If your cat has a complete or partial lack of hair on their bodies then they are suffering what is commonly known as alopecia. This can be caused by scratching or chewing of the hair follicles, the failure to grow anything after normal hair loss, or diseases which cause the hair to fall out.
When your cat has alopecia – for no matter what reason – it will make them more vulnerable to the elements around them and possibly more irritable. Alopecia is also a sign that they are under high amounts of stress or live in an environment with people that mistreat them.
In order for your veterinarian to understand what is causing the alopecia they will need to diagnose the problem. The first step to doing this is to take a history of your cat’s medical status. They will need to know how long they have been losing hair, how much they have lost, if any has re-grown, if you think your cat itches, and if you have tried to use any medications.
After performing the complete history they will need to go through a perform a physical examination of your cat’s skin. They will need to learn the pattern that the alopecia has taken, what the skin underneath looks like, and if the hair is coming out easily or not. They will also look for fleas or other types of parasites.
There are some distinctive tests that they are able to use which will help to determine what might be causing the alopecia in your cat. These include:
Trichogram – a microscope that is used to examine the hair. This will help them to discover if the hair is falling out or being forcefully pulled out.
Skin Scraping – the is when the veterinarian will use a blade against the cat’s skin. It will remove a surface of the skin cells to find any type of parasite that could be causing the problem.
Fungal Culture – this will help them to know whether or not the cat might have ringworm.
Biopsy – the veterinarian pathologist will biopsy and examine the skin underneath a microscope. This will help to determine what type of alopecia they have.