Cats, like dogs, can get mange, but it’s much less common in cats. The most severe case of this disorder will leave your pet wholly hairless and with highly irritated skin. Although stray animals are more likely to have mange, cat owners should be aware of the signs so that they can seek treatment for their cats before the disease becomes severe.
Since mange is rare in cats, owners aren’t always aware of it. It’s incredibly infectious and can spread from pet to pet, so get rid of mites as soon as possible. Mange can be successfully treated with a number of medications. Your veterinarian will assist you in deciding which is best for your pet.
Mange in cats is “the single most itchy disease a cat can get,” according to Scott Gavaletz, a veterinarian and owner of Branford Veterinary Hospital in Branford, Connecticut. That explanation should be enough to convince cat owners to do everything possible to prevent mange from harming their pets.
What Is Mange, and How Does It Affect?
A mite infestation is also known as mange. Mange is a skin disorder that affects a wide variety of species, including cats, but it isn’t a disease. Itching, flaking, hair loss, and inflammation are all symptoms of mange, which is caused by tiny parasitic mites biting your pet’s skin.
Scabies is a kind of mange caused by the Sarcoptes species of mite, also known as sarcoptic mange.
Demodex Cati (black mange) and Scabies Sarcoptes (red mange) are the two most common forms of mange. These mites burrow under the skin, causing severe itching and hair loss in cats.
What Types of Mange Do Cats Get?
Mange mites are tiny arachnids that burrow under the top layers of skin and cause irritation to the host. There are many forms of mange mites. Adult mites can lay eggs under the surface.
In cats, there are many forms of mange:
- Canine Scabies (Sarcoptic Mange): Despite the name’s use of the word “canine,” these mites can also affect cats. Cats commonly get them from a neighboring dog who is infected. They trigger scratching sores and hair loss.
- Feline Scabies (Notoedric Mange): Feline Scabies is not the same parasite as canine Scabies, although the symptoms are identical.
- Ear Mites (Otodectic Mange): Ear mites burrow between your cat’s paws. They usually affect the ear canal, but they may also affect the outer ear. They cause scratching and can cause eardrum damage in your pet.
- Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiellosis): These mites derive their name from the fact that they are tiny and white and move around a pet’s body. They affect a wide variety of house pets, as well as humans.
- Trombiculosis: Chiggers are the most common name for these mites. Before falling off, they bind themselves to your cat’s skin and feed on blood. They have the appearance of tiny orange ovals and can be found on your cat’s head, paws, or belly.
Feline demodicosis is caused by mites and can cause scratching and hair loss in sick cats, but it is not known as mange.
Signs and Symptoms
Mange symptoms are close to those of a flea infestation in several ways. Mange in cats can cause itching, skin redness, hair loss, skin dryness, swelling, and excessive licking or grooming. Restlessness, irritability, and soreness are also typical side effects of these symptoms. If the mange is not treated, symptoms will begin one week after exposure and may worsen.
- Scratching and itching
- A soiled face
- Scaling across the eyes, nose, and mouth
- Discoloration of the skin
- Raised bumps on the skin
- Excessive grooming or licking
- Loss of hair
Microscopic mites infect the skin of otherwise healthy animals, causing mange. Itching, hair loss, and swelling are all symptoms of the mites irritating the skin. Scabies, ear mites, and walking dandruff are all infectious because if a cat comes into contact with an animal with one of these types of mange, they can become infected as well. Since Scabies is a zoonotic disease, it can be transferred from a cat to a person and vice versa. Immunocompromised cats are more likely to develop an overgrowth of Demodex.
Mange can be diagnosed by looking at the mites under a microscope. Since Scabies and Demodex burrow under the skin, they must be identified by scratching the skin, but Cheyletiella and Otodectes may be swabbed out of the ear with a cotton swab.
Demodex cati are cigar-shaped mites with stubby little legs under a microscope, while Scabies Sarcoptes, Cheyletiella, and Otodectes are oval-shaped mites with several legs. Your veterinarian will decide the type of mites in your cat.
The treatment regimen can differ depending on the type of mite your cat has. Medicated shampoos and dips, as well as topical and injectable medicines, can be prescribed. Which treatment plan is used depends on the type of mites detected, the severity of the infestation, and whether your cat has secondary symptoms. Accessible soothing shampoos and sprays are often used to alleviate itching.
How to Prevent Cat Mange
Since most healthy house cats are not immunocompromised, they can tolerate a mite infestation. But, much like flea prevention, keeping a clean environment is critical in preventing your cat from developing mange. Washing your cat’s bedding in warm water with detergent and vacuuming the house on a regular basis are two simple things you can do to help avoid mange in your cat. This seemingly trivial information will assist in keeping your cat’s environment safe.
If you come into contact with cats that aren’t your own, whether by rescue work, working in a facility with cats, or outdoor petting cats, you’ll want to wash your hands before touching your cat.
Even though mange is a nasty disease that cats are prone to, the good news is that the average house cat who is good, lives in a clean indoor climate and is fed a high-quality diet should never contract it.