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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4695
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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Mainecoon cat healthy eating normally and playing indoor cat.

Customer Question

mainecoon cat healthy eating normally and playing indoor cat. starting to loose lots of hair he is 18mths old lost lots but not found any clumps anywhere have 5 other cats they are fine allk get on well

Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 11 months ago.
Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 16 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.This does sound like a medical problem, but I need a bit more information to be able to help you. Here are a few questions:1) Does he have any areas where he is bald from losing hair (base of his tail, underside, thighs, etc)?2) Does he have any skin lesions (scabs, redness, crusts, plaques, etc)?3) Has he been to see his veterinarian for this yet and if so what testing was done, and what therapies have you already tried?4) Are the cats all kept on monthly heartworm/flea control medication given monthly year round (or use of Serresto collar...other collars don't work)?Thank you for answering a few more questions. Pictures are always helpful (can attach using the paperclip icon.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

mainly lost hair from sides of body and tail no problems with skin not been to vet has been wormed flea regulary have 5 other cats not happening to them he is as playfull as ever eating well has whiskers in gravy and whiskers dried food. did change food for a couple of days as ran out of whiskers seemed to happen after that

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 11 months ago.
A diet allergy/intolerance would be very unlikely to cause this hair loss and over grooming. When we have a food allergy we tend to see itchy face/neck with a lot of scabs, if we have a dermal eruption. There are many possible causes for this but it might require working with your vet to work through the potential issues. It could be a true skin infection such as bacterial or skin mites or even ringworm. Those require some testing to rule out. It could be an environmental allergy (called atopic dermatitis). It could be internal irritation; some cats with stomach/intesintal problems/pain or intrabdominal irritation (pancreatitis, gall bladder disease or even kidney stones) may lick on the area near where it bothers the cat. So, some screening lab work is indicated to rule out some of these issues. I also really must be certain we can rule out fleas; typically we see hair loss on the tail base/spine and thighs for flea allergy but many products (such as Frontline and all its knock-off derivatives) are not working (selamectin-containing products and imidicloprid containing products do work well still). And, finally, it could be behavioral. Some stressed cats will over groom, although more typically we see the area of focus to be the underside.What can you do at home? Unfortunately there is not a lot. I would not be stressed about food as the chance this is a food allergy is low. You can do a trial with an antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine (4mg tablet and give one-fourth to one-half once daily) which is available for people -- might help if there is itching involved with the over grooming. But I do not find this that effective in all cases of atopic dermatitis. You can also switch to a different flea control if you are not using a non-fipronil product.The most useful would be to have him evaluated by his veterinarian next week with an exam and a skin scraping (look for mites and bacteria) and ringworm culture started. You can discuss if lab work would make sense based off his physical exam and any other issues going on. Once all medical causes are ruled out, then we can turn to this as a behavioral problem. In that case sometimes anti anxiety medication can help (such as fluoxetine) for a few months (probably not needed long-term).I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.Please let me know if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. My goal is to provide the best answer possible prior to you leaving a feedback rating.If you received all the information you needed, then kindly submit a rating.

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