ASK DR. CHIP - OCTOBER EDITION

Want to be featured in next month’s newsletter? Email our very own Dr. Chip at info@petsplusus.com and make sure you reference ‘Ask Dr. Chip’ in the subject line.

About Dr. Chip

Dr. Chip Coombs is Pets Plus Us’ Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), and has practiced veterinary medicine since 1976, initially in the United Kingdom, then in Western Canada and, finally, in Toronto, where he owned a multi-veterinarian practice for 33 years.


Question:

Hi Dr Chip,

My cat Jasper is losing the hair on the edges of his ears and as he is black it is really noticeable. I have taken him to the vet who gave me a cream to use (which I am useless at) and on a second visit a long-lasting antibiotic.  The hair loss doesn't seem to bother Jasper and I don't think he over grooms who knows what he gets up to when I'm at work). Could it be stress, Jasper was an outdoor cat in Australia and we now live in a condo in Canada, but the hair loss started about a year after we moved.

 Do you have any recommendations or is Jasper just going bald? BTW he is almost 5 and neutered.

Kind regards,

Joanna

Answer:

Hi Joanna,

It is difficult to answer your question without examining Jasper, so I will have to make assumptions. My overall impression is that this hair loss is likely normal and nothing to be worried about. However, this is based on the presumption that Jasper is NOT scratching at his ears and so there are no fleas, no ear mites and no ear infection. If your veterinarian corroborated that, when Jasper was examined, then that would be good to know. I am also presuming that the skin on Jasper face has no bumps, scabs redness or any other signs of infection or inflammation. In other words, everything about the ears looks normal, inside and out, other than the hair is sparse on the edges.

Stress can cause hair loss, but usually this is secondary to the over-grooming that results from the stress and the ears are not a common area for this to occur. If your veterinarian didn't make any comments about the state of the ears, it might be worthwhile to circle back and ask him/her what the cream was for. Cats, especially certain breeds like Siamese, Birmans, Burmese and Devon Rex have a genetic propensity to lose hair on various parts of their body. However, even DSH cats can have thinning of hair and around the ears or between the eyes and ears is one such area. If he doesn't bother the area and the loss is similar on both ears, I suspect it is "normal" for Jasper. Being black, makes it seem more evident, but at this juncture, I would not worry about it. If it progresses, is no longer symmetrical, shows signs of infection of inflammation, then I would have him re-examined.

Cheers,

Dr. Chip