Can My Cat Get Mange?

Your cat Molly is looking a little mangy lately. No, she really is. You’ve recently noticed that Molly has developed some strange-looking skin lesions, and her beautiful coat has begun to show some thin spots. You’re finding lots more hair than usual on the carpet, too. You’ve heard that cats can suffer from mange, so you’ve asked your Milford veterinarian to examine Molly and see if this condition has caused her symptoms.


Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a rather insidious feline skin disease caused by different types of mites you can’t even see without a microscope. When the number of mites on Molly’s hair follicles explodes, the disease really gets cranked up. She’ll experience hair loss, skin lesions, immune system malfunctions, and even genetic disorders.


Tiny Mite Culprits

Fortunately, feline mange occurrences are rare, which doesn’t help if your cat’s affected by the ailment. Two different mite species are generally to blame. One species can cause a contagious illness, especially between cats in the same household. The second species seems to appear along with metabolic or immune system problems, such as diabetes. When Molly’s systems aren’t functioning properly, this nasty little mite drastically increases its population and makes Molly miserable.


Scary-looking Symptoms

Demodectic mange symptoms aren’t pretty. Molly will experience scales, skin lesions, and perhaps even crusty patches on her skin. You’ll also see hair loss around her head, neck, eyelids, and flanks. Her symptoms’ severity depends on which little culprit is infesting your cat.


Diagnostic Tools

To diagnose Molly’s illness, your vet will analyze skin scrapings in the hospital’s in-house laboratory. To find the mite responsible for the problem, he’ll analyze her hair samples. While he suspects demodectic mange, he’ll also order a urinalysis to rule out a metabolic system disorder.


Treatment Protocols

Most of the time, demodectic mange goes away on its own. If Molly has developed a severe case of mange, your Milford vet might prescribe long-term medication to keep her condition under control. A lime-sulfur dip might give her some symptom relief. Molly might also need follow-up skin scrapings and hair analysis to make sure the disease doesn’t regain the upper hand.


Future Problem Prevention

Keeping Molly clean and in good health, without drying out her skin, will help keep the demodectic mite population at bay. Watch Molly closely for returning symptoms, and get your vet involved quickly so he can treat the problem.

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