Causes of Hair Loss on a Cat's Leg

Written by janet hunt
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Causes of Hair Loss on a Cat's Leg
There are several common causes for feline hair loss on the legs. (cat image by Darren Ager from

Another name for hair loss is "alopecia." Alopecia is not a disease in itself but is a symptom. Your cat relies on you for proper care and nutrition. Loss of hair on the cat's leg can be a cause of concern to pet owners. Proper diagnosis of the problem by a qualified veterinarian is necessary to determine the proper treatment of your cat's skin condition. There are several common causes for feline hair loss on the legs.

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Flea Dermatitis

Most cats are allergic to fleas. The hypersensitivity to these flea bites can cause painful allergic reactions in cats. Cats affected by flea dermatitis often have raised bumps that may scab over when the cat bites at the affected skin and then cause skin wounds that make the hair fall out, causing bald spots on the cat. If you see fleas on your cat, it is important to get treatment for the cat right away. An effective treatment plan must also include treating the environment, including any bedding items. If the skin becomes infected, an antiobiotic prescription may be necessary.

Endocrine Alopecia

Endocrine alopecia is caused by a hormonal imbalance in cats. It is seen more often in cats that have been spayed or neutered. The hair will often thin in the trunk area, along the legs, the tail and near the genitals. If your cat's hair loss is caused by endocrine alopecia, you will probably not notice a rash or scratching. Diagnosis of endocrine alopecia is made by a veterinarian after first ruling out other medical conditions. Veterinarians may treat this condition with hormone injections. However, before deciding to give your cat hormone injections for this condition, you should know that hormone injections can sometimes cause serious side effects such as liver damage.


Ringworm is one of the most common causes of hair loss in cats. It is caused by a fungus that invades the skin, claws and hair of cats. There are three main types of ringworm in cats: microsporum canis, trichophyton mentagrophytes and microsporum gypseum. Microsporum canis is the most common ringworm species. This species is exclusive to cats, causing up to 98 per cent of cat ringworm infections. Trichophyton mentagrophytes is a ringworm species caused from exposure to rodents or a rodent habitat. Microsporum gypseum is caused by exposure to contaminated soil.

The symptom of ringworm in cats is hair loss in circular patches over the limb area, head and other parts of the body. These patches can be red and itch. A veterinarian can prescribe a treatment such as anti-fungal shampoo or an anti-fungal cream containing the drug griseofulvin, terbinafine or ketoconazole. The bedding and home environment of cats infected with ringworm must also be treated to get rid of the fungus.

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