You Make The Diagnosis: Cat With Hair Loss On Both Rear Legs

Pictured below are the back legs of a cat who suffers with diabetes mellitus.  Notice the areas of hairloss below the hock (tarsus) on each leg.  Examine the picture closely and then answer the following question, what is the cause of the hair loss? 

Diagnosis:  Diabetic Neuropathy

When cats experience high levels of glucose in their blood stream, the glucose affects nerve function. Instead of walking on their toes, a cat with diabetic neuropathy will walk down on the lower part of their leg.  It resembles the way a rabbit moves.  Over time, the abnormal motion causes hairloss over the lower part of the leg. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.