Treating Sarcoptic Mange in Cats with Revolution

Sarcoptic mange a disease of the skin caused by a parasite called the Sarcoptes scabei mite. This is why the disease is nicknamed ‘scabies’. The disease is very uncomfortable for cats and poses other medical risks. It can also spread to humans. Here's how to treat sarcoptic mange with Revolution.

Infestation and Spread 

The parasitic mite is transmitted though contact with an infested animal or human host. The mite is microscopic. In its reproductive cycle, the female mite burrows into the host’s skin and lays eggs which mature to adulthood and repeat the cycle. The disease goes away quickly in human hosts, because the mites cannot reproduce on human skin.


The main symptom is pronounced itching. The cat will scratch and chew itself constantly and probably break its skin with the behavior. These injuries can cause secondary infections.  Papules or small red bumps will surface around the ears, on the belly and the ankles. These will appear first on hairless or thinly furred parts of your cat’s body, because the mites prefer these sites. Over time the lesions will spread. Your cat will lose hair in patches, and you might see sores which have a crusty appearance. Take your cat to the vet for diagnosis if you see these symptoms. 


Diagnosis of Sarcoptic Mange can be difficult. Mites are usually found though a microscopic search of scraped skin samples, but this search may not succeed, because your cat may kill the mites by scratching. The itching will remain because of toxins left in the skin. More mites will appear later when new eggs under the skin hatch. A negative test is therefore not always a sure indication that mites or eggs are not present. In this event, your vet may begin what’s called a medication trial. This is a treatment course used after a suspicious negative test result, to see if treatment resolves the symptoms. 

Treatment with Revolution 

While many vets prescribe a weekly bath in a lime-sulfur dip for 1 month or more, or the use of an anti-mite drug called ivermectin. There is a new topical flea control product called Revolution, which is safe and has proven very effective in treating cats with sarcoptic mange. Revolution contains selamectin, a derivative of ivermectin. Normal topical application of Revolution will prevent an infestation of the mites. If your cat already has the mites, two doses in the same month (separated by about two weeks) will be required to kill them. 

Side Effects of Revolution

Some minor hair loss associated with treatment has been reported. 


Do not treat sick, weakened or underweight animals with Revolution. Ask your vet before using Revolution if your cat is pregnant or nursing.            

Preventing Sarcoptic Mange 

Topical application of Revolution will prevent an infestation of mites. Thorough cleaning and vacuuming of your cat's sleeping and living areas will also help. Treat all the animals in any household when one animal has been infested with Sarcoptes scabei mites. Keep your animals away from any animal you suspect may be carrying mites.