Feline Endocrine Alopecia
Feline Endocrine Alopecia What is it?
In a nutshell, feline endocrine alopecia is pure and simple baldness or hair thinning. Much like human baldies who suffer from thinning hair up top the poor pussies affected by this condition also lose body hair. The term feline endocrine alopecia refers to the possible link between the animals hormonal system (its endocrine system) and the resulting baldness on certain parts of its body. The endocrine system in most land based mammals including us humans is made up of hormone producing organs such as the thyroid gland and pancreas. These glands all work together in a complex inter related way to regulate different hormone levels in the body. Problems with one organ will almost always create a knock on effect elsewhere in the body. There are however differing opinions amongst our learned friends in the veterinary world. Some are still uncertain as to whether the condition is in fact hormone related whilst others are of the opinion that it is definitely the case. However, most agree that stress can play an important role in feline endocrine alopecia.
How Does Feline Endocrine Alopecia Affect Your Cat?
Cats affected by feline endocrine alopecia are likely to lose hair inside the back legs and under body equally (bilaterally) down both sides. The effected areas will then most likely become pink and sore as the animal grooms them. It is often inconclusive as to whether any soreness or rashes are the cause or result of the condition. Furthermore there is a strong link between feline endocrine alopecia and a far more common condition known as “psychogenic alopecia”. This secondary condition is a result of cats over grooming themselves to the point of causing hair loss. The controversy amongst the veterinary community is as to whether the over grooming is a result of the feline endocrine alopecia or the cause of it. Furthermore, a lot of over grooming is suspected to be brought on by stress, which in itself is thought to effect hormone balance. What most are agreed on however is that stress usually comes into the equation and that is something most vets are likely to address in the treatment of the condition.
Feline Endocrine Alopecia Diagnosis and Treatment
Some cat experts and cat fanciers are adamant that many instances of feline endocrine alopecia are actually misdiagnosed cases of simple stress induced over grooming. There does not appear to be any way to prove that condition is actually hormonal apart from an examination of the hairs in an effected area by mobile microscope. Even then there is disagreement as to its accuracy. The most successful treatments are hormone based but their success may be more related to calming a stressed cat rather than correcting any suspected hormonal imbalance. Another form of treatment may involve “plugins” in the home which release pheromones. These too have a calming effect and have been shown to be particular successful with cats that may be stressed after a change of enviourment or suspected territorial issues. Medication may be administered orally or as an injection and hair should grow back within two to four weeks with a total recovery by three months. Most vets will monitor your cats general health during treatment because hormone therapy can have some severe side effects. If you need more information about feline endocrine alopecia there is a further article you may be interested in here