Cat Mange Symptoms

Cat mange is a skin disease which is caused by two types of mites that feed on the cat's skin. The mites can be either burrowing or non burrowing mites. It's fairly easy to detect mange infection in pets due to external skin conditions. Although there are different types of mange infections, notoedric and demodectic mange is fairly common in cats.

Notoedric Mange

Notoedric mange is also known as feline scabies and is contagious in nature. It's caused by a mite known as notoedres cati which burrows into the cats skin and lays eggs that continues the mite life cycle. Pet owners that notice the symptoms of mange should conduct a vet check to start medical treatment. The initial symptoms are seen at the base of the cat's ears which spreads to the head and neck areas. Mange that isn't treated can spread to other areas of the pet's body and cause more skin damage.

Symptoms of Notoedric Mange

  • Itching of the face and neck
  • Thickening of skin
  • Crusty skin
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Other Types of Mange Infections

  • Otodectic mange
  • Cheyletiella mange
  • Trombiculosis

Common Cat Mange Symptoms

Cat mange starts with visible hair loss. Mange causes skin irritation and inflammation that makes cats scratch the affected areas excessively. The skin also becomes red and scaly due to the presence of bacteria. Along with skin inflammation around the neck and head, cats may also experience a condition termed as otodectic cynotis. This condition is caused by non burrowing mites that feed on the cat's ear tissue, ear wax and fluids. Few pets may experience more severe symptoms that include ear discharge and fowl smelling ears.

Treatment of Cat Mange

Most cats can be managed with proper home care and prescribed dips or medicated shampoos that kill bacteria. Since cats are very sensitive to insecticides or medicated products it's important to follow vet instructions while treating or bathing the pet. The most common treatment procedure is to use a sulfur dip known as Lymdip after bathing the pet.

Pets should be bathed and treated with the dip once a week for a period of nearly 2 months. Apart from sulfur dips (2 to 3 percent) several pets have been treated with amitraz dip and ivermectin. However this treatment may not be ideal for all cats as there are risks involved with ivermectin treatment. Antibiotic medication is also helpful to treat open sores and cure bacterial infection.

Mange Prevention

Cats that are infected with mange should be treated and kept away from healthy pets. It's best to also treat other pets living in the same household. Pet bedding should be washed or replaced and the surroundings should be disinfected to prevent re-infection. Certain commercially available products are safe for use as disinfectants in the home and effectively kill mites.

Since notoedric mange is contagious and causes itching in humans, cats with visible symptoms should be treated promptly. It's also best to keep children away from sick pets.