Feline Endocrine Alopecia

Feline Endocrine Alopecia is a skin disorder in which extensive hair loss is seen. Under normal circumstances hair follicles will grow and eventually fall out, at which point new hair follicles grow to replace lost follicles. With alopecia (baldness) new hair follicles do not grow back when older hair follicles fall out. Thus you will begin to see emerging bald patches. Such hair loss is usually seen on the abdomen, thighs and underside of the tail. Hair loss is usually symmetrical as well.

The endocrine system is the chemical control center of the body. This system controls hormones that are released into the body. The hormones then regulate different body functions. Certain hormones of the endocrine system are associated with hair growth. It is when there are non-normal levels of these hormones that we see this type of baldness known as Endocrine Alopecia.

There is also a similar disorder called Psychogenic Alopecia. This condition causes baldness in a similar fashion to Feline Endocrine Alopecia. However the cause is very different. Psychogenic Alopecia is an obsessive compulsive disorder which is usually brought on by some new stress or anxiety in the cat’s life. This stressor could be anything from moving into a new home or the addition of a new animal into the home. This stress causes excessive grooming to the point of alopecia (baldness).

Symptoms to look for:

  • Baldness in a symmetrical fashion found on the abdomen, thighs and tail

Treatment:

Feline Endocrine Alopecia is usually a diagnosis made after ruling out all other possible causes. Treatment for Endocrine Alopecia usually consists of hormone therapy. Treatment for Psychogenic Alopecia usually consists of hormone therapy, anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. If you think your pet has any sort of alopecia contact your veterinarian.