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Ask the Vet: Anti-anxiety Medication Helps Cat Relax at Animal Hospital

Dr. Lee Pickett on

If Liesl isn't scratching and her skin and coat look healthy, without any hair thinning, her shedding is probably normal.

On the other hand, if she is losing hair on her rump and she's scratching, she may have fleas. Combing her with a fine-tooth flea comb should extract fleas or their feces, which resemble specks of black pepper. If she has fleas, ask her veterinarian about an oral or topical medication to kill them.

A sparse coat in the absence of scratching may indicate underactive thyroid glands, called hypothyroidism, or overactive adrenal glands, referred to as hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing's disease. Both hormonal conditions are diagnosed through blood work and easily treated.

Another cause of thinning hair in dogs is a human's use of topical hormone replacement therapy. For example, when a woman sprays or rubs estrogen on her arms, she may unwittingly transfer some of it to her dog when the dog licks her arm or she hugs the dog.

In some dogs, improving the quality of the diet decreases shedding.


If you're concerned, ask your veterinarian to examine Liesl and check her lab work.


Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at

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