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How to Treat Mange in Cats?

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.

cute cat
What is Mange in Cats, or Demodicosis?
Common Causes of Mange in Cats
Signs of Mange in Cats
Diagnose of Mange in Cats
Treatment of Mange in Cats
Prevention of Mange in Cat

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.

Mange in Cats
Cats are suspectable to a variety of mites. The most common causes of mange in cats are as
Canine Scabies: Caused by Sarcoptes scabiei that usually affects dogs but is highly contagious to cats and humans. The common signs include sudden onset of itching. Infested cat tends to rub and bite, which eventually causes damage, redness, and sores on the skin. Hair loss is common. Disease conditions may aggravate if veterinary care is shunned and though rare can lead to death in severe conditions. It is zoonotic and can infect people. Humans display mild signs as compared to animals only developing skin lesions.
Feline Scabies: Infection originates from the head and neck but spread all over the body. Caused by Notoedric cati, it is highly contagious but rare among cats. Visible signs are intense itching, loss of hair, and crusty skin.
Ear Mites: Primarily affecting the ear canal, ear mites are equally.
Ear Mites: Primarily affecting the ear canal, ear mites are equally. common among cats and dogs. These mites cause inflammation of the external ear canal but can reside on the whole body. Shaking of the head and scratching of the ear are primary signs. In severe cases, there is inflammation of the external ear, profuse pus production with the possibility of a torn eardrum. Cats with ear mites should be treated at the earliest by an expert veterinarian to prevent auditory damage.

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.

Cheyletiellosis: Mites are white with four leg pairs and are seen walking on the cat's body, referred to as walking dandruff. They are non-borrowing mites that usually inhabit the back of the animal. However, signs in cats may vary from intense itching and crusty skin to no skin infection and irritation while acting as a carrier for further transmission. Cheyletiella species are contagious to humans; infected people may develop skin lesions due to hypersensitivity reactions.
Trombiculosis: It is a relatively different type of mange caused by larva of mites. Cats can acquire larva from the ground. These tiny larvae attach to the host, suck blood, and are visible as orange, red, static dots. They are usually present on the head, feet, and ears. Itching can persist even after the parasite has left the skin after engorging.
multiple breeds cats
The signs of mange are very similar to other skin disorders. So, lab tests are recommended before starting any treatment. Common signs shown by cats are:
Intense itching and scratching
Patches of hair loss (around eyes, head, and neck)
General restlessness and irritation
Licking and grooming
Wounds and swelling due to rubbing and scratching
Crusty and scaly skin
cat mange

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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cat mange

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.

Treatment of a disease is expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for the animal and the owner. Mites are highly contagious parasites. To prevention strategy is based on the following steps:
Isolation and treatment of infested animals: Infected animals are kept in quarantine and given medications to curb any further transmission of parasites.
Cleaning and sanitization of bedding and floor: Bugs hide in cracks and crevices of walls, floor, and bedding. So, it is crucial to kill all hidden insects or parasites by washing the infected area.
Keeping pets fit and healthy
To ensure the health of pets, owners should do the following things:
Provide a balanced and quality diet after consultation with your vet with an automatic feeder.
Guarantee socialization, walking and running activity to prevent obesity.
Pay regular visits to their vets.
Ensure timely bathing and grooming.

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.

Can Humans be harmed by Mange?
Mites can spread to humans from infested animals. But unlike cats’ mites cannot complete their life cycle on human skin. So, they only survive for 10 days and cause mild skin lesions.
What is cost and duration of treatment of mange in cats?
The cost and duration of treatment depends on history, previous medication, and condition of animal. In usual cases, treatment continue for 7 consecutive days. But in severe cases, where crusty skin, hair loss and skin inflammation are observed, veterinarians recommend 4-6 weeks of additional supportive therapy in addition to primary medication. Total financial sum of the treatment including cost of medicines, laboratory tests and appointment fee can accumulate to a whooping 300-400 dollars (may vary depending upon region).

The cost may rise further if the cast was not isolated and have transmitted the parasites to owner or other pets.

Amy Granger
Amy is an editor from iPetor, owns a 4-year experience in writing tips and tutorial for users. As a pet owner, she will share more pets care methods and recommend more useful products for all pet owners.
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