Sarcoptic mange is also called as scabies. The causative agent is sarcoptic scabies. Sarcoptic scabies is microscopic mite that affects both the humans and animals [cats, dogs etc]. These mites gain entry in to the skin of the lovely pet cat and results in various types of skin problems.
The human beings who are living close by to the affected pet cat are likely to get infected. Scabies is more commonly noticed in young cats, but one needs to be informed that all age groups are equally susceptible. For the survival the mite has to be attached with the host.
The affected cats will have very severe pruritis which will not show any response to the symptomatic treatment. You can notice the constant scratching of the cat. At the beginning one will notice, papules [small bumps that are red in color] at the elbow, ankles, abdomen, chest and margins of the ear. Soon there will be generalized lesion. One can notice crusty scores and hair loss in patches.
In general the symptoms are due to allergic response of the body of the cat to the mite. The incubation period is 2 to 3 weeks. Incubation period is nothing but the time taken for the symptoms to develop from the entry of the organisms.
In case the infection is not treated immediately, there can be thickening of the skin, increased pigmentation, draining tracts and ulceration of the skin. The secondary bacterial infection is very common due to the constant scratching [self trauma].
Clinical sign- the onset and spread pattern that is suggestive of scabies infection. Skin scrapping examination- the scrapping collected at the point of lesion will be subjected to microscopically examination to find out the mite presence. Treatment response- if the response to the scabies treatment is good, then that itself is one good indication that the diagnosis is correct.
The key in treating the scabies mite is the duration of the treatment. The cats must be treated for 3 weeks as the life cycle of the mite is 3 weeks. The other house holds also needs to be treated simultaneously as a preventive measure to avoid re infection.
Anti parasitic lime sulfur dip- the cats must be subjected to anti parasitic lime sulfur dip every week without fail.
Iver mectin is a very effective anti parasitic drug, which can be administered to the affected cat. The dosage is as per the vet’s advice. This drug needs to be given 3 times at the interval of 2 weeks. But one should wary of using this treatment option as some breeds likely to have adverse reactions to this drug.
Revolution is a product which can be applied topically. This is very effective for flea control and heart worm eradication, and for the sarcoptic mite treatment. Antibiotic treatment is inevitable in case secondary bacterial infection was noticed
Care at home
Regular vacuuming, cleaning, washing etc of the cat house and its surrounding will help to minimize the parasitic infection such as scabies.
The cats must be washed at least once in a week time. better to use anti parasitic [lime sulfur ] agents at that time for dipping. One has to very careful while using lime sulfur combination as it will damage the porcelain dishes and jewelry. The hair coat may get yellow tinge due to the action of sulfur. One must use gloves while dipping the cat. The other disadvantage is the offensive odor of the sulfur, which resembles rotten egg smell.
The dip has to be performed out doors, not indoors. The cat must be allowed inside the house only after complete drying. This way the furniture and other items are protected from sulfur.