By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Canine and feline alopecia is a condition which can occur in both dogs and cats resulting in partial or complete hair loss. It can be caused by various things but a trip to the vet is definitely in order as it must be properly diagnosed to reveal the underlying cause and to prevent any damage to the internal organs.
It can affect any age, breed or gender and can approach gradually or all at once.
One of the more common causes in canines is due to mange, which is actually caused by a mite. This is why brushing a longer haired dog is vital. It can also be caused by an immune disease, hormonal imbalances, trauma, or from an infection such as from ringworm, fleas or parasites.
In cats, alopecia can result from hormonal imbalances, skin allergies, mange or, in older cats, from cancer.
Watch for isolated areas of patchy baldness or over the entire body. Skin may be itchy, bumpy, red and inflamed or scabby and crusty. There will be excessive licking of the affected area.
In cats, psychogenic alopecia is a type of obsessive compulsive behavior due to a high level of stress or anxiety causing the cat to over-groom an area causing patches of baldness and highly irritated skin.
Fortunately, both canine and feline alopecia can be controlled with the proper medication and home care.