|One of the more common skin problems seen in the feline veterinary clinic is when cats pull out their hair. This can manifest as excessive grooming anywhere on the body, but especially the lower back or abdomen and can often lead to extensive areas of hair loss. Sometimes secondary sores and infections can develop, increasing the incidence of vomiting of hairballs. Any cat that has such a problem should have a full skin workup at a vet, including an exam of the hair shafts to see if the hair loss is from self grooming. In addition, the cat should also have a thorough evaluation and skin scrape for external parasites.|
Many times this problem is due to a seasonal allergy in cats that come in contact with dander, mold, house dust, grass, etc. While in other cases this can be a manifestation of a food allergy in a cat. In addition to making sure the cat is on a total preventative flea program, I will also instruct clients to try an antihistamine trial. My favorite for cats is Chlorpheniramine which is often dosed at 2 mg twice daily. It also will sometimes help to add a fatty acid to the diet such as Be Well or Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil, which can sometimes help allergic animals when used long term.
I have also found the supplements Vetri-DMG Liquid and Proanthozone helpful in some cats as well. If the problem is year round, than a dietary trial with a natural novel protein diet, preferably one like the Instincts diet, which closely resembles what a cat evolved naturally to eat in the wild. If none of these suggestions work and/or the condition worsens, then sometimes a cortisone shot is the only treatment that I find works in some of these felines. On occasion we will find what are called psychogenic hair pullers, which is a nervous habit that some cats develop, just like people who twirl their hair or bite their nails. In those cases and once allergies have been ruled out, it’s possible for medications such as Amitriptyline are prescribed by a veterinarian to help.