Diagnosing & Treating Mange in Cats
Cat Veterinarian Serving Ijamsville, Urbana & All of Frederick County, MD!
Mite disorder mange, caused by both Demodex and Sarcoptic mites, is far more common in dogs than cats.
However, cats can encounter mange as well, making it important for cat owners to understand and be able to identify the signs. Luckily, they are fairly clear, so all it takes is a little knowledge.
At Village Vet of Urbana, we take your cats’ and kittens’ health very seriously, so we want to provide as many resources as possible.
The Signs & Symptoms of Mange
Three types of mange can occur in cats: demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange, and notoedric mange. They express different symptoms, making it simple to determine which type your cat has.
Demodex mites are somewhat common on pets of all kinds, and most of the time they’re somewhat benign. This is also the only non-contagious mange type in cats.
Mange caused by Demodex mites only occurs when either the cat’s immune system is compromised, or the mites are allowed to proliferate, or grow out of control/populate unchecked.
Symptoms of demodectic mange in cats include:
- Ranged hair loss, usually around the eyes, back of the neck, around the ears, and along the flanks
- Scaly patches of dry skin — often very itchy!
- Evidence of vigorous scratching, often abrasions or scratches
Caused by the mites Sarcoptes scabiei, you might better know the name sarcoptic mange by the term “scabies.”
Unlike Demodex mites, Sarcoptes scabiei are intruders and thus are always a threat to your cat. This is a quite rare condition and often requires professional or prescription treatment.
This type of skin condition in pets is also highly contagious. Symptoms are similar to demodectic mange but include some more drastic problems, such as:
- Patchy hair loss, usually on various parts of the body
- Red, raised spots on the skin, frequently on the inside of ears, along the abdomen and chest, and on the ankles
- Frequent and intense itching
- Dry, scaly skin sores
If you think your cat has signs of mange, contact Village Vet of Urbana immediately.
We treat pets from the Ijamsville, Urbana, Buckeystown areas, and beyond.
Notoedres cati is a mite unique to only cats, and while it shares many symptoms with demodectic mange, it’s very contagious, exceptionally uncomfortable, and symptoms worsen with time.
Notoedric mange can become quite severe and sometimes dangerous if left untreated.
Symptoms of notoedric mange in cats are:
- Intense itchiness, usually starting around ears and spreading to the entire face
- Considerable hair loss as the mites progress
- Thick, wrinkled, crusty skin that can spread rapidly
Mange Treatments for Frederick County Cats
While mange can be very uncomfortable for cats, all forms of mange are treatable. Treatment should be sought as soon as possible to reduce stress and discomfort, so it’s important to identify the signs early.
If you suspect mange, you should contact our vets as soon as possible! In the case of demodectic mange, the condition may simply run its course, as it often does.
It’s still vital to seek a consultation to ensure the mange is caused by the Demodex mite and that it isn’t caused or triggered by another illness.
Medical treatments frequently include:
- Prescription shampoos
- Lime-sulfur dips
- Topical prescriptions
- In the case of notoedric mange, it may be recommended to clip hair to reduce mite spread
Mange Treatment & Diagnosis at Village Vet of Urbana
Early treatment helps reduce the risks of contagion and helps your cat stay happy and healthy!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Mange
How long does it take to heal?
Proper healing requires staying on top of all necessary treatments. When properly cared for, most cats will heal within six to eight weeks. It’s imperative to keep the cat isolated from other cats or dogs in the house during this period to avoid spreading the infestation.
Can I still pet my cat?
Sarcoptes scabies mites can be transferred to human skin, so it’s vital to minimize contact as much as possible. After touching an animal with mange, washing your hands with soap and water is imperative.
Is mange painful?
Mange is considerably uncomfortable and may cause your pet physical pain and swelling. Cats in pain will often be lethargic, show a decreased appetite, withdraw, and significantly reduce activity.
They may also be irritable, more vocal, and more aggressive. Effective treatment will help minimize these symptoms and make your pet as comfortable as possible while it heals.
How do I prevent a recurrence of the infestation?
Prevention is always easier than treatment, and cat owners can help protect their cats from mange. Protecting their overall health and ensuring a healthy immune system is essential.
Ensuring your cat has a healthy diet, clean home, receives regular baths, and has no contact with infected animals will go a long way toward preventing a recurrence.
Does mange smell bad?
One of the most common symptoms of mange is the smell. This symptom results from bacteria and yeast that take advantage of the cat’s diminished immune system. The smell is often musty, unpleasant, and pungent.
Is mange more common in younger cats?
It’s common in younger animals with an underdeveloped immune system. It’s also common in older animals with a compromised immune system.
Thus, taking steps to strengthen either a younger or older cat’s immune system is one of the most effective strategies for preventing mange.