What is cat’s scabies?
Scabies, or rather scabies, are skin conditions called dermatitis. They are due to mites and are manifested in the ears and / or body. Several types of mites are likely to contaminate the cat; some live on the surface of the skin when others dig galleries for food.
The different forms of scabies have the common principle of triggering intense itching and irritation.
There are two pathogens that cause scabies:
- Notch scab : due to Notoedres Catii , this form of scabies mainly affects the cat, more rarely the dog or the man. Fortunately, it is rare in France, but it is more common in other countries, including some bordering such as Italy, hence the importance of remaining vigilant. Typically, scabies first appears around the ears before contaminating the rest of the body.
- Sarcoptic scabies : due to Sarcoptes scabiei , this form of scabies affects mainly the dog, more rarely the cat. However, contamination is always possible, especially when both species coexist. It causes very strong itching and tends to associate with a disease causing immune weakness.
Scabies of the ears
The ear gall, or otodectic mange, is caused by the mite Octodectes cynotis . It first affects the ears of the animal that fill with a blackish earwax. When it extends, it causes inflammation, otitis, or perforation of the eardrum.
Whatever its form, scabies is very contagious, between cats and dogs, but also with humans. It is mainly transmitted by direct contact or indirect contact, for example by contaminated grooming equipment.
What are the symptoms of cat mange?
The different forms of scabies are identifiable by their characteristic symptoms.
- Agitation : the infected cat is disturbed by the irritating presence of mites. He can not stand still and rested.
- Intense itching, or pruritus : The infected cat is very itchy, which causes it to scratch repeatedly, sometimes to the point of causing significant irritation. The cat also tends to compulsively lick infected areas.
- Hair loss, or alopecia : the affected area is strongly scraped by the cat, hair loss is usually visible at this point. It is not related to the mite itself, but is a consequence of its irritating presence.
- Skin lesions : Skin lesions are not systematic in cases of scabies in cats, but their location makes it possible to identify the form of the disease in question.
- Pimples and crusts : the cat’s skin is covered with small pimples and crusts in the infected area. The epidermis is red, hot and inflamed. It can be covered with eczema and peel. These wounds and inflammations can become infected, hence the importance of treating them quickly.
- Lichenification and hyperpigmentation of the skin : the skin thickens and forms pink and brown patches due to irritation.
- Ear secretions : the cat with ear mites produces brown secretions in large quantities. These, produced by the auditory canal, are visible in the pavilion of the ear. They can cause ear infections, bleeding, haemorrhage and piercing of the eardrum without proper care.
These symptoms usually appear around the ears, between the legs, at the elbows, on the belly and the thorax. Some forms start from the head and form like a helmet before extending to the neck and the rest of the body.
The diagnosis of scabies
The veterinarian will start by observing the animal. The first diagnosis is primarily visual and is based on clinical observations. The practitioner notes the severe itching of the animal and the skin wounds that are constituting the skin. Depending on their appearance and location, they may suspect one form of mange rather than another.
To confirm his prediagnosis, the veterinarian performs one or more skin scrapings. To do this, he takes a small piece of epidermis on the surface to study under a microscope. He thus observes the form of the parasites, their excrement and their eggs. This step is not always easy depending on the type of mange.
Finally, the veterinarian can take a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. This examination is especially frequent in case of suspicion of sarcoptic mange, because of the difficulty to perceive under the microscope the mite who is responsible for it, Sarcoptes scabiei .
How to treat cat scabies?
It is not easy to treat a cat with scabies, but providing adequate treatment is essential to maintain good health. At the slightest symptom, quickly consult your veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis. The longer you wait, the more the infection spreads and the more it will be difficult to treat, with the risk of causing serious injury.
When the veterinarian has confirmed the diagnosis, he will prescribe to your cat a suitable treatment that it is imperative to respect. In general, the practitioner also implements, in parallel, follow-up consultations that allow him to see the effectiveness of the treatment and readjust it if necessary or to extend it.
There are several forms of local care to treat your cat with scabies:
- Mowing his hair on the infected area and the application of treatment lotions.
- Shampoos, sprays, powders, drops or aerosols to eliminate mites responsible for scabies. Be careful not to confuse them with pest control agents only for fleas and ticks.
- Skin injections.
- In-house tablets and capsules that help eliminate parasites in the body.
- The application of pipettes or spot-on. This new form of treatment seems to greatly facilitate the application of the treatment by the masters in the case of cutaneous diseases.
The veterinarian will also advocate isolation of the animal in your home and disinfection of the environment by means of parasitic treatment and sanitizing sanitizers.
Subsequently, it is advisable to respect the application of the antiparasitic treatments of your animal, once a month.
Never self-medicate to relieve your cat’s mange, even if it has been infested in the past. It is unlikely that you will be able to determine the type of mite involved and a bad medication can, on the contrary, weaken the health of your pet and make the disease worse.
How to prevent scabies?
Because scabies is caused by a mite, the only real prevention is to keep your pest control up-to-date with a monthly dose. Make sure you keep your pet’s rest, sleep and meals clean. Avoid all contact with animals that can contaminate and regularly monitor the skin and its health in general.