Demodectic mange causes pain and hair loss.
Demodectic, or dermodectic, mange is a condition most commonly associated with dogs; however, it can and does affect cats. This painful condition is caused by mites and is highly contagious. Demodectic mange requires immediate veterinary treatment to prevent the condition from becoming worse or spreading to other cats in your home. Symptoms and treatments of demodectic mange vary according to cat.
Demodectic mange may appear as an infection on the head, ears, neck or eyelids. Hair loss is the most common symptom of the condition, as the mites that cause demodectic mange infest the hair follicle of the cat. The cat’s skin exhibits various symptoms such as redness, inflammation, scaling and lesions. There may be excessive dander on the cat’s skin. Finally, you will notice your cat scratching much more than usual.
Many topical treatments can be applied to your cat’s skin to treat demodectic mange. Your veterinarian may prescribe amitraz or roetinone, solutions that kills the mites that cause the condition. Medicated dips containing lime sulfer treat demodectic mange by killing the mites and cleaning the affected skin.
Ivermectin, available by prescription from your veterinarian, is a drug used to treat parasites. While it is most commonly known by the brand name HeartGard, a heartworm preventative medication, ivermectin is also very effective against dermodex mites. This drug treats demodectic mange by paralyzing and killing the mites that caused the condition.
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
Occasionally, demodectic mange occurs as the result of an underlying condition your cat is experiencing. A weakened immune system caused by feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus or diabetes hinders your cat’s resistance to demodex mites and their damage. If your cat’s demodectic mange is the result of an underlying condition, your veterinarian will need to test for and treat that condition in order to fully eliminate the mange from your cat.