Demodecosis is a tick-borne skin disease in cats demodex There are two types of demodex ticks that affect cats.
- The first is Demodex cati, long and thin, affecting the hair follicles.
- The second is Demodex gatoi, in short, and affects the upper layers of the skin cats.
Demodex is a fairly common disease in dogs, but more rare in cats. When a cat becomes infected with demodex, she usually has weakened immunity or unbalanced diet. Diseases like diabetes Cushing’s syndrome, leukemia and immunodeficiency in cats substantially predispose a cat to the development of demodicosis. Demodecosis may be localized to the cat’s body, or can affect its entire body (generalized type).
The life cycle of demodectic ticks is from 20 to 35 days and runs completely on the media. They can infect any cat, regardless of her gender, age and breed. These ticks may be transferred from one cat to another, but not from cat to person. Most cats do not show any after infection. symptoms however weakened animals may develop clinical signs of demodicosis.
Symptoms of Demodicosis
- Severe itching
- Focal hair loss with the formation of scales and crusts on areas of baldness. Demodecosis usually affects the head, ears and neck. cats.
- Generalized demodicosis can lead to large areas thinning of hair and baldness on the skin may form fluid-filled ulcers.
- Cats can start licking and combing their hair hard, which leads to even more severe baldness.
Diagnosis of demodicosis in cats is made by scraping the skin and ear swabs that are examined under a microscope. Ticks often cannot be found the first time, so it may be required several scrapings in various parts of the body. Tick can also to be found in feces due to intense cat licking wool.
Cats without symptoms in the home should also be tested for demodicosis. Additional diagnostics may be required for cat immunity tests, which may include virus diagnosis leukemia and immunodeficiency in cats, a general blood count and some others.
Many cats often experience spontaneous remission, especially with localized form of demodicosis. Treatment usually consists of the use of special ointments or bathing with an anti-scab shampoo. Bathing can last for 4 to 6 weeks, to kill all ticks, because shampoo does not work on their eggs. Treatment should continue until tests give negative result.
Amitraz may also be used, but it is toxic to cats and often leads to poisoning, therefore its must be used with extreme caution.
Other treatments may include daily or weekly. taking ivermectin for four weeks, however it also does not intended for cats and has high risks of side effects.
All cats in the house should be considered a source of infection, and their bedding and other common items should rinse in hot water.