Alopecia in Cats

May 06, 2009 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Alopecia is nothing but complete or partial hair loss. Cat Alopecia can be noticed in any part of the body. Like the human being, the alopecia is a trouble in cats too. Alopecia can be due to various reasons. One common factor is self trauma caused by scratching or chewing. Hair follicle disease can also be a reason. In addition to giving unpleasant look to the pet cat, Alopecia can cause damage to the other organs systems, hence can never be ignored.

Reasons

Allergy – the alopecia can be an allergic reaction to the allergens such as molds, pollens, and food allergens. This kind of alopecia can be noticed on feet, ears, face and other parts of the cat.

Flea- the cats that are allergic to fleas can show allergic reactions in the form of alopecia.

Scabies- sarcoptes scabi also known as mange mite can result in itching which in turn results in alopecia.

Parasites-
parasites such as cheyletiella can cause pruritis which can lead to alopecia.

Pyoderma- pyoderma is nothing but infection of skin caused by bacteria. There are so many species of bacteria that cause pustules in cat which results in pyoderma. The pyoderma that affects the hair follicle can lead to alopecia.

Fungi infection-
dermatophyte is a fungus which damages the hair shaft. This can lead to pruritis or non-pruritis alopecia. The fungi that are seen attached with the fallen hair can transmit the infection to other cats.
 
Diagnosis

The best way to treat alopecia is by eliminating the underlying cause. For this diagnosis of the disease is of prime importance. Here are the discussions about few diagnostic tests.

Skin scrapping- the skin is scrapped using blade and the scrapings are examined for the presence of mite or other parasites.

Trichogram- here a skin is examined through microscope to find out whether the skin fell on its own or by plucking.

Fungal culture examination-
this is done to find out the presence of ringworm.

Skin biopsy-
skin biopsy is nothing but a procedure in which a portion of skin is removed for pathological examination to find out the nature of the alopecia, which helps in identifying the cause. 

Home Care

The cats must be free of flea problem.  In case the hair loss is very severe, the pet owner should take care of the cat by providing sweater to the cat to protect it from winter. The casts must be kept in doors in summer as the possibility and severity of sun burn will be more. For flea control it is better to consult the veterinarian at the earliest for effective flea control program.

Treatment

The best way to treat alopecia is by neutralizing the underlying cause and by offering treatment to cure the symptoms. If Alopecia and Pruritis are noticed together, and then symptomatic treatments such as antipruritis shampoo, antihistamines, corticosteroids or fatty acid supplements are effective. If Pyoderma is noticed with alopecia, then antibiotic treatment is the best.

As discussed earlier pyoderma is secondary to many reasons, hence treating the underlying cause is very essential for complete cure. Matted and dead hair needs to be brushed regularly which will minimize the cat alopecia problem.

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