If your pet has been losing its hair at an alarming rate or developing bald spots in unusual places, it could be the sign of an underlying disease or an allergy. Luckily, most cases of rapid hair loss in pets has to do with allergic reactions to fleas. However, you should not play pet doctor. Only a complete diagnoses from a veterinarian will be able to determine what actually is causing your dog or cat to lose its hair.
What causes dogs and cats to lose hair? Aside from flea allergies, hair loss in dogs and cats could be caused by the following: skin parasites and infections, allergies, poor nutrition, hormone deficiencies, blood flow, reaction to pet medications, or even anxiety.
Evaluating hair loss in dogs and cats: By studying your pet’s hair loss patterns a veterinarian will be able to determine the cause. Hair loss in dogs and cats can be classified as follows: thinning hair all over the body, thinning on the back and sides, thinning on the ears and/or along the neck, thinning under the belly. In addition, complete hair loss on the tail except for the tip. Baldness might occur on the abdomen, fore legs, along the back of the hind legs or over the scrotum.
Fleas will cause a pet to chew off hair and leave bald, patches over the base of the tail, inside the back legs, and on the abdomen. Pets suffering from high cortisol and Cushing’s disease exhibit thin skin and hair loss along the back and sides, and down the tail, but not on the tip of the tail. Pets with low thyroid and hypothyroid disease will have thick skin, gain weight and have dull, thinning hair over the back and sides.
How to treat hair loss in dogs and cats – once your veterinarian determines the cause of the hair loss, he or she will be able to recommend a remedy. In the case of fleas, your veterinarian might recommend one or more of the following: flea and tick products for dogs or flea and tick products for cats
If your dog’s or cat’s hair loss is due to skin diseases, your veterinarian might recommend a diet rich in antioxidants for dogs or antioxidants for cats, phytonutrients such as Missing Link Canine Plus for dogs, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for dogs and cats.
In summary, rapid hair loss in dogs and cats can be caused from skin diseases, high cortisol, fleas, or anxiety which is the most common cause. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause by studying the hair loss pattern. In the case of fleas, the treatment will involve killing the fleas and a preventative strategy such as flea collars, and topical or oral medications. If the hair loss is caused by a skin disease, adding antioxidant and phytonutrient rich foods along with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids will help greatly. Pet calming medications or supplements can help reduce a pet’s anxiety levels that might be causing it to lose hair.