A shiny, full, beautiful coat is a great indication of a healthy kitty. In contrast, if your cat begins losing hair in patches, clumps, or overall, it could be a sign of a greater health problem. The possible causes of alopecia or cat hair loss are many, and diagnosing the condition that underlies hair loss might take some time. You should work closely with your veterinary to determine the source of the issue.
Common causes of cat hair loss can range from allergic reactions to hormone imbalances to an infestation of some pest. Although the different causes can be difficult to identify, most are fairly easy to address and treat.
Below are some of the most common reasons why your cat is losing hair and what owners can do about it.
CAT HAIR LOSS DUE TO ALLERGIES
Just like us, felines can suffer from both environmental and food allergies. Such condition is a leading cause of feline alopecia and can present in patchy loss of hair and itchy, inflamed skin.
Your vet can run a series of skin tests to determine the cause. You can also try removing certain things from your cat’s play area to see if that has any effect, or slowly change elements of your cat’s diet if you suspect the allergy may be foodborne.
FELINE HAIR LOSS DUE TO FLEAS
Cats who are particularly sensitive to fleas may develop hair loss during an infestation. It’s not the fleas themselves that cause hair loss, but their saliva. Flea-based alopecia is particularly evident as patchy hair loss on the cat’s hindquarters.
Rid your cat of fleas using a cycle of flea shampoos and treatments. You may also treat the itching and hair loss with corticosteroids or antihistamines. Prevent future flea infestations by applying a regular monthly spot-on treatment.
RINGWORM AS A CAUSE OF FELINE HAIR LOSS
Another common cause of cat hair loss is ringworm. This skin disease is easily spread through contact with infected animals, causing the hair in adult cats to become brittle and break off in patches.
Your vet can determine if a ringworm infection is present through a fungal skin culture. Those cats who test positive will be treated with antifungal shampoos, creams, sprays, or medications.
THYROID DISEASE AS A CAUSE OF CAT HAIR LOSS
Cats can suffer from conditions of the thyroid gland that cause too little or too much thyroid hormone to be produced. Hyperthyroidism in cats can cause many problems, including hair loss. Hair can become very dull and brittle, thin, or may be easily pulled out while you’re petting or brushing your cat.
Again, a trip to the vet is the only reliable way to determine thyroid disease. Treatment for hyperthyroidism may include surgery or the use of radioactive iodine.
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