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Candy R.
Candy R., Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 11619
Experience:  Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
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My ten year old male black cat has been pulling his fur out

Customer Question

My ten year old male black cat has been pulling his fur out on his back. He's eating good , drinks plenty of water and plays. Not sure why he is doing this.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Candy R. replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I am sorry to hear your boy is having some trouble. My name is ***** ***** I have been a veterinary nurse for 26 years. I would be happy to help I just have a few questions. How long has this been going on? Any scratching? Exactly where on his back is he pulling the hair? Has anything in the home changed recently that could be causing stress? Does the skin look normal in the area he is hair pulling? Does he go outside? What type of flea prevention do you use? Does he ever have trouble jumping or walking or does he ever act painful?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1. About 2 was
3.back about half way from neck to tail and along side
4 skin looks ok
5. Nothing has changed in the home or his food
6.he is an indoor cat
7. No flea treatment
8. He doesn't act like he is having any pain he is normal in everything he does except the pulling hair.
Expert:  Candy R. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information There are several reasons that cats pull out their fur. Sometimes it is a behavioral thing but more often it is due to problems such as fleas, mange, ringworm (a fungal infection), allergies, immune mediated disease and bacterial infections.Normally our first assumption is that over grooming/hair pulling is in response to itching. Many cats will lick rather then actually scratch. This time of year ( when this is a relatively new problem)it is often an allergy to fleas or something else in his environment. This could be something he is coming in contact with or even inhaled allergens.Indoor cats can get fleas and even if you never see fleas, you can not assume that they are not present on a cat that Is over grooming. Cats are extremely good at removing fleas and cats that are allergic to fleas are usually even better at it because they over groom.In our office we would start with applying a good flea prevention such as Advantage or Revolution. Avoid over the counter products made by Hartz,sergeants, or Zodiac as they have a high rate of negative reactions.Chlorpheniramine (Chlortrimeton TM) 2-4 mgs once a day can also help if this is due to some type of allergy.You also want to try to think of any new products you may have started using around the time this started. This could be laundry soap, carpet sprays or powders, air fresheners, fabric sprays like Febreeze, new lotions perfumes etc.There can be so many factors involved which makes this type of problem often difficult to figure out. If this does not work then considering his age we would want to have the vet take a look at him. We need to make sure there is no mite or infection based problem causing this. If the vet thinks the skin looks good then blood work would be the next step to rule out any underlining medical causes with the immune system or the thyroid. Only once we rule out any medical cause including allergies can we assume that it is behavioral in nature. Should we find this is behavior based only ( OCD) then it normally takes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy to get the problem under control.I hope this helps give you some ideas for what may be going in. Please reply back if you have additional questions and I will be happy to continueCandy