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by Veronique Fournier December 09, 2019 8 min read
Before studying animal health, I had no idea about mange, let alone that it could affect our pets.
What does mange look like on a cat you ask me?
It is typically characterized by a major loss of hair, but that's not all. Let's see in detail what mange is and how to treat it.
Mange is a contagious skin condition that affects cats, among other animals. Dogs, rodents and some wildlife can also be affected.
Perhaps you are already familiar with the term "scabies" used to describe a similar condition in humans. In this case, we are talking about a disease or a condition that an animal can catch.
Mange is the term used to describe any infection of the body by mites. Mites are part of the same large family as spiders (arachnids) and are a close cousins of ticks (acarids). They are external microscopic parasites.
I'm sorry to tell you this, but some types of mites are naturally found on your pet's skin, without causing any problems.
However, when an animal's immune system is weakened for any reason, mites can multiply and cause discomfort.
Is mange in cats contagious? Yes! Most mites are transmitted by direct contact between two cats. That said, as mentioned earlier, your cat can be infected with a species of mites that is naturally present on its skin, which does not require any contact between individuals.
In addition, a cat can become infected by contact with a contaminated object.
Keep your cat indoors and you will greatly reduce its risk of contamination.
Some mites can indeed infect the skin of humans. However, if your pet has mange, it does not necessarily mean that it will infect you too.
A test at the vet will enlighten you as to the species of mite responsible for your pet's symptoms and will tell you if you need to worry about your own health.
That said, if you have a strong immune system, it is unlikely that you will become infected with these small critters.
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.
Typically, we imagine a cat with missing fur and ravaged skin when we think of mange.
Mange in cats manifests with different symptoms such as ear secretions, hair loss, itching, scabs and even agitation or lethargy. These signs are important to identify, because mites are contagious and should be treated.
I share to you a picture of what can look like mange in cats :
Here are more details about the signs of mange infection:
One of the signs of ear mites in cats is the presence of secretions that resemble ground coffee beans in their ear canal.
One of the most distinctive signs of mange is hair loss. It can be minor, or it can be very serious. Very affected animals can be stripped almost completely bare of their fur.
Most mites cause intense pruritus in their host. Moreover, ear mites cause severe itching in the ears.
On the other hand, not all types of mange cause itching. Indeed, some forms of demodectic mange do not cause pruritus (itching).
As the animal scratches a lot, in combination with the action of the mites, its skin can look like a real battlefield when it is affected by mange. Scabs and bumps may form on the surface of the skin.
It’s important to monitor the condition of your cat's skin since it can develop a bacterial infection above all else. In this case, the treatment would become a little more complicated.
Most cats become agitated when they are affected by mange. They cannot sit still with all that itching!
That said, some are affected differently. My friend's dog had mange and scratched so much that she used up all her energy. Once treated, she regained a lot of vigor.
You can help your kitty cat’s body fight mange with our natural products. A strong immune system will help your cat naturally fight this infection. In advanced cases of mange, an anti-parasite treatment prescribed by a veterinarian may be required.
Your vet will first perform diagnostic tests to determine if your cat's symptoms are indeed caused by mites.
The symptoms described earlier can be caused by different things, so it's important to know what's bothering your cat before treating it.
If your cat is infected with a type of mite, your vet will recommend an anti-parasite treatment specifically targeting the pests that are attacking your pet.
In some cases, a shampoo may be suggested. However, for our feline friends who do not like water, this option is often replaced by a product that is applied on the skin or by a tablet.
Depending on the severity of your cat's mange, a holistic treatment might help cure the condition, or at least ease your cat’s discomfort. A visit to your vet can help you figure out if these treatments are appropriate for your furry companion. Some of the home remedies available to treat cat mange include apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and olive oil.
We suggest that you mix a cup of water with a cup of apple cider vinegar and put this mixture in a spray bottle.
Apply this mixture to your cat's fur and use a comb to distribute it evenly. Repeat this two to three times per week.
Be careful, however, if your cat has very irritated skin and lesions, as this mixture could be painful in this case.
Lemon juice is useful for combating the mites responsible for mange, due to its acidic properties. You can mix the lemon juice with the same amount of water in a bowl. Using a clean sponge or cloth, apply the mixture to your cat's fur.
Again, this remedy can irritate the skin, so it's best to choose something else if your cat has badly inflamed skin.
This remedy may seem odd and not very practical, but it could absolutely help your cat! It involves applying a thick layer of honey to the affected areas of the skin, in order to suffocate the mites. Plus, honey helps relieve itching.
If your cat tries to lick the honey, put a cone on it to prevent this, as the honey needs to stay on the skin for 30 to 60 minutes before you bathe your cat with an appropriate shampoo. If your cat hates water, this may not be the treatment of choice as they will have to take several baths to remove all that honey!
In a similar vein, olive oil is used to deprive the mites of oxygen and is useful since it is often on hand! It also helps relieve skin irritation. Remove olive oil with a damp cloth after about 15 minutes and repeat twice per day.
This product is specifically intended for animals to promote their health even when affected with mange. It can be used on our feline friends, but also on dogs and other pets.
You want to treat the infection of mites, and also soothes the skin of the infected animal. The MANGE product can also promote your cat skin health in case of itchiness and irritation caused by mange.
However, it is important to consult a vet to make a diagnosis before using our product, to be certain that you are dealing with mange!
As explained at the beginning, mites naturally live in the fur and skin of your pet. Normally, this does not cause a problem, but that’s not always the case.
Some animals are allergic to these small critters and so their skin will be irritated by them.
If your cat is allergic to these mites, it will be mildly itchy and our DUST MITES ALLERGY product can help.
This natural product does not, however, treat mange. If your cat loses its hair abundantly and suffers from intense itching, consult a vet and opt for our MANGE product instead.
In summary, whatever form of mange your cat is suffering from, it must be treated because it is very contagious, mainly for his feline companions and even canines, but sometimes also for humans.
If you have several pets at home and one of them suffers from mange, isolate it from the others and thoroughly clean your home, especially its bed and toys. Your vet may want to treat all pets in the home for prevention.
Keep an eye out for the symptoms of mange in your kitty, such as hair loss, itching and ear secretions. Our natural products can be major assets in the case of mange. See our website for more details on these.
This disease can be shocking in more severe cases. If ever this is the case for your pussy cat, rest assured that you are now well-equipped to deal with it!
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN
Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.
She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.
She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.
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