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What’s Behind My Cat’s Hair Loss?

Your majestic longhaired cat Atlas has the lady cats swooning all over him. Atlas grooms himself often, and you brush his beautiful coat every day. You also feed Atlas a cream-of-the-crop diet to help his lush coat stay healthy. Recently, however, you’ve seen a few sparse spots in Atlas’ thick coat, and his skin is visible in several places. While he won’t admit it, Atlas has alopecia, or hair loss, actually a common problem in the cat world. You want to get your proud cat some help, so you’ve asked your Farmington Hills veterinarian to diagnose Atlas’ problem and provide much-needed treatment.

Bizarre-Looking Symptoms

Trying to predict Atlas’ hair loss is like throwing confetti into the wind. Although Atlas might only experience a couple of thin spots, he could easily lose most (or all) of his beautiful coat. Around the lost hair patches, his skin might seem normal; or it might turn red and display bumps and scabs. Atlas’ lost hair patches could show up randomly; or they could form some type of weirdly symmetrical pattern.

Collection of Possible Causes

If fastidious Atlas is over-grooming himself, he might actually be contributing to his hair loss problem. Or, Atlas might have contracted a ringworm fungus or skin allergy. Even worse, a vicious skin parasite might have taken a ride on poor Atlas, giving him a maddening case of mange. An unbalanced thyroid gland can also contribute to Atlas’ hair loss. Or perhaps we can blame heredity, as Atlas’ hair loss problem might be common in his family.

Intensive Detective Work

Your vet’s diagnostic work follows a clearly defined path. If he suspects that Atlas’ hair loss results from a skin problem, your vet will perform a biopsy or skin culture. He’ll probably request a Complete Blood Count that will highlight a thyroid or other hormonal imbalance. By viewing X-ray results, your vet can tell if Atlas’ adrenal glands are functioning correctly.

Treatment and Management

If Atlas’ hair loss results from a skin disorder, or thyroid or hormonal imbalance, topical treatments and/or medications can likely address the problem. If your vet wants Atlas to knock off the obsessive grooming, he’ll create a behavior modification program that will get your cat’s attention.

While your Farmington Hills vet can’t determine whether Atlas will continue down the hair loss path, he’ll monitor Atlas’ condition and provide additional treatment if needed. After all, your vet wants Atlas to retain his masculine good looks.

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