Thank you for your question regarding your boy Bob who is losing his hair in clumps! There are a few potential causes for this, but I am most concerned he could have an allergy to either fleas, or something else in your environment.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that Bob is definitely up to date with flea control. Make sure you are using a flea product appropriate for his weight. Even though you may not see any fleas or flea dirt on your boy, doesn't necessarily mean there are one or two lurking and oftentimes this is all it takes for a cat with flea allergy dermatitis. Flea allergies commonly cause excessive grooming and scratching, which in turn can potentially cause excessive hair loss like you're seeing. With this allergy, it only takes the saliva from one flea to be inserted under the skin (i.e. when the flea bites) for a systemic allergy to begin.
Flea allergies are avoided by strict flea control - every 3 - 4 weeks with Advantage or Advocate (aka Advantage Multi) or Revolution. Do make sure you use one of these premium products as other products tend not to work very well. You must also ensure all pets in the household (ie your other two cats) are treated at the same time. You should also consider flea bombing the entire house to kill all larvae and eggs hiding in your carpet at the same time (even though you may have done so already).
It is also possible that Bob may have skin mites or lice as they commonly cause hair loss like this. These could be either Demodex (less itchy) or Sarcoptes mites (VERY itchy) and you should ensure a full Veterinary skin scrape to check for mites and lice, as well as signs of fleas. There could well be something else going on here such as Demodectic mange which is a little harder to spot and requires on going treatment. Skin mites would easily be diagnosed via the skin biopsy so we may know more about this in the next few days hopefully. It is also very important for your Vet to rule out fungal infection (such as ringworm
) via a culture or Wood's lamp test (UV light).
Finally cats can become allergic to many natural ingredients in their diet. I would recommend a food trial for Bob if there was no response to strict flea control, using a hypoallergenic food like Hill's Z/D ultra or Royal Canin Hypoallergenic available from your Vet or online. Feeding ONLY this diet 6 - 8 weeks and ensuring Bob doesn't steal the other cats food or get any other treats, will give you an idea of whether a food allergy is to blame here.
If Bob has a lot of scabs
as well as the hair loss, you are best off saving up until you can get him seen by your local Vet as he likely needs an antibiotic course and a steroid injection to settle this as well as a new flea treatment, such as Advocate. Be sure to treat the carpets with an effective product that will kill any flea larvae in your environment. As cats can sometimes overgroom when they are stressed, make sure you keep your home as 'cat-friendly' as possible. There are some excellent tips online here: http://www.icatcare.org/advice/making-your-home-cat-friendly and using a feline pheromone diffuser like Feliway can also be very useful: http://www.feliway.com/us
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