Tuesday 19 August 2008

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market.

Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found

Feline Scabies - head mange

Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats.

The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch.

The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching.

Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and transmitted by direct contact and can infect humans (zoonotic). People will itch if infected. It passes in 2-3 weeks provided it has been treated.

For cats, treatment includes insecticide dips but there may be modern treatments - see the veterinarian. He may recommend:
  • clipping the affected areas in longhaired cats
  • bathing the cat in warm water and soap to loosen the crusts
  • killing the mites by "dipping the cat in 2.5% lime sulfur dip weekly"to two weeks beyond cure
  • that other cats in multicat households should also be dipped once per week for 3-4 weeks.
  • an alternative such selamectin (Revolution) and Ivermectin.
  • itching be relieved by 1% Cortaid (cortisone).

Demodectic mange

Another form of feline mange is called demodectic mange, caused by another mite, the demodex mite. It is very rare indeed in cats and non-contagious. The mite frequently lives on the cat's skin. No symptoms are usually present unless the cat is ill when the immune system is depressed. It can be localized around the head, neck and ears and/or generalized (over the body).

Treatment should be carried out only under veterinarian supervision for as these are potentially toxic drugs. For localised infestation treatment is carried out by applying a "topical antibacterial agent" such as Pyoben or OxyDex shampoo followed by a lime sulfur dip  or Rotenone.

Generalized infestations are treated with shampoos - please see your veterinarian.

Sarcoptic Mange

The mite causing this form of feline mange is seen more frequently in dogs and rarely in cats. The symptoms are similar to head mange mentioned above.  Treatment under vet's supervision please is Fipronil and milbemycin oxime.


  1. Cat mange is caused by two types of mites, burrowing mites and non-burrowing mites. Burrowing mites burrow in your cat's skin forming tunnels in which they lay their eggs. Larvae emerge, develop to nymphs then adults. The non-burrowing mites feed on skin scales; some suck tissue fluid and several suck blood.

    1. Thanks for commenting and sorry for long delay in replying!

  2. can people catch mange from cats?

  3. My cat hair loss is mainly towards her back and hips is that still a form of mange?

    1. If the hair loss in in a place where your cat cannot groom it will be a skin problem of some sort and it might be mange. It could be due to a number of reasons. I strongly advise seeing a veterinarian. Thanks for commenting. If she can groom the area and is doing so the cause will likely be stress which also needs to be dealt with. Both are urgent issues. I have a complete page on HAIR LOSS IN CATS which you can see by clicking on the following link: https://pictures-of-cats.org/hair-loss-in-cats.html


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