Updated by Amy Granger on Sep 26, 2021
Mange in cats is one of the most grueling disease to counter and treat. Despite its uncommon occurrence the rapid onset, contagiousness and severity of disease poses a serious challenge to vets and pet owners. Though causing moderate itching in start, it may prove fatal if left untreated.
Mange is a skin disorder caused by mites. It is characterized by intense itching and scratching, crusty skin, and hair loss. Although mange is more prevalent in dogs, it is not unheard in cats.
Mites are highly contagious, microscopic parasites. They are readily transmissible and are frequently seen in pets that encounter infected stray and wild animals. Mite infestation can make your cat restless and aggressive. Initial signs include mild scratching and rubbing bit infection quickly spreads all over the body with multiple patches of hairless and crusty skin.
Fortunately, mange is curable given proper veterinary attention. Isolation of the infected and treatment by an authorized vet are essential for the better health of your feline pals.
Demodectic Mange: Demodex mites, the causative agents of feline demodicosis are normally present in cat fur. Two species of Demodex mites, Demodex Cati and Demodex Gatoi are guileless under normal conditions but pose a threat in case of life-threatening infections and compromised immune systems.
Often limited to the head and neck, it may propagate to the whole body. In appalling conditions (owing to immunodeficiency), it proliferates all over the body, causing extensive hair loss, formation of fluid-filled sores and scales on the skin. In such cases, the prognosis is often grave so, avoid self-medication.
Diagnosis is based upon physical examination and laboratory tests. Mange shows very similar signs to other skin diseases, so veterinarians recommend lab tests prior to initiation of treatment.
Microscopic examination of skin scrapingsis a simple method used to identify skin parasites (including mites). Mites can also burrow inside the skin and may not appear in microscopic examinations (even if signs are suggestive). Some cats don't exhibit signs of infestation (even in the presence of mites). In these circumstances, vets can start a trial treatment period under strict supervision. In these exceptional situations, some clinics may advise blood and urine tests for confirmation.
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Treatment must be inclusive of all humans and animals in contact with the infested cat. The final treatment plan depends upon the physical condition of the diseased animal, the severity of the disease, and its interaction with other animals and humans.
Veterinarians prescribe topical medicines such as medicated shampoos and anti-mite dips in most conditions. Based on the severity of the disease and the presence of secondary bacterial and viral infections, veterinarians also direct the use of oral and injectable drugs. Trimming of hair and removal of dirt from fur is crucial before the application of tropical medicine.
Severely affected cats have open wounds and crusty skin that cause pain (on bathing and treatment) and heal slowly. In such cases, vets include anti-inflammatory and sedative drugs in treatment to alleviate pain. In addition, owners are advised to sanitize infected areas and bedding thoroughly to prevent any relapse.
Better nutrition and hygienic conditions are not only good for animal health but also helps to strengthen bond of friendship between the pets their owners.
The cost may rise further if the cast was not isolated and have transmitted the parasites to owner or other pets.