Cat is a favorite pet of most people and it is like a family member to them. It is very important to take care of its health in order to keep it healthy and happy, so that you can enjoy its pleasurable company. Your cute, lovely pet may suffer from various diseases. The most common illnesses of kittens or cats are upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, chronic kidney failure, feline distemper, and diabetes.
Some other problems related to their health are hairballs, worms (such as tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms), vomiting, flea, conjunctivitis, cat flu, ear mites, feline stress, feline infectious peritonitis, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, Lyme disease, abscess, and toothache. You may notice some general indications that your cat is not feeling well such as changes in its behavior, appetite or elimination, as well as changes in its appearance.
Hair loss in cats, which is known as alopecia, is one of the common health problems, and it is caused by various ailments and problems. Some shedding of hair is necessary and normal; however, other types of hair loss need to seek medical attention. Your cat may lose its fur due to several possible causes such as glandular diseases, mites, fleas, ticks, and allergies.
- A very common reason is fleabite allergy. Since cats are allergic to fleabites, a single fleabite can produce prolonged and intense reaction.
- Another parasite, mites, can also make them to pull out their fur. Numerous species of mites can give rise to a condition known as mange, which can cause them to chew themselves to get rid of itching.
- Ringworm is also responsible for hair loss in cats, particularly around ears, face, and feet. This condition is seen in small patches and the skin becomes gray, dry, and flaky. Very young kittens and long-haired cats are more prone to it.
- Some glandular diseases such as Cushing's disease, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can give rise to this condition, generally in a symmetrical pattern along both sides. It may arise from overproduction of steroids by adrenal glands.
- Localized pain due to abscess can make them lick their fur frequently, which can lead to hair loss.
- Food allergies are significantly responsible for this condition; cats having an allergy to food ingredients may excessively itch and scratch their body. Allergies to inhaled substances like pollen or dust mites can give rise to similar symptoms.
- Psychogenic alopecia is another major reason; your cat may pull its fur due to some psychological factors such as anxiety, nervousness, stress, or fear. This condition is very common, as cats are quite sensitive to their environment. If there is any change in their environment because of change in humidity level, food, or exposure to other animal, then they may develop allergic reactions in the skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As hair loss can affect the appearance, as well as overall health of your cat, you need to seek veterinarian treatment for it. The veterinarian prescribes a variety of tests to detect exact cause of this condition, such as scotch tape impressions, fungal culture, skin scraping, and skin biopsy. General health tests, including complete blood count, and hormone and organ function tests are also performed to determine chronic diseases. If physical cause is not found, then veterinarian tries to find out behavioral factors.
Treatment option is decided depending upon its specific cause. If it is due to fleabite, then it can be treated with effective and safe flea preventives, and inflammation due to bite can be treated using antihistamines or steroids. Infections by mites and ringworm can be treated with oral and topical medications. For diagnostic and treatment purpose, you can feed a hypoallergenic diet or trial treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. Your cat's diet should include added supplements of essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acids. Antianxiety medications are effective for hair loss problem in a cat due to behavioral problem.
Thus, prompt treatment is essential, so that your cat remains comfortable and playful.