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Dr. Scott
Dr. Scott, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15102
Experience:  12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
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why do cats pull out their hair

Customer Question

why do cats pull out their hair
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Scott replied 2 years ago.
Hello there,

There are a few reasons they will pull the hair out. Allergies would be most common. Inhaled allergens and food allergy are both possible. There should have been improvement with the steroids if that were the case. If cats that do not improve, a behavioral disorder called psychogenic alopecia is then suspected. There is no test to diagnose it. It is suspected when testing for other skin problems come back normal. There is no easy treatment for it as well. Most cases are treated with medication like Prozac for several weeks to months. Some improve, some do not and some need long term treatment to stop it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. I am concerned that there may an underlining medical condition since he is so old. He is an indoor cat only but we do have 2 other cats (also indoor only) and a dog. We treated him for fleas and it did improve for a short bit but these last few days he has practically pulled out all of the hair on his side and lower back. My vet has no other solutions so I am considering a "2nd opition", would blood work tell me anything?
Expert:  Dr. Scott replied 2 years ago.
Blood tests are not usually too helpful. They will show elevated eosinophils on a CBC if an allergy is the cause. They also rule out thyroid disorders which can affect the coat.
Dr. Scott, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15102
Experience: 12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
Dr. Scott and 7 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Scott - After talking to my husband there are a few other symptoms...

Not only is Cody pulling out all of his fur, but he has had diarrhea and he seems to be having trouble jumping up on the bed or from the couch to the chair.

Do you think he could be in Kidney failure? I read on another site that pulling out fur could be from kidney failure.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
After talking to my husband there are a few other symptoms...

Not only is Cody pulling out all of his fur, but he has had diarrhea and he seems to be having trouble jumping up on the bed or from the couch to the chair.

Do you think he could be in Kidney failure? I read on another site that pulling out fur could be from kidney failure.
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Scott is now offline.

It was mentioned earlier that the blood test may not be so helpful.
However, at 13 years of age, kidney disease is the most common condition we see in cats. Now, would it exclusively be the cause of any hair pulling issues? Not likely.

However, could kidney disease be a concurrent problem? You bet

Also, what was mentioned about thyroid problems. That is a reference to hyperthyroidism (elevated thyroid hormone) and the second most common condition at this age. That could easily result in behavioral change including the hair pulling, diarrhea, weight loss, and weakness.
Easy to test for on a routine blood profile.

Sounds like a basic blood and urine test would REALLY help you to rule-out many medical causes for these concerns.

Hope that extra info has helped.
Dr. Andy

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