Mange is a contagious mite that can be transferred from dogs to cats and vice versa. Mange not only causes poor-looking coats in cats, but can also cause secondary infections that could shorten the life of your cat if not treated.
Sarcoptic Mange (also known as scabies) in cats is caused by microscoptic mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. Cats can get these parasites from other cats or dogs. Any age cat can be affected, but it is more commonly seen in young cats. Symptoms of mange include hair loss, intense scratching, wrinkled skin, chewing and oozing sores. Secondary infections from the open sores can occur.
Giving the cat weekly bathing treatments with anti-parasitic lime sulphur dip can help rid your cat of mange. Bathing should be done outdoors with the cat remaining outside until dry. Owners should wear gloves and protective clothing when applying the dip as it can cause yellow stains to clothing, furniture etc. Dip baths can be labour intensive and will take approximately one month of weekly dip baths to rid the cat of mange.
Ivermectin is a parasite treatment that can be given to cats with mange every two to three weeks. This treatment for mange is considered off label, but it has been found effective for treating mange in cats. Like any medication, Ivermectin should be used at the lowest dose possible to avoid side effects.
Mange is very contagious to both dogs and cats so prevention is the key. Keep cats away from stray animals. Once an animal in a house has become infected, treat all animals to prevent reinfestation. Mites cannot live off their hosts for very long so regular washing of animal bedding and vacuuming cat areas, can help keep mites out of the house.