Mites are responsible for several types of scabies in kittens. A skin disease feared as it is highly contagious and also due to its zoonotic capacity, that is, it can infect humans .
We show you some images of the different types of scabies and the treatments that the cat must receive in order to overcome it.
You may also be interested in: Signs of pain in kittens
Is scabies dangerous in cats?
In general, scabies cause important dermatological conditions due to their contagion capacity within the same species and in others, including humans. These problems do not usually endanger the life of the animal unless it is very weakened.
Animals in stressful conditions and those that live in communities such as shelters, residences or breeding sites are those most at risk of contagion . Before any suspicion of scabies in our kitten we must go to the vet because early treatment is essential to avoid the spread of the parasite.
Otodectal scabies or feline otoacariosis
The Otodectes cynotis is causing mite disease that can also affect dogs. It causes itching in the ears due to an inflammatory reaction of the body to the bites of these mites, which feed on the secretion resulting from this inflammation and cerumen.
It is a very contagious scabies, also to humans , although this is unlikely to happen. Transmission, in one or both ears, seems to occur by direct contact and, once the cat is infested, it will manifest symptoms such as the following, although there are asymptomatic animals:
- A lot of itching in the ears and in the whole area around.
- Abundant blackish discharge similar to coffee grounds.
- Injury to other parts of the body can occur from contact with affected animals.
These mites can be seen with the otoscope and also under the microscope. On occasions when they extend from the ears and colonize the rest of the body, they can be detected with a scrape.
Once this parasite has been identified, the veterinarian will prescribe a treatment that, in general, is usually topical, that is, we must apply it directly to the ear , always after cleaning it. Less frequently, a systemic treatment will be used that we will give the cat orally. Pipettes can also be applied.
Due to the ease of its contagion, if we detect a case in a household with more animals living together, all of them must be treated. In addition, the environment must be disinfected. It mainly affects cats under six months of age.
This type of mange is caused by the mite Notoedres cati , very similar to Sarcoptes scabei , which is what causes sarcoptic mange in dogs. Both mites burrow galleries under the skin . As it is not usual in cats, we will not comment on it in this review. In contrast, Notoedres mainly affects cats and is rare in dogs.
It is also a zoonosis that is transmitted by direct or indirect contact and affects more young cats and those with a weakened immune system, for example if they have some other disease. Notohedral scabies produces symptoms such as the following:
- Redness in the ears, face, eyelids, and neck.
- Scabs of a yellowish or grayish color.
- Itching of greater or lesser intensity.
- Sometimes, due to self-grooming, the lesions can spread to other parts of the body such as the legs or the perineal area.
Scraping the affected area, the veterinarian will take a sample to observe it under a microscope and identify the mite. Treatment can be topical or systemic. We must disinfect the environment and medicate all the animals that live together. Although this mange may seem like a minor disease, affected cats can become so weak that they even die .
Demodic scabies in cats
This mange is caused by a Demodex mite which, in small numbers, habitually lives on the skin of cats and dogs. The Demodex cati is what we will find in cats, although not very frequent.
These mites live on the animal without causing any disorder until some circumstance occurs that alters the balance of the skin . In these cases, the mite population shoots up and that is when we can observe symptoms.
We must always bear in mind that if we detect demodectic mange in our cat, it means that we must look for the cause that has caused it. It is usually associated with cats suffering from immunodeficiency , feline leukemia or those suffering from systemic diseases such as diabetes. These animals have weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of demodectic mange in cats include the following:
- Folliculitis around the eyes – Acne.
- Dermatitis on the face.
- Otitis with waxy discharge.
- There is usually no or very mild itching.
- Sometimes the presentation of the disease is generalized and produces alopecia in large areas of the body with scaling and hyperpigmentation, that is, a darkening of the skin.
Unlike what has been commented for other scabies, demodectic is not contagious , since it is produced by mites that all animals will have on their skin and the disease causes it, not the mite itself, but the increase in its number by circumstances of that individual.