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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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McCartney. I have a cat with some patches of fur that are

Customer Question

Customer: ***** ***** McCartney. I have a cat with some patches of fur that are missing.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: She has had this for some time, it seems to be getting a little more, mostly on the lower part of her body. I don't notice her grooming unusual, also there seem to be some small scabs on some of the bare spots
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 11 months ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm sorry to hear that your kitty has been losing some fur - I'll do my best to help. There will be a delay of 5-10 minutes while I type up some thoughts for you. You can reply at any time with more questions or further information.

Thanks!

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 11 months ago.

There are a couple of things I consider when I have cats who are missing hair or licking areas of their fur out. Number one is itchiness, which is usually allergy related. If the problem is allergy related, then it would likely improve with steroid treatment but relapse and become worse again when the steroids wear off. I'll often start with a round of steroids the first time I see a kitty with hair loss that looks like it might be allergic. Steroids can have some nasty side effects in cats, especially if they are given frequently, however if it's a first time treatment or an infrequent need, I don't hesitate to use them. I have also had great success in maintaining allergic cats with a medication called Atopica for cats. It is a daily to every other day maintenance medication to control allergy symptoms. Make sure that she is absolutely FLEA FREE, as fleas are a very common allergy trigger - even ONE bite can make her absolutely miserable. I'd be happy to talk more about fleas if you'd like - just let me know. In rare cases itching can be a symptom of a mite infection, but this is pretty unlikely.

The other thing I consider for cats who are losing their fur from over grooming is anxiety or stress. Cats calm themselves by grooming, so if they are anxious, some cats can over groom and pull out their hair like this. In these cases, the hair usually doesn't grow back with steroid treatment because the problem isn't an allergy. These cats can respond well to treatment with anti-anxiety medications. It's often difficult to determine exactly what is causing the anxiety - just like some people who have anxiety or panic attacks can't always tell you exactly what it is that they are upset about.

If the hair loss is mostly over the belly, another thing to consider would be bladder disease. If a cat is over grooming their belly and pulling out the hair there, I also always check for bladder problems. If their bladder is painful because of an undiagnosed bladder infection or bladder stones, then this could be the cause of the over grooming.

Here is also a link with some more information on over grooming and hair loss in kitties:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2565

I would have her looked at by your vet as soon as you can. While it's unlikely to be an emergency, if he is really itchy, she will appreciate relief ASAP. Sometimes they are sneaky about the excess grooming, or they could just be losing the hair from the allergic inflammation rather than over-grooming. This should give you some ideas to discuss with your vet for your kitty's care going forward. Please let me know if I can answer any other specific questions for you!

~Dr. Sara

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