Cat Mange

Cat mange is a skin condition caused by mites. The type of mite that causes the infection determines the type of mange present. Pet owners can easily identify skin conditions caused by mange, as the symptoms are very evident. The types of mites that cause mange are classified as burrowing mites and non-burrowing mites. Mites that infect cats also differ from ones that infect other animals. Commonly known mites include Sarcoptes scabiei, Demodex cati and D. gatoi. Mange should be cured promptly to prevent the formation of secondary bacterial infections.

Types of Cat Mange

Although mange is less common in cats, young pets and certain breeds are more susceptible to mites. In addition, pets living within close proximity to dogs infected with mange can contract the infection. The types of mange commonly seen in cats include mange associated with ear mites, demodectic mange, notoedric mange and sarcoptic mange.

Symptoms of Cat Mange

The symptoms of each type of mange only slightly vary from the others. Symptoms of mange associated with ear mites include ear inflammation, itching, redness and discharge from the ear. Cats suffering from demodectic mange exhibit symptoms either all over the body or in localized areas, including hair loss, crusty skin, itchiness and skin lesions. The symptoms of sarcoptic mange include localized papules, excessive itching and all other symptoms of demodectic mange. Notoedric mange, also known as head mange, can cause excessive itching and bleeding sores.

Diagnosis of Cat Mange

The vet will perform a physical examination to determine the clinical symptoms present. A skin scraping test is then performed to analyze the cells under a microscope. Skin scraping tests reveal the type of mange infection present. Absence of mites during microscopic examination of skin cells doesn't indicate that the cat isn't suffering from mange. Cats suffering from severe demodectic mange are also tested for the feline leukemia virus and the feline AIDS virus to rule out underlying health concerns.

Treatment of Cat Mange Includes:

  • Use of a sulfur lime dip to kill the infection.
  • Antibiotic medication to cure secondary bacterial infections.
  • Use of medicated shampoos.
  • Application of hydrocortisone solutions to soothe itching and inflammation.
  • Topical antibiotic medication to treat open sores or lesions.

Lime Sulfur Dip

This is a medicated solution, available under various brand names, used to treat mange and parasites. The solution is generally diluted with water and applied to affected areas. Lime sulfur dips should be applied once every week for at least 6 weeks. The solution shouldn't be ingested by the cat and pet owners should carefully read and follow package instructions before using the product. Cats treated for mange require follow up skin scraping tests to determine if the infection is still active.

Home Care

Notoedric mange is very contagious and hence pet owners should treat all other pets living within proximity of the infected cat. Cat bedding should be washed and the surroundings treated with pet friendly disinfectants. Although long term prevention of cat mange is difficult, pet owners should keep healthy cats away from sick or infected pets.

Most cats respond favorably to mange medication. Pets that don't respond to treatment or that are suffering from frequent mange infections require other diagnostic tests to detect immune-suppressing disorders.