You’re sitting on the couch stroking your cat when suddenly you notice patches of missing fur or scaly skin. Could your cat have mange? This condition is less common in cats than in dogs, but your kitty is at greater risk if she spends time roaming around outside.
Felines can contract three different types of mange, so the symptoms vary slightly. Here’s what to watch for and how to handle the situation if you think your cat has mange.
If you’re concerned that your cat might have mange, contact the experts at Germantown Veterinary Clinic online today for help!
Signs & Symptoms of Mange in Cats
Mites cause mange, but the exact condition your cat has depends on which type of parasites have set up shop in your kitty’s fur.
Demodectic Mange (Demodex cati mites)
The signs and symptoms of demodectic mange include hair loss and patches of scaly skin.
The cigar-shaped mites responsible for demodectic mange make their home on many types of mammals with no ill effects. This means the condition is not contagious. However, if your cat is young or has a weak immune system, the amount of Demodex cati mites could get out of control, leading to demodectic mange.
Sarcoptic Mange (Sarcoptes scabiei mites)
The signs and symptoms of sarcoptic mange include skin rashes, patchy hair loss, and crusty skin sores accompanied by intense itching, biting, and scratching.
Oval-shaped, light-colored mites cause sarcoptic mange, or scabies. This type of mange is highly contagious and can spread between dogs and cats. Sarcoptes scabiei mites can even transfer to humans, though their presence is short-lived on human skin.
Notoedric Mange (Notoedres cati mites)
The signs and symptoms of notoedric mange include hair loss and intense itching that starts at the head and moves down the body. Thick, crusty skin develops as the disease progresses.
Round, microscopic Notoedres cati mites only infect cats, so notoedric mange is also called feline scabies. The signs and symptoms are very similar to sarcoptic mange, and the condition is also very contagious.
What to Do If Your Cat Exhibits Signs of Mange
No matter which specific symptoms your cat shows, act quickly to get your pet the care she needs to make a full recovery. Follow these steps:
Take Your Cat to the Vet
The treatment your cat needs depends on her condition. Come to Germantown Vet for a microscopic analysis of skin scrapings to determine which mites are causing your cat’s discomfort. Some mites are difficult to identify if they burrow deep into the skin, so visible symptoms also help with making a proper diagnosis.
In 90 percent of demodectic mange cases, the condition resolves itself. Otherwise, mange treatment may include topical medication, injections, prescription shampoo, lime-sulfur dips, and antibiotics to help heal secondary skin infections.
Perform At-Home Care
Because sarcoptic and notoedric mange are highly contagious conditions, you should discard your cat’s bedding and wash your own bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach to help remove lingering mites from your home and prevent re-infection.
You may also need to perform prescribed treatments at home, including bathing your cat with antibacterial shampoo and administering lime-sulfur dips. Some cats require a sedative to relax enough for bathing and dipping treatment. Your vet can offer advice about how to follow recommended at-home care.
Germantown Vet Diagnoses & Treats Mange in Cats
Even though mange in cats is rare, you can further decrease the likelihood that your kitty will contract mites by keeping her indoors. If it’s too late and you already see signs of mange in your cat, visit Germantown Vet for a diagnosis so you can begin the proper treatment. Call us today at 240-252-7467 to schedule appointment for your cat.