An approach to feline alopecia

image of An approach to feline alopecia
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Alopecia is defined as a lack of hair in normally haired areas. Alopecia can be partial (hypotrichosis), with thinning of the hair coat, or it may be total, with complete loss of hair. Alopecia is a common clinical presentation in cats affected by skin diseases, and its clinical and diagnostic approaches are somewhat different from those of canine alopecia. The most common form of feline alopecia is self-induced, with normal hair being removed because of pruritus. Thus, the cause of the pruritus needs to be diagnosed properly and addressed. Given that pruritus can be caused by many different diseases, a systematic and logical approach is extremely important. This chapter looks at Differential diagnosis; Clinical approach; Congenital alopecia and hair abnormalities; Alopecia due to self-trauma; and Spontaneous alopecia due to loss of existing hair.

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11.2 Abyssinian cat affected by self-induced alopecia. This breed is predisposed to psychogenic alopecia. In this case, the condition developed after the cat was moved to a different country and resolved spontaneously several months after the family settled in.
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11.3 Fractured hair shafts obtained from a cat affected by alopecia due to self-trauma. Most of the affected hairs are expected to have this appearance in self-inflicted alopecia. Several telogen bulbs, which are typically spear-shaped, rough-surfaced, usually straight and non-pigmented. Telogen bulbs are typical of inactive hairs and represent a large majority (80–90%) of hairs found in a normal trichogram. However, finding all the hairs on a trichogram in telogen is suggestive of spontaneous alopecia, with loss of existing hair. Anagen hair bulb, typically round, pigmented and bent to one side. Anagen bulbs are characteristic of actively growing hairs.
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11.5 A 9-month-old cat affected by sebaceous gland dysplasia. Generalized hypotricosis and seborrhoea can be noted.
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11.6 Cat affected by self-inflicted alopecia over the ventral abdomen. Note the residual secondary hairs and the non-inflammatory, symmetrical appearance of the affected skin.
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11.8 Self-induced partial alopecia with a symmetrical distribution over the dorsum and lateral thighs in a cat affected by psychogenic alopecia.
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11.9 Focal, asymmetrical partial alopecia in an Exotic Shorthaired cat with demodicosis (). All cats in this cattery were affected.
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11.10 Self-induced partial alopecia in a cat affected by an adverse food reaction.
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11.11 Self-induced partial alopecia in a cat affected by environmental atopic dermatitis.
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11.12 Self-induced partial alopecia in a cat affected by flea bite hypersensitivity.
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11.13 Focal partial patchy alopecia, hyperpigmentation and scaling in a cat affected by dermatophytosis.
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11.14 Total alopecia, miliary erosions and serous crusts affecting the ventral abdomen (note the typical periareolar lesions) in a cat affected by pemphigus foliaceus.
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11.15 Diagnostic approach to self-induced alopecia.
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11.17 Siamese cat affected by iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism and diabetes mellitus as a consequence of long-term treatment with high-dose glucocorticoids. Note the alopecia and partial folding of the left pinna.
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11.18 Alopecia of the ventral thorax in a cat with pancreatic paraneoplastic alopecia. Note the shiny appearance of the alopecic skin that is typical of this condition.
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11.19 Alopecia and mild erythema of the left shoulder and thorax in a cat affected by epitheliotropic lymphoma. The focal lesions are biopsy sites.
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11.20 Generalized alopecia in a cat with feline immunodeficiency virus infection.
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11.21 Injection site reaction with well circumscribed partial alopecia and focal miliary crusting, typically affecting the dorsocervical interscapular region.
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11.22 Feline tail gland hyperplasia (stud tail) with partial alopecia, matted hairs, scales and follicular casts. This entire male Norwegian Forest cat lived in a cattery and was used for breeding.
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11.23 Feline idiopathic ulcerative dermatitis. Note the well demarcated ulceration with full thickness necrotic crust. A hypersensitivity reaction to a component injected subcutaneously was proposed as the cause of the condition.
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