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Feline subcutaneous mite: symptoms, diagnosis, prevention

Cats have a high chance of contracting subcutaneous mites when the weather warms up and before the first frost. The mites penetrate the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the animal and live there, feeding on bits of the cat’s skin and blood, laying their eggs and causing great suffering to the infected animal.

Subcutaneous mite, or feline demodecosis, is a disease caused by the endoparasitic mites Demodex gatoi and Demodex cati, which, when the animal’s immunity is weakened, is manifested by dermatitis, alopecia (scalding, flaking) and papular-p pustular rash.

Demodex cati can infect an animal undetected: the mites of this species live in the follicles of the hairs, but the cat does not feel any discomfort as they do not cause itching.

Demodex gatoi, on the other hand, parasitises the upper layers of the skin by moving underneath it, feeding on the skin’s cuticle and laying eggs, thus damaging the cat’s body even to the point of exhaustion and nervous disorders.

The subcutaneous mite can parasitise other animals, but each species is parasitised by a specific mite-sutraveller.

Cat ways of contracting demodecosis

The disease is contagious. A healthy animal is infected from a sick animal. Old, weak, emaciated cats are most susceptible. It should be noted that ticks can also live in the skin of a perfectly healthy animal without causing the development of a pathological process.

There is an opinion that there is an individual predisposition to demodecosis (low skin resistance, age, breed, heredity). For example, cats with good immunity, fed a complete diet, properly cared for, remain perfectly healthy, even after exposure to eclair on the skin.

Symptoms of feline subcutaneous mites

The tick, after entering the follicles and sebaceous glands, begins an active life, releasing metabolic products which destroy the epithelial cells and lead to the formation of a focus of demodenosis at the site of penetration.

Dense tubercles (2-10 mm) appear on the skin of the head (around the eyes, mouth, nose, ears, forehead), neck, shoulder blades, and in more severe cases, on the sides and limbs of the cat. Eachand at the top of the cap there is an opening from which a pinkish liquid and, when pressed, a wax-like substance emerges.
Skin affected by demodex is red, wrinkled and slightly thickened. Over time, the hair in the area becomes matted, bald spots appear and the skin becomes scaly.

If you look at the animal’s skin in good light, you can see a distinctive pearly sheen on the surface, a characteristic of the subcutaneous mite.

Diagnosis of feline subcutaneous mites

Only a veterinary surgeon can make an accurate diagnosis by distinguishing it from a lichen. The preliminary diagnosis of demodicosis is based on the clinical signs of the disease. During a close examination of the cat, the vet should take skin scrapings from the deep layers of your pet’s skin or perform a skin biopsy and send the material to a laboratory for examination. If the insect mite is found under a microscope, a diagnosis of demodecosis is made.

Treatment of feline subcutaneous mites

Demodicosis is thought to be a systemic disease of the whole body, manifested externallyntis skin lesions. Therefore, the treatment of an animal with demodecosis must be comprehensive.In the case of generalised demodecosis, your veterinarian will carry out further tests to determine the underlying cause. Only then can a complete recovery be achieved, as it is pointless to fight the signs of a subcutaneous mite.
There are currently many treatments for demodicosis in veterinary medicine. The choice of which one to use is determined by the specialist, taking into account the individual characteristics of the animal.

Prevention of feline hypodermic mites

In order to prevent a cat from contracting demodecosis, it is necessary to follow certain rules that will help to preserve the pet’s health: limiting the cat’s contact with sick, stray animals; feeding a complete diet rich in vitamins and minerals; increasing the body’s immunomodulatory defences with immunomodulators; avoiding colds; and periodically using acaricides (sprays, drops, collars, shampoos, etc.)

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