Friday, February 13, 2009

Mangy Cat

I remember watching cartoons and hearing the villain mutter that his sidekick pet is a mangy mutt. I didn't understand what he meant then. And I never thought how serious a condition this can be until now.

We had a visitor last week, it's a female cat, not exactly a kitten but still very young. She was very hungry and stayed in the garage, she would only leave when she needed to poop and pee. At first glance, her poor condition was very noticeable. Her face and especially her ears were crusted and her eyes were barely open. She was still sweet, though. I didn't touch her face because I didn't know if the skin condition was contagious. Last Saturday I brought her to the vet. She looked so uncomfortable. I would see my cats, all healthy and happy and then I would see her outside, so miserable.

As soon as the vet saw her, she knew it was mange. It's a skin condition caused by mites burrowing in the skin. It's also very contagious. The vet didn't even want to touch her. She also told me a lot of things about stray cats, which were negative. I know she meant well but still...
Anyway, my cat was given an injection of Ivermectin. She has to take these shots once a week for several weeks until she's mange free. She was also prescribed antibiotics and ear drops. I also need to put iodine on her affected areas everyday. After her treatment of mange, we'll see if she has any other ailments that need to be treated.

I keep her separated outside. Last Sunday I got gloves, disinfectants, alcohol and Betadine. It's a lot of work. After putting her medication in the morning and at night I scrub myself to make sure we don't get it. I've been getting paranoid, when I feel itchy I start suspecting that it might be mange. I've been reading a lot about the condition and I found somewhere that if left untreated it could be fatal.

It's been only a week but we can see the improvement in her skin. She's also very active now and eats regularly. Her eyes look better too. And even if I keep putting medication and eardrops on her, she has not hissed or scratched or tried to bite me. We're still thinking of a name which would suit her. Tomorrow I'm bringing her to our regular vet. I have to come up with a name by then, her records say her name's still to be determined.

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