Chiggers or Trombicula mites, also known as harvest mites, are skin parasites common through the central region of the United States. Chiggers are tiny, the size of the head of a pin, and are reddish orange in colour. They are known to infect and bite people, cats, and dogs, primarily during the spring and fall seasons, often in grassy areas with chalky soils. Fortunately chiggers are easy to treat once diagnosed, so do your feline friend a favour and help stop the itching and stay chigger-free.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hedge clippers
- Magnifying glass
- Square of dark-coloured cardboard
- Pet-safe pesticides
- Chigger treatment as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian
- Steroid treatment for itching
Examine your cat's ears. Chiggers can usually be seen with the naked eye in cats and dogs, but use a magnifying glass if needed. Chigger mites are often compared to paprika.
Take your cat to the veterinarian to make a positive identification of chiggers. The veterinarian may be able to identify the chiggers with the naked eye, or may scrape your cat's ear and examine the sample under a microscope.
Follow the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian. Treating chiggers in cats consists of either a two-part pyrethrin-based dip or the application of a topical antiparasite drug like Tresaderm.
Request a steroid cream or injection for your cat from the veterinarian to help relieve any itching.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Keep your cats indoors during fall and spring season when chiggers are most prevalent.
Take note of where your cats were when they got chiggers, and keep them away from that area in the future, as chiggers tend to return to the same places every year.
Mow your lawn regularly, and keep vegetation and shrubs clipped to reduce chigger populations in your yard.
Treat known chigger spots by first testing each area by placing a square of dark cardboard on the grass and observing for a few minutes. Chiggers will climb on top of the square.
Treat the spots where chiggers are present with a pet-safe pesticide and keep your cat away from the area until the pesticide treatment is dry.
Tips and warnings
- Make your cat as comfortable as possible while administering chigger treatments, and reward her for her good behaviour with a treat afterward.
- Do not attempt to treat your cat for chiggers without a veterinarian's supervision. It could be dangerous for your pet.
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