Cat Mange: The Facts

Cat mange is an infestation with parasites called mites (Sarcoptes or Notoedres) in the cat’s skin. It is unusual in cats, but when it occurs, it can cause intense irritation and pruritus (itchy skin). The ears are often a major site of irritation.

If you think your cat could be suffering from this disease, call your vet for an appointment at the clinic. The diagnosis can be made by your vet identifying the mites in scrapings taken from the skin. If present, the mites can be treated effectively with medications from your vet.

Scabies

Scabies (also called sarcoptic mange as it is due to a parasite called sarcoptes) is an intensely pruritic skin disease. When cats are affected, it is very likely that they are also affected by an underlying disease weakening their immune system defenses.

Scabies is due to a mite that can also affect dogs and humans. The disease is highly contagious and is primarily transmitted by close contact but can also be transmitted by grooming instruments. Shelters and catteries may be the source of infection for other animals.

Skin changes may not be related to the number of mites present,as an allergic reaction to the parasite can also play a role in creation skin lesions.

You should begin to suspect that your cat may suffer from scabies in the case of (i)rapid onset of intense pruritus, (ii) potential exposure of your cat to another affected animal especially foxes and dogs (iii) skin lesions on the ventral portion of the chest, the elbow and hock and at the margin of the ear canal

In case of sarcopticcat mange , failure to find the mite does not eliminate the diagnosis. But your vet will be the best person to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Note that because of the emergence of resistant strains of mites, your vet may use a specific efficacious parasiticide that may not be effective to another cat in anotherregion.

Notoedric mange

Notoedriccat mange (also called feline scabies) is a quite rare disease in cats. As scabies, it is an intensively pruritic disease but it is caused by other mites called Notoedrescati.

The disease is highly contagious, usually by direct contact as the mite can survive off the host (the cat) for only a few days.

Notoedric mange may be present in adultscats and kitten.

Skin lesions , caused by the intense irritation and itching, appear generally first on the margin of the ear but spread rapidly to the face and the neck. Occasionally, lesions can be found on the feet and between the legs of the cat.

As opposed to dogs with canine scabies, cats with feline scabies have large numbers of mites that are easily found on ear scrapings by the veterinary surgeon.

Your vet will be the best person to do a differential diagnoses of these skin lesions and make sure your cat really suffers from mites and not food hypersensitivity, infection of the ear, other parasites, contact allergy or, fight wounds, etc.

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