Scabies in cats or notoedric mange is an uncommon, but highly contagious, skin infection.
It is caused by tiny mites called Notoedres Cati.
While male mites dwell on the cat’s skin surface, female mites burrow into the top layer of the skin to lay eggs.
Feline scabies is seen in domestic and wild cats of all ages, sexes, breeds, and colors.
The mites can live off a host for only a few days. They switch between cats and between a cat and its owner through direct contact in a shared environment.
Symptoms of Feline Scabies
The infection typically begins on the ear margins (pinnae) and slowly progresses to the face, neck, abdomen, and rest of the body.
The pattern of spread of the infection can be attributed to a cat’s self-grooming habits.
The infected cats develop signs of discomfort and restlessness due to an intense urge to scratch.
They eventually resort to vigorous scratching and licking of the infected areas. The uncontrolled scratching causes skin sores and open wounds.
The infected skin appears thick and wrinkled and has grayish-yellow crusts.
Hair loss occurs in the infected regions of the head and neck.
Domestic cats are less likely to contract scabies unless exposed to infected stray cats.
Infection can be prevented by maintaining a short hair coat and bathing them regularly.
Treatment for Scabies in Cats
Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the severity of the infection.
Feline scabies is diagnosed through microscopic examination of the infected skin scrapings. Your vet could prescribe ivermectin every 2 weeks, for a month.
Other options include topical medications such as lime sulfur dip; selamectin and moxidectin to control parasites; and medicines to alleviate itching and prevent secondary infections.
Source: All About Pets. Feline Scabies. 2021;1(3):7.
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