.
- Tick, flea or lice infestation. When a cat has ticks, the parasite infiltrates the coat around its ears, muzzle and paws. Inflamed wounds are formed, and the animal is actively scratching those. If the cat has lice, the coat thins, the skin is covered with itchy crusts. With demodicosis (subcutaneous tick) baldness can spread to the whole body, if the immune system is weakened, or only infect certain areas.
- Erythema multiforme. Immunodeficiency disease, manifested by pink spots and skin blisters.
- Hypotrichosis. Pathology of genetic nature, incurable.
- Fungal Skin Diseases (lichen, mycosis). In this case the cat is losing small tufts of hair, merging with time into larger ones. The skin becomes furfuraceous and itchy.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis. It can be congenital or caused by parasitic activity and other diseases. First, oozing foci of inflammation with a putrid odor appear on the body of a cat. In time, the skin becomes furfuraceous. The disease can affect any area of the body. Eventually, itchy bald patches are formed.
- Allergic Reactions. Food allergies in cats trigger rashes on the skin and even appearance of itchy wounds. The coat in the affected areas may also thin, forming a bald patch. Allergic reactions can develop due to a precedential contact with chemicals, pollen, insects.
- Symmetric alopecia affects the groin, abdominal, axillary areas and sometimes appears on the back of thighs of a pet.
- Solar dermatosis. The cat rapidly loses hair, and the skin around its nose and ears reddens, the body is covered with ulcers. This reaction to ultraviolet rays is more common in animals with white coat.
Before choosing a treatment option, the veterinarian usually conducts a skin scraping, blood and urine tests. In some cases, biopsy is considered necessary.
If the loss of hair in a cat is caused by seasonal molting, some healthy adjustments to the diet of the pet together with administration of deficient vitamins, proteins, micro and macro elements is enough to solve the problem. In case of improper feeding, it is necessary to enrich the cat’s diet with fiber, meat and sour-milk food, by-products, lean fish. The guardian should not feed the animal with fried, salted and peppered products or those with chemical additives in them.
For allergies, it is necessary to determine the product that triggers the condition, and eliminate it once and for all. For speedy recovery, the veterinarian will prescribe antihistamines and vitamin supplements. If a cat loses hair due to a fungus disease, the situation requires urgent treatment, since the disease can be infectious for humans. To identify the type of pathogen, the veterinarian will conduct laboratory tests, and prescribe treatment accordingly.
With demodicosis, the affected areas are treated with chlorhexidine, amitraz, sulfur ointment, and hydrogen peroxide. In case of extensive lesions, Decommax, Cydectin by injection, immunomodulatory drugs and vitamin complexes are prescribed.
To eliminate the symptoms of dermatitis, topically-applied anti-seborrhea medications are prescribed. If seborrhea is a symptom of an underlying disease, the prime cause should be treated first.