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Cat hair loss on ears

Updated April 17, 2017

Hair loss on a cat's ears may simply be common shedding; however, the problem can also be uncomfortable and threatening for the cat. Noticing certain symptoms helps to find the root of the problem, but a vet should always be visited in order to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment for the animal.

Alopecia Areata

Considered an autoimmune disorder, alopecia areata is characterised by the cat losing patches of hair, particularly on its head, neck, and body. Unlike many other feline hair-loss problems, itching does not occur with this condition. Additionally, this condition is not a common one. The animal will usually recover by itself; however, a vet can still diagnose the problem by using either a biopsy or by examining the cat's hairs through a microscope.

Solar dermatosis

Also known as sunburn, solar dermatosis is more common in cats with white ears. The nose and ears will first experience redness and scaling in addition to hair loss, and then crusts and ulcers will form. Vets will diagnose the condition based on the cat's medical history and breed, as well as by conducting a physical examination and a skin biopsy. The cat will have to stay out of the sun, particularly during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and may be prescribed sunblock and/or steroids.

Erythema Multiforme

One of the more serious potential conditions, Erythema Multiforme is caused by a reaction to drugs or infections, as well as by cancer and other diseases. Vets examine the cat's history and symptoms, perform a skin biopsy, and make the final diagnosis by a process of elimination of other possible diseases. In addition to hair loss, the disease also causes lesions around the ears and groin and may spur on depression or a fever. The only treatment is to eliminate the underlying cause.

Ringworm

Ringworm causes hair loss that is usually concentrated around the cat's face, ears, and feet. Small patches of the hair fall out, and the skin that remains underneath becomes dry, flaky, and grey. Veterinarians prescribe a variety of different medications in order to eliminate the disease. Owners should heed caution if their cat has ringworm because it can be transmitted from animals to people.

Psychogenic Alopecia

Psychogenic alopecia manifests itself on any part of the body. When cats feel nervous, anxious, stressed, or afraid, they begin to excessively groom in order to relieve those feelings. Eventually, the excessive grooming, also referred to as obsessive-compulsive behaviour, causes the hair to fall out. Vets help the animals find relief for their problems by prescribing an anti-anxiety medication.

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About the Author

Jen Marx holds a Master of Arts in English and American literature. She is a consultant at a university writing center and has numerous print and online publications, including "Community College Campus News." Marx specializes in topics ranging from wedding planning to history to the environment.