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Mange on Cats - A Mite Infestation

Mange on cats is a parasitic infestation of the skin. Common symptoms include hair loss, itching and inflammation. This skin condition is classified by the type of mite that causes it.

We are not talking about the common ear mite; ear mites do not cause mange. The pests that cause this condition are microscopic spider-like parasites that live on feline skin.

Feline scabies, also known as head mange, is a skin ailment caused by the head mite. This parasite reproduces only on felines and cannot live for more than a few days off the host.

These mites cause intense itching around the head and neck. Due to the incessant scratching, besides hair loss and bald spots, the cat may actually mutilate itself causing open sores and infected skin. Other symptoms include gray to yellow crusts around the face, neck and edge of ears. And, in extreme cases, the result is thickened wrinkled skin. Head mange is transmitted by animal-to-animal and is highly contagious.

Clip the hair around the affected areas and bathe in a mild shampoo to loosen the crusts. Then dip the animal in a 2.5% lime sulfur dip weekly. In order to reduce the severe itching, use a cortisone product. Infected sores should be treated with a soothing topical ointment.

This skin condition on felines does not itch as much, but is known as Walking Dandruff due to and unusual amount of dandruff on the back, neck and sides. These large reddish mites are also highly contagious, and can not live more than two weeks without access to a feline.

Humans can easily become infested and will have symptoms of itching and a rash that looks like insect bites.

All cats and dogs should be treated with either a shampoo containing pyrethrin or the 2.5% lime sulfur dip, weekly, for at least two weeks beyond the apparent cure. Humans will improve as soon as the cat is treated.

Commonly called Chiggers, are parasitic only in larval form. Cats pick up these barely visible mites prowling in grasslands in late summer or fall. These red, yellow or orange specs tend to clump in areas where skin is thin; between toes, around ears and mouth. Chiggers larvae feed by sucking on the skin which results in severe irritation, patches of raw skin and scabbed, draining sores.

Chiggers can be eliminated by one application of the pyrethrin shampoo or lime sulfur dip. Antihistamines or corticosteroids will control the intense itching. Prevention is the best medicine; keep your pet indoors during chigger season.

This non-contagious skin condition is common in dogs, yet rare in felines. The demodex mite is a normal resident of a felines skin, seldom causing more than a mild, localized infection. Most often this skin condition is seen in young cats causing a couple areas of hair loss, crusty sores and sometimes an infection. Usually within three months it clears up.

If these symptoms do not clear up within a couple months, it is best to seek the guidance of a veterinarian.

Similar in symptoms and treatment to head mange, this disease is rarely seen in cats, yet common in dogs.

It is always best to seek guidance from a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Mange on cats can be avoided if your pe remains indoors. However, regular grooming can prevent many of these disorders caused by mites.

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