Alopecia (or hair loss) is rare in cats but can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common is that the cat grooms too often, which itself can indicate other skin problems or parasites.
Causes and symptoms of hair loss
The hair loss can be caused by skin infections, such as those caused by ringworm or parasitic infestations. It is often the cat itself that causes this hair loss by repeatedly grooming an itchy area due to an allergy or the presence of parasites. Cats with joint pain also sometimes pull the hair out of the areas next to the affected joints. On the other hand, stressed cats sometimes also experience the problem of over-grooming. Excessive grooming can cause hairballs to vomit as the cat will swallow the plucked hair. There are also rare hormonal issues that cause hair loss, usually without itching. Some of the causes of hair loss (like ringworm) can be transmitted to humans and,
Your vet should investigate the cause of the alopecia. Since fleas are a common cause of itching in cats and subsequent hair loss, your vet may recommend flea treatment. If the vet suspects the situation is due to a behavioral problem, you should study your cat’s daily life and find out if there are any items that may be causing stress. If, after investigation, the cause of hair loss is still not clear, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian specializing in dermatology.
Treatments for your cat
The management of alopecia always depends on the underlying cause. If the cat has fleas or other parasites, the best thing to do is to apply a pest control treatment. Treating a skin allergy problem can be complicated and it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian specializing in dermatology. If a cat is suspected to be over-groomed due to stress issues, consulting with an animal behavior specialist can help identify the cause of the stress and provide methods to reduce it. If the problem is due to sore joints, the underlying problem can be treated or pain relievers can be given if the vet requires it.
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