why does my cat have a bald spot

Cat hair loss and bald spots may be caused by the natural seasonal shedding, but may also be caused by other diseases. Bald spots may be self inflicted, as the cat can lick and scratch his skin excessively due to different conditions. The
cat bald spot diagnosis can be done by performing a few tests, but a few additional symptoms may also help detecting a possible medical condition. External parasites such as fleas or can lead to skin lesions and itchiness which can cause hair thinning and self inflicted bald spots. In addition, if the cat is allergic to the parasites, the bald spots may also be caused by the irritation. The parasites can be easily identified and treated and the hair should grow back as soon as the parasites are removed. The is not a parasitic infection but a fungal infection that will cause bald spots. The hair loss is in the shape of a ring and you may also notice flaky, crusty skin. The infection can be detected through a skin scraping test and can be treated with itraconazole or griseofulvin. The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormones; if these hormones are in excess or in deficit, the hair can fall out causing bald spots. The cat can be affected by or hypothyroidism, which can be detected through blood testing; there are several treatment options for thyroid gland problems in felines. Allergies cause irritation and itchiness and this can lead to hair loss and often bald patches.

In addition to hair loss you may also notice frequent scratching, licking, crusty skin, bumps, blisters, hot spots or dermatitis. The allergen may be in the cat s environment and should be detected, so it can be eliminated. can be identified through testing; if the allergies are caused by food, several weeks or months of testing will be required. A stressful environment or certain factors that cause stress in your pet can make him chew, lick and bite his fur, causing bald spots. The stress factor can be a new pet or family member, a new owner or even the change of the cat s room. is a condition caused by an excess of corticosteroids in the system. The disease will manifest through skin redness, acne and seborrhea. The seborrhea can make the hairs loose and the cat can easily pull the hair out, causing bald patches. Cat bald patches may be caused by a rare inherited condition that causes periodical hair loss. This condition doesn t require any treatment, as the hair will grow back in a few weeks. Watch out for other possible causes of cat bald spots such as the administration of certain drugs or treatment (i. e. chemotherapy), pregnancy, FIV or skin infections. Hi Dr. B. , My cat Sherman is losing his hair. It started with a bald spot on his stomach, and now has grown to include the backs of his rear legs, and a little bit on his back too. Sometimes I find clumps of hair on his bed or on the floor. His skin doesn t look red or irritated, and he eats and plays like always.

Do you have any idea what is going on? Washington, DC I suspect that your cat is suffering from a syndrome called psychogenic alopecia. That is medical terminology for hair loss due to psychological causes. Many cats respond to boredom or stress by over-grooming or plucking out their hair. Often this occurs only when their owners are absent, which makes it seem that the hair is falling out on its own. The pattern you describe is typical of psychogenic alopecia. Hair loss starts on the abdomen, and then progresses to the backs of the thighs, and then works its way up the back. The most extreme case I have seen was a cat who had no hair anywhere on his body except for his face. If that cat had been better able to lick his face, I m sure he would have been bald there, too. The good news is that, although he looked a bit ridiculous, his health was fine. And that is typical of psychogenic alopecia. In most cases, it is a cosmetic issue. The main triggers for psychogenic alopecia are stress or boredom. This may sound preposterous, since most cats lead lives that appear to be completely free of stress. And, given how much they sleep, it would seem that they shouldn t be prone to boredom. However, remember that the emotional lives of cats are remarkably complex. Things that seem insignificant to us, such as spotting a neighbor s cat through the window, can cause stress for your cat.

And regarding boredom: in the wild, cats spend most of their waking hours hunting for food. Since for a house cat obtaining food involves little more than walking to the bowl, most pet cats end up with plenty of spare time. As well, some medical conditions can contribute to the problem. Bladder infections may make some cats lick their abdomens. And exposure to fleas can lead to excessive grooming and psychogenic alopecia in predisposed individuals. So, what can you do? First, make sure your cat is healthy and provide regular flea preventative. Have a vet look at your cat s skin to make sure that the problem truly is psychogenic alopecia, and not something more dangerous. Then, I recommend adding enrichment to your cat s routine. A period of active play each day, such as chasing a laser pointer, will relieve stress. It also may make your pet too tired to spend time pulling out his hair. In a recent column, I mentioned toys that gradually release food, which can help to make meal time more interesting, and relieve boredom. Also, try setting aside some extra time each day to pet and play with your cat. For severe cases, medications can be prescribed that may help the problem. However, I recommend them only as a last resort. Finally, please remember that psychogenic alopecia is not your fault. Many pet owners who do everything right have cats who pluck out their hair.

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