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What Is Mange In Cats? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
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Mange is a skin disease characterized by intense itching, lesions, and hair loss. Mange in cats is caused by a mite infestation that produces an adverse reaction in the cat’s skin. If you suspect that your cat has mange, it’s important to seek out treatment for the condition as soon as possible.
Of course, before you can access treatment, you must be able to recognize the symptoms of mange in cats. Recognizing the signs of this highly contagious skin disease is the first step toward coming up with a treatment plan and providing your cat with relief.
If you want to learn more about what mange in cats is and how it can affect your furry friend, this article can serve as a helpful resource. In addition to describing the most prevalent symptoms of mange in cats, we’ll also explain how to treat mange in cats. Read this article from start to finish to learn all about mange in cats or use the links below to skip to any section that interests you.
- What Is Mange In Cats?
- What Causes Mange In Cats?
- What Are Symptoms Of Mange In Cats?
- How To Prevent Mange In Cats
- How To Treat Mange In Cats
- Final Notes
What Is Mange In Cats?
Mange is a skin disease that can affect cats, dogs, and a range of other animals, including people. Some types of mange are contagious. Mange in cats is caused by a mite infestation, and the condition can bring about intense itching, lesions, and extreme irritation. The itching and irritation caused by mange can lead to self-inflicted injuries and hair loss due to excessive scratching and itching.
There are a number of factors that can lead to mange in cats. Cats that spend large stretches of time outdoors are typically more prone to coming into contact with the mites that cause mange. Additionally, since some mange is highly contagious, cats may contract the disease from other infected animals they come into contact with.1
Keep in mind that there are different types of mange, each of which can produce unique symptoms and health conditions. The different types of mange in cats are primarily differentiated by the type of mite responsible for irritating the cat’s skin. In the following sections, we’ll go into more detail about the different types of mange in cats and the kinds of mites that may be at the root of the problem.
What Causes Mange In Cats?
At its root, mange in cats is caused by a mite infestation. These mites can cause extreme itching and irritate the cat’s skin, potentially resulting in hair loss and other self-inflicted damage. However, there are different types of mange in cats. Below, we go into more detail about each type of mange in cats, describing both the particular causes and the symptoms1.
- Canine scabies (sarcoptic mange): While you may assume canine scabies can only affect dogs, the condition can actually affect cats as well. Sarcoptic mange stems from the sarcoptes scabiei mite, which burrows into the outermost layer of the cat’s skin and lays eggs. Clinical signs like pruritus and lesions may develop within ten days to eight weeks after initial infection.
- Feline scabies (notoedric mange): This is a rare form of mange caused by the notoedres cati mite. The symptoms of scabies mange in cats are similar to those produced by sarcoptic mites, with scabbing and hair loss typically concentrated around the ears, head, and neck.
- Ear mites (otodectic mange): This condition is caused by otodectes cynotis mites that infest and inhabit the cat’s external ear canal. Cats with ear mites tend to shake their heads and scratch their ears, sometimes to the point of self-injury.
- Walking dandruff (cheyletiellosis): Walking dandruff is most often caused by cheyletiella blakei mites, which are very contagious and can infect both humans and animals. These mites can cause severe pruritus as well as scaling, crusting, and cat dermatitis.
- Feline demodicosis: This condition can be caused by two species of demodex mites—demodex cati mites, which are regularly found on cats’ skin, and demodex gatoi mites, which are smaller, contagious, and generally found in younger cats. While feline demodicosis may not cause significant itching or irritation, it can lead to hair loss all over the cat’s body.
- Fur mites (lynxacariasis): While fur mites are a common condition, they only tend to be present in Australia, Brazil, and certain parts of North America, including Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Texas. This condition is characterized by salt-and-pepper coloring in the cat’s hair, along with mild to severe itching and hair loss.
As you can see, there are many types of mites that can cause mange in cats. Thus, if you suspect your cat has mange, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a vet who can differentiate between types of mange and come up with a treatment plan that effectively addresses your cat’s specific symptoms.
What Are Symptoms Of Mange In Cats?
In order to recognize mange in your cat, you must first understand what the symptoms look like. While the symptoms of mange in cats can vary depending on the type of mange they’ve contracted, many varieties of mange produce similar symptoms. Below are some of the most common symptoms of mange in cats2:
- Intense itching (pruritus)
- Scaling of the skin
- Skin crusts
- Hair loss
- Small bumps
- Fluid-filled sores
- Head shaking
It’s important to note that itchy cat symptoms from mange can sometimes be confused for cat skin allergies, dermatitis, or other common cat skin conditions. Consult with your vet in order to assess symptoms, reach a diagnosis, and come up with a treatment plan that addresses the underlying condition.
How To Prevent Mange In Cats
In many cases, mange in cats can be prevented simply by looking after their health and maintaining proper hygiene. In addition to providing them with a healthy diet and clean living environment, you should give your cat a bath periodically to ensure their coat stays in good condition.
Since most mange in cats is contagious, you should also keep your cat away from any animals with mange. If you have multiple pets and one of them contracts mange, make sure to quarantine them until the condition is resolved.3
How To Treat Mange In Cats
As far as how to treat mange in cats, you have several options at your disposal. The most effective treatment method will depend on the type of mange your cat has as well as the severity of the condition. If you’re not sure what type of mange your cat has, schedule an appointment with a vet. A vet can diagnose mange using a variety of methods, such as2:
- Physical examination
- Examination of skin scrapings
- Flea combing
- Tape tests
- Blood tests
- Stool samples
Once a specific type of mange has been diagnosed, your vet can recommend a treatment plan. When it comes to mange in cats, there are several treatment options available. The most effective and least toxic way to treat mange in cats is with vet prescribed flea medications that can also treat mites, such as Revolution, Bravecto, and Credelio. A veterinarian might also prescribe a topical ear mite treatment, depending on the type of mange.
Remember to always consult with a vet before administering treatment for mange in your cat. Certain treatment options may prove more effective if your cat has a particular type of mange or may conflict with your cat’s preexisting health conditions. Thus, it’s important to speak with a professional before deciding on any single treatment option.
As a pet owner, you want the best for both your cat and yourself. Mange can cause discomfort and irritation in your cat and, since it’s highly contagious, it can potentially spread to other pets and even humans. If you notice the symptoms of mange in your cat, it’s important to take action. Left untreated, mange can spread and lead to more serious health conditions.
Use Dutch to access high-quality veterinary care for your cat and take care of their mange. With Dutch, you can quickly schedule an online consultation with a qualified vet who will assess your cat’s symptoms, provide diagnosis, and design a personalized treatment plan for how to treat mange in your cat. On top of that, Dutch is the only pet telemedicine company to facilitate the delivery of medications to your doorstep.
Dutch connects pet owners with qualified vets who can treat all kinds of health conditions, from mange in cats to cat diarrhea. Contact us today to set up an online consultation and access top-quality medical treatment for your cat.
- Dryden, Michael W. “Mange in Dogs and Cats.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, 15 May 2015, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/integumentary-system/mange/mange-in-dogs-and-cats?query=mange.
- Dryden, Michael W. “Mite Infestation (Mange, Acariasis, Scabies) of Cats .” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, Aug. 2018, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/skin-disorders-of-cats/mite-infestation-mange,-acariasis,-scabies-of-cats.
- Weeks, E.N.I., and P E Kaufman. “Mange in Companion Animals.” AskIFAS Powered by EDIS, University of Florida, 6 Jan. 2019, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/IN953.