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Charlotte Writes: "One of my cats pulls his hair, from the tail to the middle of the back. He has been doing this for the past two years that we have had him. Each time we go to the vet they say there is nothing wrong with the skin and that it is OCD. The hair in this area feels dry. We have gone through the process of determining if he is allergic to the food and no matter what food he eats he still pulls hair. Any suggestions?"

Amy Shojai, CABC, responds with her typical thoroughness. This form of OCD is called psychogenic alopecia. However, before diagnosing psychogenic alopecia, veterinarians must first rule out other causes, including allergies, arthritis-related pain, and stress-related grooming. The treatments are as varied as the causes. Read the complete details in this helpful Ask Amy feature for more information.


March 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm
(1) Pat Wolesky says:

Coco had bald patches on her sides and legs and I had no idea why. When I found out she was hyperthyroid, the vet who did the I-181 said that hair loss was very common in hyperT cats. Since the treatment she’s no longer over-grooming and the hair is growing in nicely.

March 10, 2010 at 12:26 am
(2) wyn says:

my friend’s cat had this same issue, her cat is an indoor only cat and was fine for the first year of her life and then suddenly she started pulling out her own fur till she had bald spots. my friend took the cat to a vet for an opinion and nothing wrong could be found. she and her husband were giving the cat frequent attention and the cat did not seem bored or stressed other than doing this. she finally traced it to an allergy brought on by a change in her diet. she changed the diet and the problem went away. so i would always look at whether you changed the cats food recently if anyone out there has a cat that develops this.

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