Cats rarely suffer from scabies, and when they do, it's typically due to a localized outbreak. The initial signs you might observe include ears that itch and possibly have crusty borders.
Two varieties of scabies mites can impact cats:
- Notoedres cati (feline scabies)
- Sarcoptes scabiei (canine scabies)
Causes of Scabies in Cats
Cats contract scabies by interacting with other creatures infested with the mites. When dealing with feline scabies, the usual source is another infected cat. In the case of canine scabies, it typically comes from a dog with the condition. The mites easily spread between animals.
Symptoms of Scabies in Cats
Typically, the first signs are itchy and scaly edges of the ears.
Additional symptoms encompass:
- Hair loss
- Skin flaking
- Intense itching
If feline scabies aren't addressed promptly, it can extend to the cat's facial region and eventually cover the whole body.
Diagnosing Scabies in Cats
Usually, skin scrapings examined under a microscope are used to diagnose scabies. Under magnification, it's straightforward to spot scabies mites if they are there. Yet, not finding mites or eggs in a sample doesn't conclusively eliminate the possibility of an infestation. Occasionally, diagnosis is determined based on the reaction to treatment.
Treatment of Feline Scabies
Options for treating scabies in cats encompass:
- While isoxazoline flea prevention products like Bravecto and Revolution Plus aren't officially sanctioned for treating scabies in cats due to their rarity, they have shown efficacy with just a single dosage.
- Selamectin, found in Revolution, is approved for canines dealing with sarcoptic mange. Even though it's not officially greenlit for cats due to the infrequency of scabies in the species, it has proven effective for feline scabies.
- Moxidectin, an ingredient in Advantage Multi, works well despite lacking official approval.
- Historically, Ivermectin has been a go-to remedy for feline scabies and remains in use. Typically, it's administered via injections every 1-2 weeks over a month.
- Traditional remedies such as lime sulfur or amitraz-based (like Mitaban) dips are effective. However, they've become less popular with the advent of simpler treatments.
Recovery of Feline Scabies
The outcome of scabies treatment usually manifests over several weeks, contingent on the prescribed medication and the number of pets impacted.
If your feline is battling a Notoedres or Sarcoptes scabies invasion, treating all cats and dogs near your pet is crucial. While humans can contract scabies, they aren't the main hosts; hence, the issue tends to be less severe.