How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joann Canafax Your Own Question
Joann Canafax
Joann Canafax, Veterinary Assistant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 85
Experience:  Lots of hands on and much studying
143236
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Joann Canafax is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Feline hair loss and hot skin

Customer Question

My female barn cat has lot most of the hair on her back and the skin feels very hot. Prednisone helps somewhat, and the hair does try to grow back. What could be the cause of this condition?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Joann Canafax replied 11 years ago.
I found this information for you hope this helps!


There are a number of possible causes of alopecia in cats but most of them do show up earlier in life.
Despite this, it probably makes sense to think about all of them and then try to figure out which ones
are unlikely and which ones might possibly be present.

The first question that is usually asked is whether the cat is itchy, or not. It can be very difficult to tell
if itching is present but most of the time, if there is chewing or licking on the fur it is better to assume
that it is.

If itchiness is not present, the most likely diagnoses are a systemic problem leading to hair loss,
endocrine disorders, bacterial skin infections, ringworm and immune system disorders.

In cats, there are some reports of sex hormone related hair loss, hyperadrenocorticism can occur and
some vets believe that there are cases of hypothyroidism in older cats, although this is pretty difficult
to be sure of since it is usually based on response to thyroid hormone supplementation rather than
changes in thyroid hormone levels on lab tests.

If itchiness is present, the most likely diagnoses are skin parasites, bacterial skin infections,
ringworm, (I know that some things show up in both lists), skin cancers, and immune system
disorders.

It is important to have some information as just a general database to start from when hair loss
occurs in older cats. A general blood chemistry panel and complete blood cell count should be done,
to try to rule out systemic illness such as liver disease contributing to skin disease. A feline leukemia
test should be done, even if this has been done previously, since this is a disease that can lead to hair
loss problems. It may be a good idea to check for feline immunodeficiency virus, as well. It may be
reasonable to test for the hormonal diseases as well. In cats, a low dose dexamethasone suppression
test may detect hyperadrenocorticism. I am not aware of a good test for the suspected
hypothyroidism that occurs in cats because thyroid values are reported to be in the normal ranges
even in cats that do respond to replacement thyroid therapy. As an alternative, it is reasonable to
biopsy the skin and see if the pathologist detects signs of endocrine related hair loss and then try to
figure out which hormonal skin disease might be present.

Skin scrapings to rule out demodecosis, testing for fungal infections, using good flea control
medications to decrease the possibility that fleas might be present, treating for any bacterial infections
and even considering the use of cortisones to rule out itchiness as a possible contributing factor can
all be helpful.

Expert:  Joann Canafax replied 11 years ago.
http://www.vetinfo.com/catfur.html sorry forgot to post where I got the information!
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thanks for your quick reply. The cat is approximately 3 years old and spayed. There are no fleas. I was hoping that the presence of heat in the affected area would provide some clue. Prednisone injections seem to reduce the presence of heat, and the hair begins to grow again.
Expert:  Joann Canafax replied 11 years ago.
the heat could possibly be a sign of infection or maybe a hot spot Im assuming the predisone is for the hair loss?

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
< Previous | Next >
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    547
    2003 Graduate
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    547
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2649
    Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    322
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    168
    15 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Pet Expert/Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3254
    40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1133
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ginamod/2008-03-24_152913_cheryl.jpg Cheryl K.'s Avatar

    Cheryl K.

    shelter volunteer

    Satisfied Customers:

    836
    14+ years of shelter work/ vaccinations/ disease/ illness/ injury/ medical care