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Stray cat with hair loss in anus/tail area

February 21st, 2007, 12:33 PM
I've been feeding a stray cat that has hair loss in her anus and tail area. The skin is pink with red blotches. I noticed the first patch of hair loss one week ago, and in the past week, the hair loss has increased dramatically. Any ideas on what is wrong with the cat?

February 21st, 2007, 12:47 PM
It could be allergies, are some reasons. Good Luck. WOuld you be able to take her to the vets?

Condition Description Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment from

Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis
An allergic reaction following exposure to antibiotics applied to the skin; metals such as nickel; materials such as rubber, wool, and plastic; chemicals such as dyes and carpet deodorizers; or inflammation caused by irritating substances such as poison ivy. Generally requires multiple exposures.
Red skin and small bumps or blisters on the areas of skin that are sparsely haired and directly exposed to the offending substance; itching; hair loss in chronic conditions
Patch test, exclusion trials
Restrict exposure to the allergen or contact irritant in the cat's environment; steroids, antihistamines

Alopecia areata Thought to be an autoimmune disorder Patches of hair loss especially on head, neck, and body; no itching Microscopic examination of hairs; biopsy Usually recover spontaneously

Apocrine sweat gland cyst Rare in cats Single, round, smooth nodules with no hair; may appear bluish; usually filled with a watery liquid; most common on head, neck, and limbs Physical exam; biopsy Surgical removal is optional

Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis)
Allergic reaction to something the cat inhales such as pollen, house dust mites, and mold
Licking of feet, inflamed ears, itching, redness, and hair loss; sometimes development of infection or hot spots
Intradermal or serologic (blood) testing for allergies
Reduce exposure to allergen (what the cat is allergic to), steroids, fatty acid supplements, biotin, antihistamines, shampoos, immunotherapy

Bacterial infection (pyoderma)
See Folliculitis
Often occurs as a result of another condition such as a parasitic, allergic, or hormonal conditon

Chemotherapy Loss of hair due to chemotherapy is a concern for cat owners Cats lose guard hairs so coat becomes soft and fuzzy; may lose whiskers History None, hair will regrow after chemotherapy discontinued; may regrow in a different color or texture

Cheyletiella (rabbit fur mite) mange
Infection with the Cheyletiella mite
Itching, scaliness; some hair loss, if severe
Skin scraping and microscopic examination - the mite is often very difficult to find

Congenital hypotrichosis Congenital lack of hair Kittens born with little or no hair; any hair they are born with is lost by 4 months of age Physical exam; biopsy None

Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism) Caused by an increase in corticosteroids in the body - either due to increased production by the body or as a side effect of high doses or prolonged therapy with corticosteroids Hair loss, thinning of skin, hyperpigmentation, easy bruising, seborrhea, comedones (black heads); lethargy, increased thirst and urination, pot-bellied appearance Adrenal gland function tests, urinalysis, chemistry panel, CBC If due to glandular tumors, selegiline, o,p-DDD (Mitotane), or surgical removal of tumor; if due to high steroid doses, withdraw use of steroids slowly

Demodectic mange
Infection may be localized or generalized; the generalized form occurs in cats who have a deficient immune system
Hair loss, scaliness, redness, sometimes itching
Skin scraping and microscopic examination
NO Steroids!
Rotenone, dilute Amitraz (Mitaban) dips, lime sulfur dips, ivermectin (off-label use*)

Drug or injection reaction Rare skin reaction to a drug which is inhaled, given orally, or applied topically; more common with penicillins, sulfonamides, and cephalosporins; usually occurs within 2 weeks of giving the drug Can vary widely and may include itching, hair loss, redness, swelling, papules, crusts, ulcers, and draining wounds History of being treated with a drug, symptoms, biopsy Discontinue offending drug; treat symptomatically

Erythema multiforme Hypersensitivity reaction to infections or drugs; may also be caused by cancer or other diseases Hair loss, 'bull's eye' lesions and vesicles often around mouth, ears, groin, and axilla; in some instances, ulcers develop; depression, fever History, clinical signs, rule out other diseases causing similar signs; skin biopsy Treat or remove underlying cause

Facial (preauricular) alopecia; normal hair loss above the eye Normal decreased density of hair between the eye and ear This decreased density of hair starts when cats are 14 to 20 months old; more prominent in short-haired, dark colored cats No diagnostics necessary unless signs of skin disease are present such as redness or scaling None - normal

Feline acquired symmetrical alopecia Rare; originally called 'feline endocrine alopecia'; cause unknown Symmetrical hair loss on back of thighs, abdomen, and genital areas; hair easily pulls out; no itching Skin biopsy; tests to rule out other causes of hair loss None

Flea allergy dermatitis (flea bite hypersensitivity)
Severe reaction by the cat to the saliva of the flea
Intense itching, redness, hair loss papules, crusts and scales; sometimes development of infection or hot spots
Presence of fleas; reaction to intradermal testing
Flea Control in the environment and on the cat; steroids and antihistamines for the itching

Folliculitis Infection of the hair follicles; symptoms usually appear on face, neck, and head Pustules develop in the hair follicles and open and form crusts; may itch and develop hair loss Skin scraping; culture; biopsy; look for underlying condition such as allergy or FIV Antibiotics, usually for 3-4 weeks; treat any underlying condition

Food allergies
Allergic reaction to something in the diet
Licking of feet, inflamed ears, itching, redness, and hair loss; sometimes development of infection or hot spots
Food elimination trials
Change in diet

Granulomas May be due to infections; the body's reaction to foreign material such as plant material (e.g., foxtail) and suture material; other constant irritation; or unknown causes Solid, firm nodules of varying sizes; those due to foreign bodies often have draining tracts; may develop hair loss, ulcers, and secondary infections History, clinical signs, biopsy, surgical exploratory Surgical removal of the foreign body (in the case of plant material, tracts may be extensive and require major surgery); antibiotics if infected; treat any other underlying cause

Hair loss during pregnancy and nursing ('blowing her coat,' telogen effluvium) Excess shedding that can also occur in other stressful circumstances such as illness or surgery Sudden and widespread hair loss History, clinical signs Treat any underlying condition; hair will grow back

Hyperthyroidism Approximately 1/3 of cats with this disease will have skin lesions; caused by excess secretion of thyroid hormone Hair loss; hair easily pulled out; seborrhea; cats may overgroom and cause 'hot spots' Physical exam; blood testing for thyroid hormones Remove part of thyroid; radioactive iodine therapy; methimazole

Injection site alopecia Hair loss at the site of an injection of a medication or vaccine; skin may become thickened; in cats, ulcers may develop Hair loss occurs several months after injection; area may become hyperpigmented History and physical examination None; the condition is permanent

Infection with several species of lice
Variable: itching, hair loss, crusts, rough hair coat
Finding lice or nits on skin or hair
Pyrethrin, ivermectin (off-label use*)

Usually follows some other underlying disease
Itching, redness, hair loss, greasy scales; if chronic develop

Skin scraping/smear and microscopic examination, culture
Treat underlying disease; oral ketoconazole; miconazole shampoos

Psychogenic (neurogenic) dermatitis
Self-licking in cats results in self-trauma; possible causes include anxiety, boredom, stress (e.g., new member in household)

Symmetrical hair loss, sometimes ulcers, on abdomen, groin, along the back
Exclude other causes; history important
Relieve underlying cause e.g., anxiety; restrict licking; behavior modifying medication may be necessary

(see Folliculitis)

Ringworm Infection with several types of fungus
Hair loss, scaliness, crusty areas; some itching
Miconazole, lime sulfur dips; oral griseofulvin or itraconazole; ringworm vaccine

Sebaceous adenitis Sebaceous glands are destroyed, cause unknown; very rare in cats Circular areas of crusts and scales on head, ears, and neck; hair pulls out easily, leaving skin exposed Clinical signs, skin biopsy Antiseborrheic shampoos, fatty acid supplements; in more severe cases, steroids, retinoids

Seborrhea Can be primary (inherited) or secondary (resulting from other disease processes such as FeLV, FIP, FIV, ringworm, and parasites) Scales; depending upon the type, may have a dry or oily coat; odor; some scratching; may see hair loss Blood tests, skin scrapings, etc. to find underlying cause Treat underlying cause if present; antiseborrheic shampoos; fatty acid supplements

Solar dermatosis (sunburn) Skin reaction to sunlight; more common in cats with white ears Redness, hair loss, and scaling on nose and ears, later crusts and ulcers History, breed, physical exam, skin biopsy Must avoid further sun exposure, especially 9 am - 3 pm; sunblock, steroids

Stud tail (tail gland hyperplasia) A sebaceous gland (on the top of the tail near its base) enlarges; most often occurs in confined, unneutered males Oily area, hair loss, and crusts on area over gland; may become hyperpigmented Clinical signs Castration usually does not resolve the condition; antiseborrheic shampoos, retinoids; if confined, allow cat more freedom

February 21st, 2007, 01:03 PM
Thanks for the reply. I can't really take her to the vet because she's not our cat, and I can't shoulder the expense at this time. She "supposedly" belongs to some neighbors down the street. I considered asking them to take responsibility for their pet, but if they chose to abandon her in the neighborhood, then I'm sure they won't take her to the vet. I have been considering taking her to the humane society, but I'm sure they'll euthanize her because she's probably not considered adoptable, i.e. adult cat, needs treatment, etc. She was looking very healthy all winter, and she survived the cold spell that we had. Whatever disease she has came on suddenly. <sigh>

February 21st, 2007, 01:11 PM
Poor baby. Maybe if you call a vet and talk about the symptoms they may tell you what you can do to help. I hope it's not painful, whatever it is.

September 25th, 2007, 11:23 PM
If you cannot take the cat to a vet then please use extreme caution in handling it until you can do something positive for it, it can be some mange mites or a fungus that can be transmitted to humans, it does not sound too good the cat could simply have a worm infestation and that is the area where he/ she has been scratching thus the fur loss, are you feeding this kitty? If you are feeding this kitty you can start by trying to add some worm medication to their food if it is just a simple case of worms that might give some relief, but likely it probably has worms and other problems, like mange mites, if the cat is friendly there are treatments for mange mites but if a vet can be consulted that is ideal, We had a kitty a few years backj that developed hair loss, I sprinkled it daily with athletes foot powder- an anti fungal and then used a cat hairbrush to brush the powder in and through their fur down to the skin, and that worked rather well mange can be brushed out that way, on the very bare spots we used athletes foot cream to kill off any ringworm, just wear gloves and wash your hands after handling this cat and rinse them in bleachy water mild bleachy water. It could be this cat has a host of problems but you should try and eliminate the most likely issues one at a time, i would worm it then look at any ringworm spots since ringworm is easily treated with over the counter anti fungal powders and creams. A shot of Revolution will kill all the parasites at once including mites, ear mites and worms and probably would be your least expensive route but a vet must administer the shot. My guess it is some type of a parasite infestation and or ringworm which ringworm is not a worm it is a fungus therefore can be treated with antifungal creams and powders. Good Luck.

September 25th, 2007, 11:27 PM
old post, the op has not been back since

September 25th, 2007, 11:35 PM
It does not have to be your cat in order for you to take it to the vet, it is in need, it is a stray and lawfully you can so take it to the vet you are just rendering as a good Samaritan, no law prohibits you from taking it to a vet however you are obligated to contact the shelter in your community and ask them first if anyone is looking for a missing cat of this description, some shelters do have a veterinarian on staff by the way and those are far less expensive than other veterinarians aaaas thwey are not in it for the money as much as to help the critters just ask, you have a right to take a cat in for vet care if their health is compromised so that it can be a threat to the greater cat population ie: something possibly contagious, I would say that is the case here, and you have a right to try things like worm meds and such yo ur just helping the helpless.
Don't use the excuse it's not my cat these strays are all our cats, that is why God brings them our direction!

September 26th, 2007, 12:20 AM
As Growler said, this post is 7 months old and the OP hasn't been back to respond since.