Sunday, 16 June 2024


30 April 2021

Echinococcosis is a mammalian skin disease which in cats is caused by parasites of the genus Demodex. These small mite-like arachnids parasitize the cat's skin, specifically the epidermis. In cats the disease is caused by the species Demodex cati and Demodex gatoi. Cats suffering from parasite-induced catariasis are prone to localised hair loss and the epidermis is visibly reddened in the area of alopecia.

If the disease is caused by Demodex gatoi, the above symptoms are accompanied by itching. In such cases an irritated cat frantically scratches and bites the itchy area, which only makes the situation worse. In addition, the violent tearing of the wounds often results in additional infections and infestations.


Cat dermatitis occurs much less frequently than canine dermatitis. Furthermore, the presence of Demodicidae mites on the skin of cats is normal and does not always cause disease. The disease only affects cats with weakened immune systems.

As mentioned previously, the disease is most likely to develop on the skin of immunocompromised, poorly nourished cats and those suffering from other diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus). However, no correlation has been found between the sex and age of the cat and the incidence of the disease. On the other hand, certain breeds (e.g. Siamese) are thought to be particularly prone to yaws


Based on the symptoms, their intensity and the location of the lesions on the cat's body, two forms of the disease can be distinguished: localised and generalised WN:

  • Localised Woolly Atrophy

A less bothersome form. Worms usually parasitize the hair and sebaceous glands, most commonly on the top of the head, around the eyes and on the nape of the neck (less commonly). It is in these areas that inflammatory foci appear - this is the so-called localised form of Nematosis which is usually restricted to a small area.

In addition, the cat may develop external ear infections and other fungal or bacterial infections.

  • Generalised Worm Disease

A less common but more troublesome and dangerous form of the disease for cats. In this form lesions can be found practically all over the body. Patches of baldness and epidermal inflammation are found on a large area of skin.

If there are scabs, scaly, keratinized epidermis on the body of the fur, and the skin itches - this may indicate the presence of less common nematodes of the species Demodex gatoi. Because of the itching the animal will bite and scratch the itchy areas, which can lead to wounds and infections. Therefore, if symptoms of cat itch are detected, treatment should be started as soon as possible.


Treating pest infestations is not easy. Skin lesions need to be treated with special products. Small lesions may go away on their own. On the other hand, treatment of severe (especially generalized) peste des petits can take a long time and require strong antiparasitic agents.

For sure you should remember not to treat your pet on your own, but to visit vet as soon as possible. Experienced vet will properly identify the problem and apply best preparations and treatment methods.