You have described to me a 2 yr old cat who has areas of hair loss on his tail and on his back leg. There are no scabs or evidence of inflammation on the skin, but it does seem a bit flaky. The hair epilates (pulls out) easily in tufts at the edges of the lesions. There has been recent change and stress in his world.
There are a number of things that I would be considering if he were on his way in to see me.
1. Fungal infection (ringworm)
Cats may have hair loss caused by fungal infections. In cats, this is usually be a fungus called Microsporum canis (not Tinea sp. which causes athletes foot in humans), ,which cats can carry on their hair without any symptoms. What we see are focal circular to patchy areas of hair loss with slight flakiness and little inflammation, as you have described. Lesions tend to predominate on head and forelimbs and itchiness is usually mild.
We diagnose this by using a special ultraviolet light called a Wood’s lamp to show infected hairs, and by doing a fungal culture using a dermatophyte test medium (DTM, Fungassay) kit. Your vet would be able to do this. It can take up to 3 weeks to get results.
Your kitty could have picked this up from the environment (in the house or outdoors) or had it on his hair without symptoms, but suddenly it caused a problem because his immune system was lowered due to stress.
It is treated with a drug called itraconazole, and/or shaving and bathing in lime-sulfur dips or medicated shampoos available from your vet.
This is contagious to other animals and to humans!
Here is more information:
2. Eosinophilic Granulomatous complex
This is an allergic skin condition, and it is usually very very itchy. Cats with this problem may develop areas of hair loss, and ulcerated skin. With your boy, the fact that the hair loss is linear (straight line) not circular is what makes me wonder about this. However, it usually has very inflamed skin and is itchy, which you are not describing.
There are 3 forms of this allergic condition:
1. Cats may get linear (straight line) lesions on the backs of their backs legs, face and neck, inside the mouth or between the footpads, or
2. They may get lesions (plaques) on the insides of their back legs and on their bellies, or
3. They may get ulcers on the lip margins and around the mouth (also called an indolent ulcer or rodent ulcer).
Here are some links to further information about this condition:
It is possible that your cat got stuck somewhere and pulled this hair off when he was wriggling out. Maybe there is a spot that he used to fit in with ease, and no longer does? I only mention this because I have seen it with cats wedged under fences outside. Usually, there would be some scratches on the skin.
This is a type of mange mite that is quite common in dogs, but rare in cats. It causes areas of hair loss, though they are more commonly around the head. It is diagnosed by doing a skin scraping (the vet scrapes the skin surface lightly with a dull scalpel blade and looks at the sample under a microscope). Again, this is something that the cat could have been carrying on his fur, and become susceptible when his immune system was lowered due to stress.
It is treated with Lime Sulfur dips once weekly for 6 dips or until resolved.
As you can see, there are a number of different things that could be causing this hair loss in patches on your cat. The top thing I would be wondering about would be Ringworm (dermatophytosis) from your description. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what is going on by doing a thorough physical exam and some tests. I hope that your kitty is back to 100% soon!
I hope that helps you.
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The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.