Mite infestation, commonly known as mange, requires the diagnostic and treatment expertise of a veterinarian. The common mites infecting dogs and cats are microscopic, requiring skin scrapes and subsequent microscopic examination by the veterinarian for diagnosis.
Notoedres Mange (Cats)
The most common mange mite infecting cats, Notoedres cati, is microscopic, and it requires special skin scrapes for its detection. Direct exposure to an infected animal is required for its transmission.
The major symptom of Notoedres mange is a sudden onset of severe itching. As the mite burrows into the host’s epidermis, itching, hair loss, and scaly skin result, initially on the face, neck, and ears, and then to other areas on the body.
The haircoat on these cats often takes on a “mousy” odor as well. Treatment for Notoedres mange consists of special miticidal dipping and/or systemic miticides. If dips are used, they should only be performed by a veterinarian, since toxicity can be a problem if they are not used correctly.
All other cats in the household should also be treated due to the highly contagious nature of this mite.