Feline scabies or Cat Notoedric Mange, is cause by the Notoedres cati mite. It is very similar to the sarcoptic mange that appears in dogs. Both the life cycles of the mites and the treatment are similar. The first noticeable signs of Notoedric mange is hair loss on a cat’s head and neck accompanied by constant itching.
Who does it infect?
Cats. If you have a cat, your cat can get scabies. It is not limited by breed, color, gender or age. The mite is transmitted from another cat and therefore if your cat is an outdoor animal, the chances of contracting it are greater.
The entire lifespan of the mite takes place on the cat. When the female burrows into the skin and begins laying her eggs, it has begun. The burrowing tunnels can be several centimeters in length. The female dies within a few days after laying her eggs. The new mites hatch in 3-8 days. Initially they are a six legged larvae. The next stage is the nymph stage during which they have 8 legs. The molting of the nymph into adulthood continues to process, with the entire cycle requiring fourteen to twenty one days.
Signs and Symptoms
The primary symptoms of feline scabies are unrelenting itchiness and a pattern of hair loss that is particular to the disease. It initially starts on the ears and spreads down to the face and surrounding areas. The ambitious mites can go as far as the lower abdomen and the feet. Your cats self-grooming and sleeping curled up, contribute to the generation of the infected areas.
As the progression of the disease continues, the skin can have grayish yellow crusts, become thick and wrinkled. Because of the severe itching, your cat may possibly have other infections as the result of scratching.
Diagnosis is made by skin scrapings.
Although this particular mite can be killed by many of the same products as those used on dogs, most are toxic to cats and should not be used. Cats are very sensitive to insecticides.
It is best to clip all of the longer hair on the cat. Bathe the cat with a gentle shampoo. After the shampoo, a lime sulfur dip should be applied to the cat. If your cat has an aversion to being bathed or treated, you may have to sedate him. The treatment must continue every seven days until it is completely resolved. That can take six to eight weeks.
It is best to prevent your cat from coming into contact with an infected cat or strays. If your cat is an indoor cat, it is not likely they will get scabies. Be sure that your groomers or boarding kennels maintain a clean environment with all of their tools being disinfected between animals. Once your cat is diagnosed, you should keep it away from any other cats in your home. You should also use caution with the cats contact with you, as mites are contagious not only to cats, but to humans. In humans it is far less severe and temporary.