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Cat Mange (Feline Scabies)

Cheyletiella Mange (Walking Dandruff)

This type of mange is caused by a large reddish mite that lives on the skin and causes mild itching with a tremendous amount of dry, scaly material that looks like dandruff. The dandruff is heaviest over the back, neck, and sides. These mites often come in on contaminated bedding such as straw or old newspapers that have been stored in outdoor sheds. This type of mange is not common in cats.

The life cycle of the Cheyletiella mite is similar to that of the head mange mite. The entire life cycle takes four to five weeks. The diagnosis is confirmed by finding the mite in skin scrapings collected on paper and examined under a magnifying glass.

Walking dandruff is highly contagious. Humans can easily become infested. The signs are itching and the appearance of red, raised bumps on the skin. They look much like insect bites, which, in fact, they are. The Cheyletiella mite cannot live off the cat for more than two weeks. The owner’s rash should improve as the cat is treated.

Treatment: All cats and dogs on the premises should be treated with a lime sulfur insecticide dip or a shampoo containing a pyrethrin insecticide. Continue to treat for two weeks beyond apparent cure. An alternative treatment is ivermectin.

Demodectic Mange

This noncontagious form of mange is common in dogs, but fortunately, it is rare in cats. The demodex mite is a normal resident of the cat’s skin and seldom causes more than mild, localized infection. The exception is in immune-suppressed cats suffering from FeLV, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory infection, cancer, or the immune-depressant effects of chemotherapy or excessive hydrocortisone.

The moth-eaten look of hair loss around the eyes is characteristic of localized demodectic mange.

Sarcoptic Mange

These mites occur frequently in dogs and produce a disease called sarcoptic mange. Fortunately, they are rarely seen in cats. Their effect and treatment is similar to that of head mange. Skin scrapings are used to make the diagnosis. If no mites are found on multiple skin scrapes but other diagnoses have been eliminated, your veterinarian may recommend treatment anyway.


WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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