Cat Mites - How Do I Know if I Have Them Too?
by joe mitler - moosejaw sk canada
If my cat has mites how do I know I don't have them and how is it treated?
Answer from Cat Health Guide Editor:
Cat mites can spread from your cat to infest humans. If your cat is confirmed for a mite infestation, you should make sure you and your family members don't get them as well.
Cat mites, if transferred to humans can burrow themselves under the skin and cause severe itching. Human cat mite symptoms include bruise lines with visible bumps and itching which tends to be more common at night. Bruising, bumps and itch can appear on any part of the body except the face.
With passage of time, the burrowed mites become invisible due to skin inflammation. Lesions may occur at site due to scratching. If secondary bacterial infection occurs from scratching, complications such as fever and weakness will start to be noted.
Itching may occur for various reasons; it may be because of an allergic reaction to the mites, skin rashes or any infection that forms.
These symptoms aren't specific to mites alone, but in combination with a recent cat mite problem and symptoms such as lined bruises with bumps at one end or only bumps initially, the culprit may be cat mites that have transferred to you.
Permethrin is the medication of choice for a human parasitic infestation. A cream containing 5% permethrin such as should be applied overnight to each bump and then bathe in morning. One brand to consider is Nix Cream Rinse Lice Treatment
For children and older adults, Lindane Lotion
is a safe option. At least two Ivermectin tablets may be required to treat a severe condition, used orally a week apart. These need to be obtained from via prescription from a Doctor in the U.S., not sure in Canada.
Itching may persist for a couple of weeks after treatment due to any residue left under the skin by mites. In such cases anti-allergy drugs may be effective in relieving itchiness.
Be sure to treat your cat properly with a lime-sulfur dip, miticidal preparations etc as described below, Also disinfect the cat's environment
to keep mites that are living in the home from reinvesting your cat and yourself.
At a minimum, disinfect all bedding etc by cleaning in hot water with a disinfectants. Furniture and the floor can be disinfected by miticidal spray such as Benzarid
.Treating Cat Mites on Your Feline
There are two ways to know whether your cat has mites or not, by observing the symptoms or through examination under a microscopic at the veterinarian. Also, different types of mites can infest cats, so there is often a need to identify exact type to treat the cat mite problem properly.
Initially, s cat may not show any symptoms at all, but in heavy infestations or during advanced stages of the disease, a brown or dark waxy discharge is noted on the skin and lesions may appear at margins of the cat's ear.
An affected cat will frequently scratch its ear as the condition is extremely annoying for cats. Self injury is common and lesions and alopecia (hair loss) may spread to the cat head, neck, chest and abdomen. Either sporadic or distributed alopecia may present itself, beneath which lies signs of redness and bruises.
As far treatment is concerned, it is always recommended that a qualified veterinarian should attend to the problem. Once confirmed, lime-sulfur dips that are available over the counter such as Sulfadip
are recommended. Along with the dip, the administration of the prescription drugs ivermectin or selamectin may be required
If cat ear mites are confirmed, you can use any irrigating solution or de-waxing agent for cleaning the ears. Once the ears are cleared from debris and dirt mixed with wax, a miticide should be applied. It should be continued for at least 2 weeks, or as the manufacturer recommends.
To keep a cats ears clean consider Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse for Cats
and to kill any mites use Zema Ear Miticide for Cats
Ask your veterinarian an exact treatment approach and if the products mentioned here are right for your cat.
Wash all bedding and other components with hot water with a mild disinfectant. Treat your cats environment with a miticide such as Benzarid