Can Canine Scabies Spread to Cats?

Your pup's scabies can pass to your kitty.

Your pup's scabies can pass to your kitty.

Scabies is a condition that is caused by a type of mite that typically infects dogs, although it can spread to your kitty in some cases. If your pup has been diagnosed with canine scabies, bring your kitty into the vet for a check to determine if she is infected.

The Mite

Scabies in dogs is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis mite, a type of microscopic parasite, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. These mites live on your pup's skin, burrowing into his skin to lay their eggs. The presence of these mites leads to itching, redness and hair loss, usually on your dog's ears, face, tummy and legs. Without treatment, your pup can develop bacterial or fungal infections from his repeated scratching of the areas infested with mites. If your pup shows any signs of a mite infestation, take him to the vet for a proper diagnosis to rule out other potential causes like environmental or food allergies.

Transmission

Scabies mites are spread from dog-to-dog through direct contact with an infected pup. While these mites are typically host-specific, preferring to live on dogs, they can infect your cat as well, according to 2ndchance.info. A kitty that lives with an infected pup will have continued contact with him, giving the mites a chance to infect her. Because cats aren't a natural host for the mites, the infestation could be limited, lasting only for a period of time before resolving on its own. Unfortunately, continued contact with your pup will lead to continued reinfection with the mites, leading to similar itchy skin and hair loss in your kitty to that of your dog.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice that your pup is scratching frequently and dealing with hair loss or scabby skin, bring him to the vet for an exam. For a proper diagnosis, your veterinarian will take skin scrapings or possibly a skin biopsy, according to Veterinary Partner. Even if your pup tests negative for the mites, the doctor may still recommend treatment for them because they don't always show up in microscopic examination of the dog's skin even if they are present. Treatment will consist of the application of topical or oral medication to rid your little guy of the mites. There may also be additional medications to treat any secondary infections on his skin and relieve his itching.

Treating the Kitty

Although the primary cause of feline scabies is the Notoedres cati mite, which can be spread from cat-to-cat through direct contact, the canine scabies mite can also affect your kitty. If your vet has diagnosed your pup with scabies, bring your cat to the vet for a checkup. Ask him if you should also treat your kitty with a flea-preventative topical medication to protect her from infection or kill any mites present. Wash all of your dog's bedding, vacuum your carpets thoroughly and isolate your dog during his treatment. Keep your kitty indoors to prevent her from either spreading the mites or from getting them from an outside pup.

Cautions

Not only can canine scabies mites affect cats, they can also affect humans as well. Like kitties, humans are not the preferred host of these parasites, but they will live on your skin for a limited period of time, usually around two to three weeks, according to the Healthy Pets Mobile Vet. These mites cause uncomfortable itching in people. While they are still infected, wear gloves when handling your pup or kitty and while cleaning their bedding. Canine scabies mites don't cause human-specific scabies, which are the result of Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

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