SlimKitty Health Check: Skin Parasites
Next up in our SlimKitty Health Check Series are skin parasites. Since we covered the most common, fleas & ticks in our SlimDoggy series, I will refer you to that post. Symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for your cat will be similar.
There are a couple of skin parasites you are more likely to see in your cat than in your dog and we will cover them here.
First up is ear mites. Ear mites are miniscule mites that live in your cat’s inner ear canal and feed on the wax and oils found there. The most common are Otodectes cynotis, tiny, eight-legged parasites. They cause intense itching, so that should be your first symptom. Your cat might also shake their head violently to relieve the irritation. They are easy to diagnose by looking in your cat’s ear. You will see a build up of wax and small blacks flecks of ‘dirt’. This may cause your cat’s ear wax to look black. Untreated, they may become serious, leading to ear infections. They are also highly contagious, so if one of your cats gets them, it’s likely your others will too. Luckily, a quick trip to the vet for a thorough cleaning and possibly some ear drops is the simple treatment. Prevent mites from reoccurring by regular cleanings.
Cheyletiellosis is another mite that attacks your cat’s keratin layer (outermost) of skin. This type of infestation is also known as cat dandruff since the mites move around under the keratin layer and slough off skin that looks like dandruff. Symptoms include: itching, excessive grooming, scaling of the skin or dandruff – a very small yellow mite may even be visible. Diagnosis by your vet would be from skin scrapings or even in a stool sample since they pass through the digestive track as a result of grooming. Treatment can be long since the mites can live for up to 10 days without a host. Medicinal baths will be given and must be given several times over the course of a few weeks to ensure all the mites are dead. It is highly contagious, so all of your pets would need to be treated.