Ask Seth: Itchy Cat After Hair Loss

My cat has some hair loss on his back and legs and itches all the time. What will the Vet need to do to determine the cause?

 

Seth,

My cat, Morris, has lost some hair on his back legs and his lower back and itches all the time.  He has never had this problem before and there are no new changes in the house.  He does go outside everyday so he may have picked something up outside.  I want to solve this as quickly as possible.  What will the vet need to perform to determine the cause of this?   

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From my experience your veterinarian will most likely do the following: 

Physical Exam 

Your veterinarian will perform an examination from head to tail. He will look at the cat's skin as well as all bodily systems. This is essential because the skin issue can be a symptom of a more serious, systemic disease. 

Skin Scraping

Under a microscope, a scrape will allow the veterinarian to see if parasites like mange, mites, or lice, are causing the problem. 

Cytology

Your veterinarian will take a sample of the cells from your cat’s skin and look for bacteria, yeasts, and/or white blood cells. 

Blood Testing

In some cases, your veterinarian may draw blood samples to check internal organ function, thyroid function, or red and white blood cell count.  

These tests will give the veterinarian a better understanding of what exactly is going on with Morris. If these do not diagnose a cause for his skin disorder, your vet may recommend other tests or have you see a veterinary dermatologist.

 

Seth Mayersohn, CVT

 

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