Medical Information Cards N°02. How to avoid the inconveniences associated with moulting in our animals?


Twice a year, our pets (dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets) will experience a moulting period. Although quite natural, this fall of hair can have harmful consequences for our companions, especially those such as rabbits or cats who pay particular attention to their toilet and can absorb a great amount of hair on this occasion .


In Spring and Autumn, our pets are going to make new skin in order to prepare themselves better to withstand the climatic variations to come.

Animals leaving little or not at all undergo less temperature variations than those frequently outside. They can thus lose their hair more regularly throughout the year outside the "traditional" moulting periods.


When a large amount of hair is absorbed by licking, it can become localized in the digestive tract of an animal and behave like a foreign body.

This phenomenon is mainly found:

- In animals with a very marked grooming behavior:

Cats or rabbits particularly attentive to their toilet can absorb a lot of hairs by licking themselves.

- In parasitized animals (presence of scabies, fleas, cheyletiellosis ...) which pluck the hair by scratching and swallowing a large amount.

These hairballs are sometimes relatively well tolerated, at least at the beginning of their evolution (especially when they are present in the stomach) but without the rapid introduction of a treatment, the symptoms may increase Akin to those of a true occlusion:

- In rodents (rabbit, chinchilla, guinea pig, hamster ...), these hair "balls" will cause transit problems: gastric stasis (slowing digestive transit and accumulation of food in the stomach) may follow their absorption.

These digestive disorders will be accentuated in rodents who drink little and receive a diet low in cellulose and fresh greenery: the transit is slowed even more and the balls of hair contained in the stomach dehydrate giving birth to very compact clumps called hairballs.

The animal then makes small very hard and dry droppings or even more droppings at all; It becomes less vivid and gradually loses the appetite.

- In cats, the disorders associated with the presence of trichobezoards are those of chronic gastritis (chronic inflammation of the stomach): the animal eats less well, vomits regularly ... (hair can be found in its vomit or its stool)


The maintenance of the hair passes by brushing or regular combing of your pet.

If animals with medium or long hair are to be regularly brushed, those with short hair also require some attention.

Indeed, the brushing of course allows to preserve a beautiful dress but that is not all.

Beyond the purely aesthetic aspect, regular brushing allows:

- Removal of dead hairs and dirt settling in the coat

- Avoid the formation of not only unsightly knots and knots but which can also make the animal suffer (these knots pull on the skin)

- Check the absence of parasites in the coat of your animal (fleas, ticks, Augustats ...)

- To considerably limit the absorption of bristles and the formation of trichobezoards and their disadvantages

The ideal is to quickly accustom your companion to be brushed. This grooming can then become a real moment of complicity.

Gloves, cardigans or curls?

On the material side, in short-haired animals, you can use a glove or a rubber curler. For those with medium or long hair, you will choose a card (This is a brush with very soft pimples). A comb (thin and / or spaced teeth) will complement the panoply.

The rhythm of brushing will of course depend on the nature of the hair: from monthly to the short (rhythm accentuated during moulting period), it is established once a week on average for the mid-length and twice for the long. It will become daily or even bi-daily during the moulting.

The easiest way is to put your pet on a table so that it is at your height. Start with the back of the animal, brushing in the direction of the hair and then back up. Then go through the comb. Do not forget the panties and the back of the ears.

Sometimes the hair must be shorn for lack of maintenance. This is the case when the nodes are practically "glued" to the skin. In this case, only a shaved mowing makes it possible to remove these large piles of hair.

Be careful, in this case, not to use scissors: the waddings are often present in areas where the skin is very thin and you risk cutting your pet!


Various measures can be introduced to combat the presence of hairballs when they have not yet affected the general condition of the animal:

- An increase in transit is, in this case, sought to eliminate them through natural channels:

* Lubrication of the digestive walls,

* Increased transit through drug therapy,

* Increase the amount of fiber in the diet thanks to leeks, courgettes, endives ...

These curative measures put in place quickly will limit the risks of evolution towards occlusive disorders and the surgery sometimes necessary to treat them.

So do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice on any vomiting of hair or when hairs are found in the feces of your pet. He will be able to tell you a treatment to be put in place to try to eliminate these hairs by the natural ways

(Remember that the specific anatomy of the rabbits does not allow them to vomit and that the vomiting of the hairs can not therefore be a sign of the presence of trichobezoards in them. Any modification of the transit of your rabbit must therefore alert you to the possible presence of Balls of hair in the digestive tract (harder, drier than usual, or very small amounts ...)

Some measures may limit the risk of occlusion due to the absorption of hair by our animals during their moult periods such as:
- Twice-daily brushing of long-haired animals to minimize hair ingestion
- The regular distribution of a veterinary specialty helping to migrate these hairs in animals which vomit regularly (paraffin oil in gel, ésérine ...)