What is Medicated Shampoo or Dip?
Usually, cats do a pretty good job of bathing themselves, but sometimes certain conditions such as parasites or allergies necessitate a medicated bath or dip. Although cats traditionally avoid water and are not always cooperative in the bathing process, some cats learn to enjoy baths, especially if they relieve discomfort and itching. The use of medicated shampoos or dips is a good option for treating skin conditions, as the alternative medications may have undesirable side effects that may preclude their use in some cats. Medicated shampoos and dips may be very effective when used in conjunction with other medications to treat skin conditions in your cat. They are available specifically formulated for cats to treat skin conditions such as fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections and to treat symptoms such as itching and dandruff. Medicated shampoos to kill fleas are commonly used for cats and sulfur-lime dips can also be used to treat parasitic infections and ringworm. The use of medicated shampoo or a sulfur-lime dip should be performed under the direction of your veterinarian, who will recommend the appropriate product for your cat and their condition. If required, your veterinarian can assist you with this process by providing a safe environment and facilities for treatment.
Medicated Shampoo or Dip Procedure in Cats
Your veterinarian will examine your cat and determine if a medicated shampoo or a sulfur-lime dip is appropriate. Some medications and all lime dips require a prescription and should only be used under the direction of a veterinarian
If a contagious condition such as mites or other parasitic infection are present, all animals in the household may require treatment.
If your cat requires a bath with a medicated shampoo or dip and is particularly adverse to baths, sedation and treatment by your veterinarian may be required.
Veterinarians are generally equipped with appropriate bathing facilities and safety precautions that minimize the risk of injury to the animal or handler, so this option may be preferable, or your veterinarian may prescribe the appropriate medicated shampoo or dip and provide instructions for treatment at home.
Sulfur-lime dips need to be prescribed by a veterinarian.
All instructions on the lime dip package should be read prior to use and directions followed as specified.
A shampoo appropriate for use on cats should be used first to bath your cat.
The person conducting the bath should wear gloves. Although the medication is safe, unnecessary exposure to medication should be avoided. Lime dips should be used in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhalation of fumes from the dip solution.
The dip solution will be diluted with water, and then should be applied to the cat's coat. Avoid getting the dip solution in sensitive areas such as eyes, nose and genitals.
The process will be repeated once per week for as long as your veterinarian recommends in order to address the skin condition being treated. This is usually weekly, for 6 weeks and/or two dips after condition is resolved.
Prevent your cat from licking their coat until completely dry so the dip is not ingested.
If allergic reaction to the dip occurs, your cat should be washed with a gentle shampoo to remove residual product.
A rubber mat in a wash basin or tub will prevent your cat from slipping and injuring themselves during bathing.
Lubricated eye ointment in the eyes will help protect your pet's eyes during the bathing process.
Follow all directions on medicated shampoo packaging and/or as directed by your veterinarian.
Rinse the cat well with warm water and apply shampoo. Many medicated shampoos need to be left on for a specific time period. Follow package directions, rinse well, and allow the cat to dry before allowing them to clean themselves.
Efficacy of Medicated Shampoo or Dip in Cats
Medicated shampoos and dips are very effective at treating skin conditions such as parasitic and fungal infections; they are cost-effective and have few side effects. Multiple treatments are required to fully address the condition and any other animals in the house may also require treatment. There are alternative medications that can be prescribed such as antibiotics, anti-parasitics, and steroids that will also treat skin conditions. These medications, used in conjunction with medicated shampoos and dips, are extremely effective. Be aware that multiple treatments should only ever be administered under the direction of your veterinarian in case there is a possibility of drug interaction.
Medicated Shampoo or Dip Recovery in Cats
Medicated shampoos and dips will require multiple treatments, usually at home, under the direction of your veterinarian. Follow up with your veterinarian to ensure that the skin condition has been fully treated. Use of most medicated shampoos and dips is recommend for 2 treamtnets after symptoms have been resolved.
Cost of Medicated Shampoo or Dip in Cats
Shampoos and dips should only be used as prescribed by your veterinarian and are comparatively inexpensive to other medications and treatments that can be used to address skin conditions. The cost of prescribed shampoos and sulfur-lime dips is usually under $50. If you require administration by a veterinarian or sedation of a particularly uncooperative cat, the cost of your vet’s standard treatment appointment and the cost of sedation may apply.
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Cat Medicated Shampoo or Dip Considerations
Medicated shampoos and lime dips are used because they are considered safe alternatives to other medications. They are often used when other medications would not be well tolerated by the cat due to the cat's health or in young, pregnant, or nursing cats for which side effects of other medications would be an issue. It is possible for your cat to be allergic to the medicated shampoo or dip, and in this case, your cat should be bathed to remove residue and treatment with that product stopped.
Sulfur-lime dips can cause staining of your cat's coat and your clothes, and has a strong odor that can be offensive. Treatment should be conducted in a well ventilated area, with the handler wearing gloves and taking care to protect clothes.
Medicated Shampoo or Dip Prevention in Cats
Skin conditions that require treatment with medicated shampoos and dips can be avoided. Contagious conditions such as fleas, ringworm, and parasitic mite infections can be avoided by limiting your cat’s access to other animals and removing parasites from their environment. Vacuum your home frequently, clean pets’ bedding regularly, remove debris from around your home that may harbor parasites, seal up cracks in your home, use pesticides to eliminate pests in your home and garden, and apply prophylactic treatment to your cat such as a flea collar.
If your cat is being treated for parasitic or fungal skin conditions, remember that they can remain contagious even while being treated and that any other animals in the home may also require treatment.