tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   08 September, 2013  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Images of the cat fur mites    
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   08 September, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

Sunday, September 1, 2013

1112. Sunday Sep 1, 2013 - Interesting case - The Bedok Ragdoll has hair loss in the groin

"Just the annual vaccination for the Ragdoll," the mother and a young adult son and teenaged daughter came on this bright sunny Sunday morning, all the way from Bedok.

From my observations, most Singapore cat owners don't bother to vaccinate their cats or do annual health examination, and so I was surprised to see them. The son used his handphone to take images of my vaccination jab. I checked the medical record. The spayed female cat, born in December 25, 2006 was vaccinated in October 2011 and Sep 2012.

The Ragdoll had a full thick coat. "Any fleas?" I noted no black spots or scales on the skin. "No," the owner said. I turned the cat upside down as part of the physical examination. Earlier I managed to open the mouth slightly as the Ragdoll wanted to claw me in objection. I asked my assistant Naing to give her two halves of a deworming tablet. He gripped the side of the mouth and put in the two halves and then closed the mouth. "Rub on the neck to make the cat swallow," I said. The owners had great difficulty in deworming this cat at home and so I asked Naing to do it to gain some experience in deworming since he was a new graduate.

Some vets will just do it but I usually give the dewormer to the owner to do it at home. Everybody was happy when the cat swallowed. Soon, one half of the tablet popped onto the consultation table. This Ragdoll had outwitted the human being causing laughter amongst the owner. "You get 50/100 for deworming," I said to Naing. Naing repeated again and was successful this time. The reason I had the tablet cut into two halves is to make them easier to swallow. Some 8 years ago, I saw a boarding kennel operator dose a cat with one tablet and the cat choked and died. Many vets give one tablet via the mouth without mishaps but I better not take chances.   

I was not expecting any hair loss since the cat looked great. "What are those red circular patches on the groin area?" I asked the owners. "They look like ringworm or some skin irritation from the litter sand."

"The hair loss is due to the cat grooming and licking as the skin is itchy," I said. "How long has these red skin patches been present?"

"This hairless area has been present for some 6 months. The cat grooms it more times."

I switched off the room lighting and asked my assistant to hold the cat upside down with the help of the owners. I asked intern Terrance to come in to see what I would do with Wood's lamp which is used to check for ringworm. Around 30% of the ringworm species will fluoresce green when exposed to the ultra-violet light from the Wood's lamp. If positive, a microscopic examination or fungal culture of the infected hairs can be done.

The teenaged bespectacled daughter did not want to see any feline procedure and looked towards the floor. I asked her to stand up and looked away while I switched on the light. No fluorescence of the hair edges at all. "Only 30% of ringworm will fluoresce," I advised. "I will check under the microscope."

I plucked some hairs at the periphery of the ring-like skin, stuck them on the tape and put the tape onto the slide. I examined the hairs under the microscope.  Surprising discovery -  I saw moving mites with brown heads and legs.

"I don't want to see," the teenaged daughter protested while her mum and brother saw the mites.
"It is good to acquire more knowledge by seeing the real things affecting your cat." She saw the mites under the microscope and in my illustration.
I asked them to bathe the cat with an insecticide but it was difficult to do at home as the cat would have no such nonsense as being wetted.
"How about those spot-on insecticide to apply on the skin to kill the mites?" the mum asked.

"Bathing first and then use them," I got the cat bathed in insecticide at the Surgery and prescribed Revolution spot-on insecticide to be used monthly for 3 months.

The cat fur mite, Lynxacarus Radovskyi is said to more common in hot and humid countries. They cling to the hair shafts and grasp them. Hence they are known as hair-clinging or hair-grasping mites. They are seen as black spots and cause itchiness and hair loss in cats.

In this Ragdoll, some months ago, I saw her backside losing hair on both sides, a condition known as bilateral symmetrical alopecia one year ago. This could be due to licking as this fur mite infests the back areas frequently. They are said to cause gingivitis and diarrhoea in some cats. This Ragdoll has gingivitis but overall, the coat does not have the black spots or hair loss except for the groin area. I had not done any skin hair analysis then.

As for today's case, I asked Intern Terrance to take images of the mites as his 2nd project so that he would benefit from being hands on writing clinical research projects rather than standing around to observe the vet. His first video project on the "Lemon Law Affecting New Pets" is still in progress. I had asked him to draw the mites as seen under the microscope but he could not do a good illustration. Some people just can't draw despite me telling him to use circles, squares and rectangles as perspectives. So, I asked him to take images.

Drawing of a hair mite from cat hair scrapping I am a bit more able to illustrate as seen on the left taken from another cat with fur mites seen under the microscope, in 2003. This is not as good as the real images but that was the best I could do without the present software in my old microscope. I had researched on "how to draw" by reading such books from the libraries and so you can see I have got the proportions rights.    

Terrence took some really good images from the software in my microscope. I did the Photo-shopping to produce sharper images for his video. He would be producing a video on the cat fur mites in a Singapore Ragdoll. He works on Sundays whenever he is off from National Service full-time obligations and will be studying veterinary medicine later. 

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)6361 -6367. The Bedok cat has fur mites under the microscope. 2013 case study
Drawing of a hair mite from cat hair scrapping <--- my illustration in 2003 from a cat's fur mite. It is known as the hair-clasping mite or hair-clinging mite. My illustration lacked the finer details. It looks like a female mite.

Many Singapore pet owners just want an annual vaccination to save on costs. It is best to do a general physical examination to screen the health of the pet and institute preventive disease measures. This will be good for the pet. "Show and tell" is a better form of client communication and education to retain client loyalty, than just announcing the diagnosis. The images engage the whole family. It is more time-consuming for the vet to do it, but his staff may be trained to do it.

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