2001-Thu Sep 20 16:45:28 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Scratch, scratch, scratch. It drives us crazy when our pets are itchy, doesn’t it? It’s not just that the sound is annoying but that we know they must be miserable. There’s not much worse than an itch you can’t, well, scratch.
One of the possible causes of itchiness in pets is a skin condition called scabies, a type of mange. It affects both dogs and cats, but different mites are the culprits.
In dogs, the Sarcoptes scabiei mite burrows into the skin to lay eggs. Yuck! These highly contagious mites are found worldwide, but in the United States, they are seen most often in areas with high populations of foxes and coyotes, according to my colleague William H. Miller, VMD, a veterinary dermatology expert at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Infestation occurs when a dog comes into contact with the den of an infested fox, for instance. Scabies also spreads easily in crowded conditions, such as animal shelters or pet stores.
Scabies is less common in cats, but contact with an infested feline can turn them into hosts for a mite called Notoedres cati, which also burrows beneath the skin. Cats are susceptible as well to the mite that causes canine scabies, picking them up from infested dogs, which just doesn’t seem fair. But, thankfully, this kind of infestation is uncommon.
Sarcoptic mange mites can also spread to humans — well, sort of. According to the Centers for Disease Control, canine or feline scabies mites can get under human skin, causing temporary itching and skin irritation, but this lasts for only a couple of days, because those mites usually can’t survive long on humans. Don’t feel superior, though. Humans are susceptible to their own mite infestations by Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis.
The canine and feline mites have similar life cycles. They live 17 to 21 days, spending all of their time on the infested animal. After exposure to a mite-infested animal (direct transmission) or bedding (indirect transmission), it can take 10 days to eight weeks for signs to appear. The length of this incubation period depends on such factors as the number of mites transmitted and the individual animal’s health.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.