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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 7360
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc (DVM equivalent).
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My 11 year old cat Snoopie is losing her fur between her

Customer Question

My 11 year old cat Snoopie is losing her fur between her upper back legs into her belly area... she seems her normal self, is this serious? I have recently bought new carpets (woollen) and it seems to coincide with that
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, Thanks for your question regarding your girl Snoopie who has been losing some fur or overgrooming the area betwen her back legs and belly. As you can imagine there are quite a number of things that could be causing these areas of hairloss, however I would be primarily concerned about an allergy. Typically cats can develop flea, food and contact allergies. I will talk through these possibilities with you now and we do definitely have to consider an allergy to the new carpet here.Firstly - you need to make sure that Snoopie is definitely up to date with flea control. Make sure you are using a flea product appropriate for her weight. Even if you can't see any fleas on Snoopie doesn't mean there are one or two lurking and oftentimes this is all it takes for a cat with flea allergy dermatitis. Flea allergies are avoided by strict flea control - every 4 weeks with Advantage, Advocate or every 6 weeks with Frontline. You must also ensure all pets in the household are treated at the same time. I would also recommend washing her bedding and treating the house to ensure any flea larvae are also taken care of. We definitely need to consider a food allergy here as well. If you wanted to, you could undertake a diet trial with a hydrolysed protein diet like Royal Canin hypoallergenic or Hill's z/d. This would mean feeding ONLY this (no treats or stealing other pets' food) for 5 - 6 weeks. It is also possible that Snoopie may have skin mites or lice as they commonly cause areas of hairloss. These could be either Demodex (not itchy) or Sarcoptes mites (VERY itchy) and you should ensure a full Veterinary check up so that he or she can carry out a physical examination and possibly a skin scrape to check for mites and lice, as well as signs of fleas. The next step would be to double check for fungal disease (such as ringworm) and there are several tests for this including a UV light and a fungal culture. Finally, we also have to consider that Snoopie may be overgrooming due to stress. This is less likely if she seems content at home, but we do have to keep this in mind. This problem is called psychogenic alopecia and you can read more about this here: http://www.petplace.com/cats/psychogenic-alopecia-in-cats/page1.aspx You could try Feliway (a feline pheromone diffuser) to help rule out stress as being a causative factor in this problem. You can get this relatively cheaply from your local pet store or online at www.feliway.com As I say, it really would be a good idea to have a full Veterinary consult to check all of the above. I think a skin scrape and microscopy is definitely a good next step. Finding the underlying cause for these patches of hair loss is the key here. Let me know how you get on! Kind Regards, ***** *****