Why does my cat have hairless parts?
The coat of a cat will be your business card and in it we will very easily detect problems such as injuries, dandruff or hair loss. This last issue is what we are going to discuss in this article, since it is a source of concern for caregivers to know why your cat has hairless parts, so we will examine the most common causes of this disorder, as well as possible solutions to recover the mantle, as this is very important for the health of our partner. And, as always, we must go to the vet if we appreciate any problem in our cat’s hair.
Why is there a lack of hair?
The first thing that we are going to take into account when explaining why a cat has hairless parts is how is this fault, since we can be before a generalized alopecia, that is to say, where the hair will be missing in a good part of the body, especially in the sides and belly, or to more specific hair faults, in the form of visible plaques in different areas of the body.
In addition, we will have to observe if the fault has its origin in the excessive licking of the cat, since these tend to lick instead of scratching and that excessive licking can break and make hair fall, as well as cause injuries because their tongue is rough. On other occasions the hair will be missing without your intervention. All these data are important when it comes to diagnoses such as those we will see in the following sections.
My cat has bald spots, could it be ringworm?
If our cat has hairless parts in the form of rounded calves and these are, above all, the head, we can think that is afflicted with a quite common disorder, caused by fungi and known by the name of ringworm. Ringworm in cats is a relatively common disease, especially in younger children, and usually begins When the cat is subjected to stress like the one that can suppose a change of house but also, a disease, what happens also in adult cats.
Inadequate hygiene conditions are also a predisposing factor. Ringworm is usually self-limiting, this means that the cat’s own immune system could restore the integrity of the skin without the need for medication, only improving the defenses, for which stress control and quality feeding will be essential .
In any case, the veterinarian can decide medicate with an antifungal in smaller kittens, more severe cases with generalized bald spots or in the concurrence of several diseases. These treatments are usually long treatments (minimum of about 4 weeks).
Finally we must know that ringworm is a contagious zoonotic disease, also for humans, so you have to be careful if children, elderly or immunocompromised people live with the cat. It is necessary to observe an adequate hygiene, disinfect and inhale frequently, with special attention to the areas where the cat rests or spends more time.
Ringworm is confirmed with a simple test done by our veterinarian and consists of passing a lamp (Wood lamp) about our cat. The illuminated areas would indicate the presence of fungi, which can also be observed under a microscope.
My cat has hairless areas, a possible allergy
Sometimes, it is the allergy in cats that explains why our cat has hairless parts. These allergies can develop to the pollen, to some proteins or materials or even allergy to the saliva of the fleas. In this last case a single bite is capable of triggering the entire allergic picture, which is why it is very important, if our cat is allergic, to maintain its deworming a day, even if you live in an interior space, and keep in mind that you have to use products that eliminate fleas in all their phases, and not just the adults.
Our veterinarian will advise us in this regard, considering the circumstances of our cat. This allergy causes itching, so that our cat licks and scratches and ends up losing hair in wide areas and even wounding. The later in receiving veterinary assistance, the more complicated the picture will be.
In a cat with this type of allergy we will see that the hair is missing especially in the base of the tail (lumbosacral area), may extend to the abdomen, flanks and neck. The treatment may require drugs to manage the itching and avoid a secondary infection but, above all, as we have said, it must be prevented by a deworming calendar, always using the best products to deworm cats.
Other causes of alopecia
Stress in cats is another factor that can explain why our cat has hairless parts. To come to consider that the cause of the absence of hair is psychological, we must first rule out physical causes. Stress can cause the cat an excess of licks that cause hair loss. Also, as we have seen, it diminishes its defenses, which can affect the quality of the hair and the molt. To avoid this we must investigate the reasons that may be stressing the cat to correct them.
At this point you can contact a ethologist (expert in animal behavior) or a veterinarian with training in feline psychology and behavior. Example of the incidence of stress in the hair is the disorder that is known by the name of telogen effluvium, which will miss the hair on the sides, belly and chest of our cat. In this case, the hairless parts are not because of excessive licking, but because of a disorder in the changes.
The cycle of hair growth is divided into three phases that are happening in mosaic, so that the hair is renewed gradually. Stress can interrupt this cycle, leaving it in its telogen phase, in which the hair does not grow. Once the cause of stress is resolved, the new hair displaces the existing one, in telogen phase, producing a sudden change of all the hair at the same time. It does not require treatment and the hair ends up recovering but we must avoid, as we have said, the causes of stress.
Another reason for alopecia, especially on the sides and affecting even large areas, is true endocrine diseases, such as Cushing syndrome in cats, which will give another symptomatology such as an increase in water intake, increased urine production or a very marked skin fragility. In these cases, the primary cause of the lack of hair will have to be treated, which will be diagnosed by blood analysis.
Once identified the most common reasons that explain why our cat has hairless parts, we must take into account a series of measures that will help us avoid problems with the hair. They are the following:
- Hygiene and brushing: Hair care must be integrated into the basic routine.
- Deworming: it is necessary to establish a calendar of internal and external deworming and keep it throughout the year and for all the animals in the house.
- Avoid infections: if the lack of hair of our cat is due to ringworm or fleas, we must take extreme precautions since the fungi that cause ringworm are very contagious. The allergy to fleas is not contagious, but fleas do, so we must take care of deworming.
- Food: we must provide our cat with an adequate diet for its needs, paying attention to its quality in terms of proteins, minerals, vitamins or fatty acids, as they will influence the quality and growth of hair.
- Stress: we have seen that it is a factor that can explain why our cat has hairless parts, so we must offer adequate care, an enriched environment to avoid boredom and frustration and the gradual adaptation to any change that concerns him.
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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