Spots of hair loss on cat’s legs, vet stumped?

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    Hi, I’m hoping someone might have had this happen before, and might be able to give me a clue as to the cause, because my vet seems stumped. And I can see why – it seems very strange. My cat (I have two, this only is occurring with one) has developed (over a period of about a month or slightly longer) several circular/oval patches of hair loss on his legs. It’s on both front knees and on one back knee, and smaller spots of really short fur on two of his feet. They were really bald but *maybe* the hair is starting to grow back a tiny bit now, at least in the front. Hard to tell.

    I have been through at least twenty checklists of skin diseases and afflictions online and in books and it doesn’t seem to fit any of them – it doesn’t fit the patterns for the hormonal or diabetic hair loss, and the cat doesn’t chew those areas or lick them at all as far as I can tell… they’re not red, bumpy or flakey. The vet ruled out about everything but possible autoimmune disease (which she said the pattern doesn’t fit, and I have read that as well – it doesn’t seem to look the same), and possible contact allergies (doesn’t fit airborne allergy symptoms). So she said contact allergies were the most likely cause, but nothing in our environment (apartment) has changed in about 4 years. The only difference in something he lays down on is that I used more fabric softener (have often used a small amount) on some of the blankets recently in an attempt to remove the hair in the laundry! So I’ve rewashed those all in hot water with very gentle detergent & no softener.

    Sorry this is getting so long, but I didn’t want to abbreviate in case something sounded familiar to anyone!

    So, anyway, I was starting to wonder if it is diet related. It doesn’t seem to be a food allergy, but maybe a deficiency? I started feeding my cats a diet version of their regular food (Royal Canin dry) in November/December. But I noticed that this cat (the other was again fine) had more dandruff on the diet food, so I mixed in some non-diet (both cats get the same food in 2 separate dishes) food – happened to be a ‘natural’ wellness type brand containing duck. The extra fat seemed to help his dandruff, but once the duck ran out I fed them the plain diet food again, and shortly thereafter it seems the spots appeared.

    My mother has an acquaintance who said her dog developed spots of missing hair and their vet said it was a vitamin deficiency but unfortunately my mother hasn’t seen her since to find out what vitamin! And, it’s a dog so they have different needs anyway…

    So – my question is – does this sound like a possible vitamin deficiency? As soon as I thought of this (yesterday) I bought them some regular food to add to their diet food… but I’m still researching this problem just in case it doesn’t go away with the rewashed blankets and food modification. I’ve hit a dead end with my online searching!


    Update – I received a phone message yesterday afternoon from the vet saying she’d been doing some research and thought it may possibly be autoimmune disease and we may want to start looking into steroid injections (but of course added ‘not to panic over the weekend’, as if!!). My cat is overweight and I don’t want to put him on steroids unless it’s absolutely necessary. I still don’t think his symptoms match those of the autoimmune diseases (lupus, pemphigus), but then again I’m not a veterinarian.

    I don’t really know what to do… I don’t know how to tell my vet that I’d like to look into it more before putting him on steroids. Also, I’d like to get him seen by the dr. at the office who he has seen before several times (there are about 6 vets in the office and he has seen four, but there is one we’ve gone to more than others… this latest one has never seen my cat before the other day when I brought him in with the fur loss)… but I don’t know how to get him seen by his more familiar vet without offending the other woman (though my cat’s health is much more important to me than offending someone, so I guess that’s my answer to that question!).

    So, anyhow, any advice/experience anyone could share would be helpful. THANKS!!!

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