Diagnosing & Treating Mange in Cats
Many people do now know that mange, one of the most common conditions diagnosed in dogs, can also affect your feline friend.
While mange is much rarer in cats, it’s certainly not unheard of. It is important for cat owners to learn which type of mange your kitty is suffering from and how to treat various forms of the disease.
How to Tell If Your Cat Has Mange
Use these signs to help you figure out which type of mange your cat has.
The most common form of mange in dogs is very uncommon in cats. Caused by Demodex cati mites, demodectic mange is not contagious. In fact, many mammals naturally have a few Demodex mites with no adverse effects. The problem occurs when the mite population increases far beyond average in immunocompromised animals. When this happens, the following symptoms appear:
- Hair loss around the eyes, head, neck, and flank
- Patches of scaly skin and lesions
Also known as scabies, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and can spread between cats and dogs. Young cats are the most susceptible to this skin disease. Sarcoptic mange is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, which live under your cat’s skin. These parasites are not found on healthy cats, so even when only a few invade, they cause a variety of skin problems, including:
- Intense itching, biting, and scratching
- Small red bumps on the ears, elbows, chest, abdomen, and ankles
- Patchy hair loss
- Crusty skin sores
Sometimes called feline scabies, this disease affects only cats, not dogs. It appears very similar to sarcoptic mange and is very contagious between cats. Notoedres cati mites, which cause notoedric mange, live out their entire lifecycle on a cat. Skin irritation occurs when mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Watch for these symptoms:
- Intensely itchy ears, which develop into itchy face, eyelids, and neck
- Hair loss
- Thick, wrinkled, crusty skin as the disease progresses
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What to Do If Your Cat Has Mange
The treatment your cat needs depends on his condition. Come to Germantown Vet to ensure a proper diagnosis. Then, you can begin the correct treatment.
In 90 percent of cases, demodectic mange resolves itself. If your cat’s condition sticks around, topical medication is typically all you need. More severe generalized mange covering your cat’s entire body may require long-term prescription shampoos and lime-sulfur dips to flush the mites away and clear up symptoms.
Much like treating generalized demodectic mange, you may need to treat sarcoptic mange with prescription shampoo and lime-sulfur dips. Expect treatment to last three weeks, the total lifecycle of Sarcoptes scabiei mites.
Parasites don’t live long outside the host, so to prevent re-infection after ridding your cat of mites, discard your cat’s bedding and wash your own bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach.
While the same insecticide treatments used to treat sarcoptic mange in dogs also kill Notoedres mites in cats, these treatments are too harsh for cats. Instead, the recommended treatment for notoedric mange is to clip all long hair off your cat, bathe him with a gentle cleansing shampoo, and apply a lime-sulfur dip. Six to eight weeks of treatment may be required.
Germantown Vet Diagnoses & Treats Mange in Cats
Even though mange in cats is rare, you can decrease the likelihood further still by keeping your cat indoors. If it’s too late and your cat already has mange, visit Germantown Vet for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment
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*Extractions and antibiotics are additional if necessary.
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