Feline psychogenic alopecia – Causes, symptoms and treatment
La psychogenic alopecia in cats is a behavioral disorder, in most cases transient, suffering felines subjected to stressful episodes. There are different degrees of affectation ranging from mild to very serious cases. This anomalous behavior can occur in any type of feline race. However, cats that suffer from lack of stimulation and enrichment, deficiencies in their care or an impoverished environment among others are more prone to suffer from it.
In this article we will explain what is Feline psychogenic alopecia causes, symptoms and treatment. If your cat suffers from this disorder, check below why it has occurred and how you can help your cat to solve this problem permanently.
The 4 causes of the most common feline psychogenic alopecia
1. Stress, anxiety and boredom
Boredom is one of the most common causes of feline psychogenic alopecia. Cats groom themselves daily with their tongue. This oral organ is scratchy, abrasive, and if the feline exceeds its hygiene, it ends up plucking the live hair instead of dragging only the dead hair of its mantle.
This type of behavior is frequent when cats are too lonely at home. No human company, no other pets to interact with, and no toys to entertain themselves, many cats they lick compulsively. They do not find any other better activity to spend the endless hours of solitude. If you suspect that the cause of this problem may be due to this reason, do not hesitate to check the 5 most obvious symptoms of a bored cat.
2. Stereotypes or compulsive behavior
Stereotypies in animals, also known as compulsive behaviors (which resemble “OCD” in humans) is a behavior that can derive from stress or boredom and that is manifested by repetitive and constant behaviors without an apparent end.
3. Socialization problems
The loss of a family member (cat or human), the birth of the baby or many other circumstances can cause our cat to feel displaced and not receive their regular doses of socialization. The lack of socialization in the cat can also cause boredom, stress and provoke the behavior of excessive licking previously commented.
It can also happen that after the introduction of a new family member the proper presentations have not been made. Especially if our cat has not been properly socialized since its puppy stage, it is common that fears or aggressive behaviors appear before the appearance of new individuals in the home, resulting in feline psychogenic alopecia.
4. Skin allergies
Finally, and not least, we must highlight the probability that this problem of behavior that causes physical injuries is due to a possible allergy. We already talk about allergy to flea bite, allergy to certain foods or to deworming products, this is a cause that should be discarded by the veterinarian before issuing the diagnosis of the case.
Symptoms of feline psychogenic alopecia
La loss of fur it is the clearest symptom of feline psychogenic alopecia. It usually begins in the abdomen or groin and extends to other areas, such as the legs, tail and sides. But to differentiate this disorder from other pathologies, attention must be paid to other symptoms.
Symptoms of feline psychogenic alopecia:
- Loss of hair
- Excessive grooming
- Excess hair at home
- Redness of the skin
Diagnosis of feline psychogenic alopecia
For a proper diagnosis the veterinarian will ask us about the feline behavior pattern, but can also be done supplementary tests such as a scraping of the skin, allergy tests, blood tests or urinalysis that rule out other pathologies and ensure feline psychogenic alopecia.
Cure and treatment of feline psychogenic alopecia
The treatment of feline psychogenic alopecia begins with a ethological management, which implies an improvement of the welfare of the cat, attention by its owners and a significant improvement of environmental enrichment. Devoting more time and attention to favoring the feline’s natural behaviors (such as hunting, through fishing rod-type toys or interactive toys) greatly improves the welfare of the animal.
If after the application of the guidelines offered by the professional the case does not improve, the veterinarian will prescribe the use of pharmacology, such as corticosteroids, to relieve the symptoms of this disorder. You can also recommend the use of synthetic pheromones for cats to calm them down and ensure their well-being and, in extreme cases, you can also recommend the use of a Elizabethan collar.
The prognosis of this disease is reserved, since in a large number of clinical cases recidivism is observed and it becomes a chronic problem.
This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.
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