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Hair loss and hyperthyroidism.

Species: Cat
Breed: short-hair
Age: 8-11 years
Dear Dr. Marie,
I have had my cat Cody for five years. He was a stray cat who was found behind an animal hospital. They took him in, cleaned him up, and gave him necessary shots. He has been a relatively healthy cat, though he has possible arthritis and other physical difficulties.

Starting around May or June of this year, he started losing fur in little clumps. Recently, that subsided but now he has a few spots on his back that look a little bare. What could be causing this?

FYI: He does have a thyroid disorder and is taking medicine: Methimazole-- 5 mg, 2x a day.

I appreciate whatever advice you can give. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Julie H.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Julie, and thanks for your question.

My first thought when I read your question was to ask whether you have had Cody's thyroid level checked in the last few months. Sometimes a cat's methimazole requirements can change over time. If he is actually getting too much medication this can cause some drastic changes in the coat.

If the spots on his back are mostly over the tail and up the middle of his back then I would recommend treating him with a prescription flea product. Some cats are so allergic to fleas that only one bite will set them off and cause balding in these areas.

Some cats can lose clumps of hair if their body is fighting some other type of medical condition. It would be a great idea to have your vet do some general bloodwork just to be sure that everything is ok.

I hope he does well!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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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.