Cat Mange

"Cat Mange is a skin disorder caused by mites skin. It is uncommon in cats but can occur. Mites can cause a localize from of the condition that starts on the ear, face and neck. Left untreated it can spread throughout the body and become what is known as a generalized form of the condition. Common symptoms include itch, dandruff, hair loss and sores. Treatment is with a lime-sulfur dip and prescription medications."

Cat mange is caused by two types of mites, burrowing mites and non-burrowing mites. Burrowing mites burrow in your cat's skin forming tunnels in which they lay their eggs. Larvae emerge, develop to nymphs then adults. The non-burrowing mites feed on skin scales; some suck tissue fluid and several suck blood.

Pictures of Cat Mites

Pictures of Cat Mites

Types of Cat Mange

Ear MItes (Otodectic Cynotis) : Ear mites are the most common form of mange in cats. The mites feed on scaling skin. This is a different condition from head manage and is caused by a different type of mite that does not burrow into the skin. Common symptoms include irritation and inflammation of the ear canal. In severe cases you will see a substance oozing from the ear and red, scaly skin from secondary infections caused by bacterial or fungal infections.

Notoedric manage (also called head mange or cat scabies) : This type of mange causes hair loss and crusty skin from mites burrowing under the skin. It is very itchy and causes cats to scratch excessively. The scratching can cause sores and bleeding of the skin. This form of mange is very contagious and can spread to humans or other animals.

Rare forms of Mange in Cats

Demodectic mange: This type of mange causes hair loss and small red, inflamed patches of skin. It may be localized, meaning it is restricted to a small area of the body, or generalized, meaning that it covers a large portion of the body. In severe cases, a bacterial skin infection may occur. This condition is rare in cats.

Cheyletiella Mange (also called walking dandruff): Caused by a large red mite on the skin that produces flaking that looks like dandruff. Symptoms are usually seen on the back, neck and sides and include itching and red raised bumps. Although rare in cats, it is highly contagious for humans and other animals.

Chiggers (Trombiculid Mites): The mites look like red, orange or yellow spots on the skin. Symptoms are red sores, scabs and raw skin.

Sarcoptic Mange: Causes hair loss and crusty skin in dogs. Rare in cats.

Cat Mange Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will scrape your cat's skin and analyze the sample under a microscope for mites. The diagnosis for demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange is based on the type of mite that is found. Cigar shaped mites are demodectic and round mites are notoedric.

Since diagnosis are only accurate 50% of the time (mites may have been removed by your cat's constant scratching, leaving only itchy toxins behind), most owners will treat for mange and see if there is a reduction in symptoms.

Cat Mange Treatment

The preferred treatment is Ivermectin which your veterinarian will apply to the skin. For notoedric manage, it is usually given by injection, weekly for four weeks. An alternative that can be performed at home is a sulfur dip that can be combined with your cat's shampoo such as Naturasil for Mange.

To prevent recurrence your Veterinarian may also recommend a product like Revolution that contains the active ingredient selamectin.

Medicated shampoos may also be prescribed. Do not use products that have been prescribed for dogs on cats unless your vet tells you to; they may not be safe for use on cats. Dandruff shampoos can also help.

Cortisone may be prescribed to relieve the itching. Topical antibiotic solutions may be prescribed to treat any open sores on the skin, while oral antibiotic medication will be prescribed for any bacterial skin infections that may have resulted from excessive scratching.

Notoedric mange is very contagious, so all household pets should be treated, whether they have symptoms or not. Demodectic mange is not contagious so you don�t need to worry about treating other pets unless they show symptoms.

With any type of mites, all bedding should be washed in hot water and the surrounding areas disinfected. This will prevent reinfestation. To treat your cat's environment you might want to consider a product such as Benzarid which is made to safely remove mites from inside your home.


The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats
Prevention Magazine
Mueller, R. S. (Ed.)

Dermatology for the Small Animal Practitioner
Mange in Cats
King, Ron


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