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Notoedric mange, also known as feline scabies, is caused by the mite Notoedres cati. These microscopic monsters attach themselves to your cat’s skin and, after mating, the female mites burrow beneath the skin. While all cats may contract notoedric mange, younger kitties are at greater risk. This nasty little bug is highly contagious and can spread from cat to dog or person.
Mange can either be localized or affect specific areas of your cat’s body. In early, localized form, your pet may exhibit changes in behavior because the mange causes her to be so itchy. The areas she scratches will develop red papules resembling small pimples that will eventually crust over. In time, the impacted skin will become thickened and wrinkled. The symptoms from mange are thought to be the result of an allergy to the mite itself.
If the mange is left untreated, it will eventually spread throughout the rest of the body. Your cat’s hair may become matted; crusted sores will be seen on her forelegs, paws, and lower stomach. The itchiness will intensify, making her very uncomfortable.
In order to diagnose your cat, your veterinarian will perform a very thorough physical exam, ask about her behavior, and take skin scrapings of the affected areas. Your veterinarian may recommend other tests specific to your pet’s symptoms and the severity of the infestation.
The treatment for notoedric mange varies depending on the level of infection and your cat’s particular situation. It typically includes specialized shampoos or dips, topical preventives for fleas and heartworm, and regular vacuuming and cleaning of your cat’s bedding. In some situations, if a secondary bacterial infection has occurred, additional medications such as antibiotics are prescribed.
The best preventive for notoedric mange is to keep your pet away from infected animals! Mites do not survive long in the environment, so direct contact is necessary for infection.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
The general symptoms of mange include:
But let's talk about what unique symptoms different species of mites cause so you can better identify the pesky creatures giving your cat a hard time.
Ear mites - Different types of mites can cause irritation to the ears, head, and neck. To complicate matters, ear mites can spread to the rest of the body with time. Thankfully, they're easy to identify by the red-brown or black crust that forms inside the ear and little black bumps that look like coffee grounds. Other symptoms of ear mites include frequent head shaking, excessive ear and head scratching, abrasions and scratches on the back of the ear, and crusting and scaling of the skin.
Notoedres cati - “Feline scabies” is characterized by hair loss starting at the face and neck, which spreads rapidly down the body. As the mange progresses, the skin will thicken and form a grayish-yellow crust. Serious cases usually involve sores and secondary infections caused by the cat scratching and grooming.
Demodex mites - Symptoms of demodectic mange are similar to feline scabies, but demodex mites are less common. Treatment for these two types of mites will be similar.
Cheyletiella - Cheyletiella mites are more like fleas in that they only live on the surface, and the way you spot them is by looking for little flakes of dandruff that look like they're moving on their own. Those are the mites moving through your cat's hair. Upon closer inspection, you may see a tiny yellow mite. The most characteristic symptom of this type of infestation is dandruff flakes.
If your cat has open sores or significant hair loss, be sure to visit a holistic veterinarian for treatment. Your cat may need a medication to fend off a secondary infection. Also visit a veterinarian if there's prolong, excessive head shaking.
Mites are communicable, so if your cat has recently visited a boarding or grooming facility, there's a logical explanation for the presence of mites. Mange also more commonly affect kittens due to their vulnerable immune systems and proximity to other cats (including their mothers) at a young age. However, if you can't think of a ready explanation for why your cat has mange, you may want to visit a holistic veterinarian and make sure there are no underlying immune system issues.
You may want to consider whether a skin reaction that looks like mange could potentially be allergies. Your cat may be sensitive to a new food or cat litter, so if you've made any changes lately, big or small, you may want to try removing the new item for a week or two to see if symptoms subside. Many symptoms of allergies and mange look similar, but allergies will often be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you're not sure, consult a veterinarian.
Mange is term used for a range of skin diseases characterized by poor coat and skin condition. Mange is caused by a range of common exoparasites called mites, found mainly in companion dogs. Some species of these mites are normal residents of your pet whereas others are not. Their favorite place to reside is in the skin and hair follicles. If they are allowed to proliferate out of control, all mites can cause skin infections which can become severe if not treated. Because mites belong to the Acari (a subclass of arachnids) another term sometimes used for mite infestation is “acariasis”.
There are two major groups of mites that can infest your pet. These are Sarcoptes species, which burrow into skin, and Demodex species, which live in skin follicles.
Sarcoptic mange, also known as “canine scabies”, is caused by the Sarcoptes scabei mite This is a microscopic mite that is oval-shaped and light-colored. They are easily transferred between hosts. The canine sarcoptic mite can also infest cats, pigs, horses, sheep, and various other species. They cause itching due to their movement while burrowing through the skin. Hair loss and crusting usually occur, often seen first on the elbows and ears. Intense scratching and biting can cause skin damage, and secondary skin infections are common.
Demodectic mange is also called “demodicosis”, “demodex” or the “red mange”. It is indirectly caused by the Demodex canis mite. This is a species of mite that is naturally present on almost all dogs. They are transferred from the mother to her pups during suckling and close contact in the first few days of life. Normally, the immune system and scratching/biting behavior of your pet are able to cope with the natural population of mites and many dogs never suffer any consequences. However, if the animal has a compromised immune system and develops hypersensitivity to the mite, mange can begin.
Demodex canis is not the actual cause of mange, rather, it is due to a bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis. The demodex mite dilates the follicles and sweat-glands on your pet’s skin allowing the bacterium to enter the body. Demodex canis possibly also carries and introduces the bacterium.
Three types of demodectic mange are recognized.
1) Localized mange occurs when the mites proliferate in only 1 or 2 (some say up to 4) small, confined areas, usually on the animal’s face. The resulting isolated, scaly, bald patches look like a polka-dot pattern. Localized demodicosis is common in puppies and approximately 90% of cases disappear without any treatment.
2) Generalized demodectic mange affects larger areas of skin, sometimes the entire body. This becomes extremely itchy if there are secondary bacterial infections. The skin may also become foul-smelling. This form of mange can indicate underlying health problems or risk factors such as a compromised immune system, hereditary predisposition, or an endocrine problem. The course of treatment for the dog depends on the age at which the disease develops.
3) Demodectic pododermatitis is a type of mange confined to the foot and is often accompanied by bacterial infections. It is one of the most resistant forms of mange. To make an effective diagnosis, deep biopsies are often required.
Transmission of sarcoptic mange mites usually requires direct host-to-host contact. Although mites can live off a host and in the environment for several weeks, they are infective for only 36 hours.
Although demodex mites are relatively easily transferred from one dog to another, it requires direct physical contact. In healthy animals, transmission of the mites simply adds to the dog’s natural population and there is no resulting skin disease. Even for severe cases, isolation of dogs is usually considered to be unnecessary. It is very rare for demodex mites to be transmitted to humans or cats.
The symptoms of mange vary, depending on the type type of mite causing the disease.
Sarcoptic mange can cause extremely intense itching. It can result in listlessness and frantic scratching, gradually increasing over several days. It also can result in hair loss (alopecia), reddened skin, sores and crusty scabs. In dogs, the most commonly affected areas are the ears, elbows, face and legs. In severe cases, it can spread rapidly over the entire body. Sarcoptic mange in humans causes a rash of red bumps, similar to mosquito bites.
Demodectic mange causes hair loss, bald spots, scabbing and dry sores. Secondary bacterial infections can make the dog extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Demodectic mange is not transmitted from dogs to humans. Demodex in pets can be detected by:
• Itching, bald patches, particularly around the mouth and eyes
• Itching, bald patches on the body and legs – spreading to cover the entire body
• Thick discharge from the ears, particularly in cats
• Leathery or wrinkly skin
A veterinarian will perform a physical exam of your pet and if necessary, take skin scrapings and examine these with a microscope to confirm the presence of mites. If the mites are buried deep in the skin, they can be difficult to identify. In such cases, the veterinarian may rely on your pet’s history and clinical signs to make a final diagnosis.
Localized demodectic mange: Puppies and dogs less than 18 months old are especially prone.
Generalized demodectic mange: Can be hereditary in dogs. Some breeds, such as the Dalmatian, American Bulldog and American Pit Bull Terrier appear to be more susceptible. Older dogs with and underlying illness are also more prone.
Demodectic pododermatitis: The Old English Sheepdog and Shar Pei are particularly prone.
The medication given to your dog will depend on various factors such as the type of mange and the breed of dog. Medication may be given orally, by injection, by shampoo or dip, or applied topically (locally). It is important to realize that many skin treatments can be toxic to dogs. They should not be repeated frequently. Check with your vet before beginning any mange treatment program.
When treating sarcoptic mange, the first step is to isolate your dog to prevent the disease spreading to other pets (and humans). It is likely your vet will prescribe antiparasitic medications to eradicate the mites, as well as separate medications for easing itching, reducing inflammation and treating secondary skin infections. The results of such treatment are usually seen after 4 weeks
Demodectic mange is treated not only by medications but also by managing physiological stress to improve your pet’s immune system. To prevent secondary skin infections, some dogs may also require additional treatments, for example, medicated shampoos.
Younger dogs often fully recover from mange. In contrast, adult dogs often require long-term treatment and therapy to control the disease. It has been suggested that because demodectic mange is thought to be hereditary, dogs with the disease should not be bred.
Whichever treatment option is used, this should be accompanied by skin scrapes every 2 weeks. Usually, medication is discontinued after 2 consecutive scrapes are negative. A final scrape should be performed 4 weeks after treatment to check there has not been a recurrence.
Sarcoptic mange: Thoroughly clean or replace the bedding and collar. Treat all animals in contact with your pet.
Keep your pet away from animals you suspect might have the disease.
Get periodic skin scrapes to ensure the mites have been eradicated.
As you know now, feline mange can be caused by different organisms. Moreover, in cats, some mites will affect the skin while others attack the ears. Now let's see the different kinds of mange that can infect your kitty cat.
This form of mange most often affects cats. It causes intense itching and skin lesions that usually end up near the ears, then extend to the head and neck. It’s also possible to find lesions on the legs.
Typically, a cat suffering from notoedric mange presents with a head covered with crusty scabs. Not very appealing!
It can theoretically cross over to dogs and humans, but these cases are very rare.
Dogs are more often affected by this type of mange (Demodex canis), but cats are not immune to it. Moreover, we often see puppies suffering from this mange while their immune system is still developing.
The mites in question are naturally found on their coat. They proliferate on the puppies’ skin until their immune system regains the upper hand.
In more serious cases, where affected animals are malnourished or sick, the mites can cause a serious infection and require treatment.
This form of mange is caused by mites that dig small tunnels under the skin. They cause intense itching and major hair loss.
It’s mainly found in dogs and some wild animals, but cats can also catch it.
This mange is contagious to humans. Moreover, a colleague of mine already caught this form of scabies after direct contact when caring for a fox.
This is also called ear mange. Indeed, the mites in question that cause this mange reproduce in the external auditory canal of cats, which causes a lot of inflammation. This condition is therefore very uncomfortable for an affected kitty.
Otitis is described as an inflammation of the ear canal, so it can be said that ear mites are likely to cause external otitis.
The ear of a cat that is infested with mites can also be a perfect environment for the development of bacteria.
This form of mange is also found in dogs. Personally, I observe it more often in cats.
These friendly little creatures, also called skin mites, are evidenced by the appearance of dandruff that wanders on the fur of your cat. Mites are actually invisible to the naked eye, but as they move on the surface of the skin, they cause the dandruff to move as well, and this is what you could observe if your cat has cheyletiellosis.
This form of mange is theoretically a zoonosis, that is to say, it can be transmitted to humans by direct contact. Generally, when this is the case, our immune system quickly takes over and so the infection is only temporary.
Indeed, our skin is not the preferred breeding medium for this species of mites. Therefore, they die pretty quickly there. However, during their time on our skin, they can cause small itchy red bumps to appear.
Cat mange is an infestation with parasites called mites (Sarcoptes or Notoedres) in the cat’s skin. It is unusual in cats, but when it occurs, it can cause intense irritation and pruritus (itchy skin). The ears are often a major site of irritation.
If you think your cat could be suffering from this disease, call your vet for an appointment at the clinic. The diagnosis can be made by your vet identifying the mites in scrapings taken from the skin. If present, the mites can be treated effectively with medications from your vet.
Scabies (also called sarcoptic mange as it is due to a parasite called sarcoptes) is an intensely pruritic skin disease. When cats are affected, it is very likely that they are also affected by an underlying disease weakening their immune system defenses.
Scabies is due to a mite that can also affect dogs and humans. The disease is highly contagious and is primarily transmitted by close contact but can also be transmitted by grooming instruments. Shelters and catteries may be the source of infection for other animals.
Skin changes may not be related to the number of mites present,as an allergic reaction to the parasite can also play a role in creation skin lesions.
You should begin to suspect that your cat may suffer from scabies in the case of (i)rapid onset of intense pruritus, (ii) potential exposure of your cat to another affected animal especially foxes and dogs (iii) skin lesions on the ventral portion of the chest, the elbow and hock and at the margin of the ear canal
In case of sarcopticcat mange , failure to find the mite does not eliminate the diagnosis. But your vet will be the best person to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Note that because of the emergence of resistant strains of mites, your vet may use a specific efficacious parasiticide that may not be effective to another cat in anotherregion.
Notoedriccat mange (also called feline scabies) is a quite rare disease in cats. As scabies, it is an intensively pruritic disease but it is caused by other mites called Notoedrescati.
The disease is highly contagious, usually by direct contact as the mite can survive off the host (the cat) for only a few days.
Notoedric mange may be present in adultscats and kitten.
Skin lesions , caused by the intense irritation and itching, appear generally first on the margin of the ear but spread rapidly to the face and the neck. Occasionally, lesions can be found on the feet and between the legs of the cat.
As opposed to dogs with canine scabies, cats with feline scabies have large numbers of mites that are easily found on ear scrapings by the veterinary surgeon.
Your vet will be the best person to do a differential diagnoses of these skin lesions and make sure your cat really suffers from mites and not food hypersensitivity, infection of the ear, other parasites, contact allergy or, fight wounds, etc.