Jump to section

What are Skin Mite Dermatitis?

Mange is caused by the microscopic parasite known as the mite. These very small parasites live on the skin and in the hair follicles of felines, but do not usually feed on the animal’s blood like other external parasites. In fact, some mites are considered normal residents of many mammalian species and their host’s immune system keeps them in balance, preventing them from taking over. However, when the immune system drops due to illness, one of the five species of mites takes over and skin mite dermatitis is soon to develop.

Skin mite dermatitis in cats is known to both the veterinary world and the general public as mange. Cats are highly susceptible to several types of mange, including demodicosis, trombiculosis, cheyletiellosis, otodectic and notoedric mange. Each form of mange is highly contagious, causing dermatitis symptoms of skin inflammation, alopecia, and pruritus. Mange commonly affects the very old, very young or otherwise unhealthy groups of felines, but other cats could be carrying the mange parasite with no sign of mange. 

Skin Mite Dermatitis Average Cost

From 485 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats

Skin mite dermatitis is extremely pruritic to the feline and will cause the cat to scratch the skin vigorously. Depending on the species of mite affecting the feline, skin mite dermatitis might affect the ears, head, neck, abdomen, foot pads or entire body of the cat. If a feline is infected with ear mites, symptoms of head shaking, pawing at the ears, bloody ears (due to scratching), swelling of the ears and ear infections will all be noted. Mite species-specific symptoms of skin mite dermatitis in cats includes:

  • Feline Scabies: skin crusts and hair loss. 
  • Ear mites: The inner ear will appear dirty with dark debris that resembles coffee grounds. 
  • Walking Dandruff: dandruff-like skin crusts and small bumps along the skin. 
  • Feline Demodicosis: hair loss and fluid-filled sores. 
  • Trombiculosis: these mites can be viewed as orange ovals on the skin that are usually clustered together. Common symptoms include skin crusts, hair loss, skin bumps and redness. 

Types

Trombiculosis 

Trombiculosis is a type of mange caused by the larval-stage parasite known as Trombiculidae. Trombiculidae are one of the few mites that will feed on the feline around the abdomen, feet pads, ears and head. A cat can contract this parasite by laying in the dirt. 

Feline Demodicosis

Feline demodicosis is a type of mange caused by either the Demodex cati mite or the Demodex gatoi mite. The demodex mite is often a normal, non-hazardous skin mite of the feline but can cause problems in sick cats. 

Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff)

Cheyletiellosis is commonly called walking dandruff due to the mite’s dandruff-like appearance. Cheyletiellosis is caused by the Cheyletiella blakei mite, which is a common parasite in multi-cat households. 

Otodectic Mange (Ear Mites)

Otodectic mange is caused by the Otodectes cynotis mite, but this mite is commonly known as the ear mite since it only infests a feline’s ear. 

Notoedric Mange (Feline Scabies) 

Notoedric mange is caused by the Notoedres cati mite. Although quite rare, feline scabies is a highly contagious disease that causes the skin to crust, favorable to the upper portions of the body.  

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats

Skin mite dermatitis in cat is caused by an infestation of a species of mite that is host-specific to felines. Trombiculidae,

Demodex cati

,

Demodex gatoi, Cheyletiella blakei,

Otodectes cynotis,

or the

Notoedres cati

mite can all cause skin mite dermatitis in cats. Unlike other external parasites that spend half of their life cycle in the environment, mites spend their entire lives on their host. The only exception is the

Trombiculidae mite, as this mite does live in the environment, infecting felines at their larval life. However, all other mites

are usually transmitted to one feline to another through direct contact. Nursing queens often transmit skin mites to their kittens, causing skin mite dermatitis as kittens have a weak immune system. Multi-cat household and cats living in breeding facilities, pet stores, or shelters are at a high risk for contracting a type of skin mite.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats

Skin mite dermatitis in cat can be identified through the symptoms on a physical exam. Mites that are affecting the cat’s skin can be identified through the process of a skin scraping. A skin scraping is a simple test of scraping the top layer of the skin, removing particles to view underneath the microscope. Ear mites will require a swab of the ear and microscopic view for identification.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats

Some cats recover from skin mite dermatitis without treatment, but severe cases and cats that are in poor health must receive medical treatment to recover. A common treatment veterinarians use is a lime sulfur dip that the cat is dipped into approximately 1-2 times per week over a month’s time. Mites that are localized in the ears will need to be cleaned out and treated with prescribed drops. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Skin Mite Dermatitis in Cats

The recovery outlook for a cat suffering from whole-body skin mite dermatitis depends on her overall health. Follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan and bring the cat back into the clinic if symptoms worsen, or you do not see an improvement. Preventing re-infestation of mites can be a challenge, but the best preventative method is keeping your feline’s environment clean and keeping her away from potential carriers.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Skin Mite Dermatitis Average Cost

From 485 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

arrow-up-icon

Top

Skin Mite Dermatitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Sammy, daisy, khya

dog-breed-icon

Tabby mix,tuxedo, calico

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hello I have three cats two females one male my mail is a tuxedo and my females one is a dilute tortoiseshell and the other one is coloring and like a Maine Coon bobcat mix they're all indoor cats except the Maine coon I did get her in the spray in March she was a stray that I picked up and have it checked out and everything was fine few months after that I noticed that there was some stuff going on my cat like there was these white hairlike things that would come out of his fur and he was itching a lot so I thought maybe with a Bayer quad dewormer and gave them all flea bath well it didn't help nothing stopped and then I noticed that there was things happening in my home that was unexplainable like these hairs were getting on things and they were multiplying or I noticed them in my hair and I was getting itchy ear and itchy or more at night time and to the point where I ended up buying my house I ended up doing everything you can think of my cats have had numerous revolutions they've had mange washes they've had everything you can think of but I don't know how to treat my home so I never knew what to do and still don't the vet never gave a true diagnosis but treated them for parasites now mind you like I said this is now in my hair and in my children's hair and it looks like like white hairs there iridescent looking the clear but yet they're not clear I don't know what these are I took my child to the hospital to get help because of this because they bite and it hurts and I don't know what to do to kill them and they took my kids from me told me I was crazy please if somebody knows what this is please help me I can't get it to go away it's relentless

Sept. 21, 2018

Sammy, daisy, khya's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Jag

dog-breed-icon

Unknown breed

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Red Bumps On Himans

Me and my child have recently woken up with bites on her arms and my stomach. Her pediatrician said they could be mites if our animals come on out bedding. I have noticed one cat who spends most of the time outdoors has been coming inside more and seems to be begging to be pet and seems to itch a lot more than before. What can I do asid for the lime sulfu wash to get rid of them in our house and bedding. I ha e a steamer for clothes could I steam my bedding until I get the wash in the mail and stop them from getting on the beds?

Sept. 15, 2018

Jag's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Lucious

dog-breed-icon

Not sure

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Scratching

My cat has a bump in on his left ear he scratches and yelps in pain he recently starting scratching his right ear there is a brown substance in his ears and they smell could this be associated with said condition?

Sept. 5, 2018

Lucious' Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Lulu

dog-breed-icon

short haired

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I have two kittens that overly groom and have scabs all over. Well I looked in their fur and found tiny yellow specks. Thinking it’s dandruff I didn’t think anything of it. Well then I saw one move and now I notice them all over. I know they are not fleas, ticks, or lice. Can walking dandruff be yellow with a brown tip.

Sept. 5, 2018

Lulu's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Mr. Snuggles

dog-breed-icon

Domestic medium haired

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hairloss
Biting
Itchiness
Nawing

My 8 year old male cat has been obsessively licking his paws, hind legs, and stomach to the point that they are bare for the past year, especially his stomach where even his nipples are exposed and being a DMH thick coated cat, he has always had a beautiful furry underside to him where he always lays belly up to show it off. We have not changed any diet or environmental routines and I reside in sunny FL where he is used to going out on my screened in pest controlled lani with my other 2 cats. I have taken him to our vet multiple times where we have tried steriod shots, Prozac, topical ointments etc and nothing seems to be working. The last time we were there, my vet observed him more closely noticing his “dandruff” on his backside may be due to skin mites (we just thought he was a “big boy” and couldn’t reach back there - He is 18lbs but also has some mainecoon in him) to which she gave another shot and an ointment for fleas/ticks. It helped for only a month and a half but then he started back up. I feel terrible bc he always seems to be uncomfortable biting/nawing and now causing scaring, especially on his hind legs, and my other 2 cats have no issues or symptoms whatsoever of anything resulting in his behavior. Vet recommended a behavioral specialist, but I feel it may be something she’s missing. I mean, he’s been with me since the beginning and he just randomly starts nawing off his fur. If needed, I will pay the $500 visit fee, but I’m trying to weigh out all options before going that direction. Do you think I should get a second opinion? It’s so hard to find decent vets in my area so i would hate to put my poor kitty through much more. Please help! Thank you in advance...

Sept. 2, 2018

Mr. Snuggles' Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Maximillian

dog-breed-icon

Tuxedo

dog-age-icon

18 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

White/Off White Dandruff Dtopping

Short haired black indoor kitty approx 18 months old. He began scratching about 6 months ago (summer) so bathed with kitty flea shampoo from advantage also treated for worms. Stray, rat consuming visitors loving him up late night thru screen (discovered later). No missing hair or patches but grooming non-stop, sensitive on back / if petted. Now dandruff on back and tale. Washed with sulfur, baking soda, antifungal/antibac, flea shampoo, ivermectin (not good response)... nothing seems to stop mite.... unspecified. When he walked he drops skin-like pieces everywhere despite my bathing him. But he LOOKS perfect-beautiful. Last thing: it’s contagious. I have rashes and been exterminating. Love my kitty but losing it. Does anyone have any idea what to do?

dog-name-icon

Poppy

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

None

My elderly adult male has developed a condition on his right flank where his hair clumped into sections of hair that cannot be separated. Started in April with small patch (est. 2 inch square) and now covers much of his right side. No obvious causes, there appear to be small white and black specks when I pet the affected area. Cat is TNR that lives outside and cannot take to vet. Was very sick earlier this year with infection to face which resolved and he now appears healthy and energetic.

dog-name-icon

Wookiee

dog-breed-icon

Bangle

dog-age-icon

5 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Hairloss
Crusty Ears
Doesn’T Want Me To Touch The Affect

I took in a 2 week old kitten whose mama got hit by a car, after the explosive bloody diarrhea bout we went through (I thought it could possibly be coccidia —I’m a vet tech— but waited a week and it clears up so it much have just been the drastic switch to formula from mamas milk, now that we are thru that I one consuming and constant disinfectant stage, for which I used mainly natural ingredients, the now 4-5 week old little one has developed crust around its ears, a small spot behind one ear and multiple spots down its tail, (almost at every vertebrae section) I am not currently at a clinic and don’t have a microscope to do a scraping but I know for a fact it’s not EAR mites. I grow a lot of natural antiseptic plants and have been using aloe on her for a day now and her hair has started falling out which i assume could be a sign of either healing or it getting worse. Any advice would help. I’ve never had such a young kitten while not working with a veterinarian.

dog-name-icon

Mia

dog-breed-icon

Long haired

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dandruff
Alopecia
Pruritis
White Specs That Move
Tiny White Bugs

We are infested. Saw white specks moving on long haired black cat. Dandruff, hair loss, intense itching. The humans in the house also itching and being bit on legs and feet. Tried advantage then revolution then front line spray on cat and entire house (carpet couch etc). Vet bill of 500. Can't find anything on my cat. At time of appt, white specks werent as active. Move most often in late evening. Vets claim they cant find anything... these tiny white specks are smaller than a flea. Someone help us. The itching is driving us all insane... went to doctor for my bites. Not scabies. So what is it?????

dog-name-icon

Teemoo

dog-breed-icon

european

dog-age-icon

2 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bald Spots
Black Stuff In His Ears
Black Boogers

I have a kitten who is about 2 months old. When I got him, he had a bald spot behind one ear. When I checked, he had fleas so I treated it and thought it was maybe from scratching? The hair is starting to grow there but other much smaller spots have started to appear on his body and he actually has some black stuff in his ears and around his nose. So I am starting to wonder if it is mites or are they two seperate things? Also, I have to note, he doesn't seem to be itching or shaking his head. Actually, he doesn't exhibit any strange behaviour but is rather very active.

Skin Mite Dermatitis Average Cost

From 485 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

How can we help your pet?