Managing Feline Hair Loss With Hormone Therapy

Cat Losing Hair

Understanding feline hair loss can help you deal with the condition effectively. Hair loss in your cat can be caused by many factors, primary a congenital condition. If your cat is suffering from alopecia, investigation and close observation will often be required to identify which of these factors is affecting her.

Different Causes of Feline Hair Loss

The pattern of balding can sometimes give you the first indication of what you may be dealing with.

  • A cat that has inherited hair loss may appear bald at birth or develop hair loss within 3 to 5 weeks of birth. Loss of hair can be observed on the head, near the ears, undersides, along the back or entire body. Discolouring of the skin may also occur along with seborrhoea and crust formation at later stages.
  • As a symptom of an underlying disease, your cat may develop circular bald patches in case of a ringworm infestation. She may bite and chew herself as a result of allergy or mange.
  • Alopecia localised around the ears or the head is a common occurrence with a strong possibility of complete spontaneous recovery.
  • Loss of hair around the genitals going all the way to the hind quarters, the undersides, thighs and tail can be pointing to a condition of symmetrical alopecia due to hypotrichosis. Other causes have been identified as Hypothyroidism, Hyperadrenocorticism or excessive shedding. You will observe that your cat's hair get pulled out very easily although very often the fur on the back stays intact.

Treatment for Symmetrical Alopecia

Feline symmetric alopecia is diagnosed only after other diseases are excluded. All other causes will first be eliminated with a series of tests and analysis. Skin scraping analysis, dietary changes, flea control methods and blood/serum tests will have to be conducted in order to identify the underlying cause of hair loss. Symmetrical alopecia is suspected to be caused by hormonal imbalance. Hormones such as thyroid, estrogen and testosterone are believed to be pivotal.

  • Your vet may prescribe an initial dose of 20 micrograms of Liothyronine (a thyroid hormone also called T3).
  • Sex hormones may also be used in combination to boost hair growth. Androgens such as testosterone and estrogens such as diethylstilbestrol may be administered in low doses.
  • 6 weeks will be the normal period of observation, after which depending on the response, further treatment will be given.
  • New hair growth should be seen within 4 weeks and a complete recovery can be expected within 2 to 3 months.

Possible Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

  • Cardiac Arrhythmia
  • Liver toxicity
  • Personality change
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Aggression

Though the side effects appear severe, most disappear soon after treatment is stopped.

Symmetric alopecia is more a cosmetic problem and not a serious condition. With proper treatment your cat can expect a complete recovery. It is important to note that relapses are common but with additional hormone therapy the prognosis is good.