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Bald spot on cat's back.

Species: Cat
Breed: Gray, long hair
Age: 1-2 years
My friend's 1 1/2 yr. old cat has been losing the hair from it's tail for about 10 days now. He was an indoor/outdoor cat who roamed a lot. She said she mainly fed him dry food, but when he'd come to my house I'd give him wet food. I had him neutered for her on 4/13. He stayed at my house before and after surgery for about 3 days in all, and my 2 boy cats sort of terrorized him. Then he went home with her. Also, he had impregnated their female cat who had kittens at the beginning of May. She has the mom and the kittens separated from him. She continued to let him outside after he healed. Then she went on vacation on about 5/12, and I've been taking care of the cats at her house. A few days before she left, I noticed about a 2" bald spot on his tail which has increased over the week. It's about 4 - 5 inches long now starting at the top of his back. I'm feeding him wet food and dry food. He has a good appetite, and his stool is normal. But I'm keeping him inside and not letting him get near the mom and kittens. He doesn't seem to be distressed at all, except that he wants to go outside. Other than that he's acting totally normal. I also gave him an Advantage flea treatment on 5/16, and I've been applying hydrocortisone cream and aloe vera juice (just a little) thinking that fleas might be causing the problem. The bald spot was already there when I started these. The mom and the kittens have some fleas, so I figured he probably did too since he was going outside. His skin on the area where the hair has fallen out isn't crusty or discolored or anything. It's perfectly smooth.

Any suggestions? I'm worried about him.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question about your friend's cat.

The most common reason for a cat to have a bald spot on the back near the tail is definitely fleas. Often, one flea bite can set a cat off and it can often be really hard to see fleas or flea dirt. (However, if you do see any little black flecks that look like black dandruff then this could be flea dirt). Advantage is a good treatment for fleas so this really should help if this is the case. I would recommend repeating the Advantage treatment one month from now.

The hydrocortisone cream is a good idea as well. The aloe vera is likely not doing much and could actually cause some stomach upset if he ingests it so I'd stop that.

If he wasn't neutered I would be wondering if he had something called "stud-tail". This can cause a balding area on the top of the tail close to the body. But, this doesn't happen after a cat has been neutered.

Does this cat have any matts in his fur? If so, sometimes a cat can manage to pull out a matt, leaving a bald spot behind. If this is the case then it will take a few weeks before you start seeing new hairs grow back in and may take a few months to be fully healed.

Ringworm which is a fungal infection is possible but this usually causes some itchiness. It really doesn't sound like ringworm to me.

It sounds like you are doing the right things. If it's getting any larger or starting to get itchy then he'll need to see a vet though.

Hope he's better soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.