Alopecia, either spontaneous or self-induced, is a common presenting sign in cats. Definitions of alopecia and hypotrichosis and the clinical features of alopecia are given at the beginning of this chapter, followed by pathogenesis of the different types of alopecia. Clinical presentations of alopecia and its preferential localization in selected feline diseases are described, together with useful diagnostic hints coming from signalment and history. The diagnostic approach to alopecia implies the correct differentiation of the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying the clinical signs, which can be obtained by collecting history, examining the cat, and performing a microscopic examination of the hair. This is, in cats, a very important diagnostic test, which should always be performed at the beginning of the consultation, in order to differentiate spontaneous from self-induced alopecia. Dermatophytosis is very common in cats, and diagnostic tests to diagnose or rule out this disease should be carried out in all cases presenting with alopecia.
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