Ear mites can cause severe irritation to a dog's ears and skin, but fortunately, they are relatively easy to treat. Our vets at Franklin have compiled a comprehensive list of the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ear mites in cats.
The medical term for ear mites is otodectes cynotis mites. This extremely contagious external parasite is part of the arachnid class of animals and makes its home on the surface of the ear canal or the skin's surface.
While ear mites are tiny, you may notice them as quickly moving white spots if you have good eyesight. They are eight-legged creatures with a smaller set of thin legs.
Ear mites can cause a lot of discomfort to your pet, and if left untreated, they can lead to severe skin and ear infections. However, with proper treatment, they can be easily taken care of. It's important to catch them early to prevent any further complications.
It is common for vets to attribute ear infections in cats to ear mites. However, it's important to note that humans are not at risk of contracting ear mites and are unlikely to be affected by them.
Causes of Ear Mites
As you learn more about ear mites, you may wonder, "What causes ear mites in cats?" How do these parasites get into a cat's ears and make them so miserable? How does the infection develop, and how are they transmitted from one animal to another?
Ear mites are highly contagious and can easily spread from one four-legged creature to another. Although they are most common in cats, they can also be found in dogs and other wild animals. If cats spend time in boarding environments or outdoors and come into close contact with other animals or contaminated surfaces like bedding or grooming tools, they are at risk of contracting ear mites.
Shelter cats also often contract ear mites, so make sure to have your newly adopted cat checked for ear mites and book a routine exam with your vet as soon as possible.
Signs of Ear Mites in Cats
Some of the most common indications of ear mites in cats are:
- Scratching at ears
- Head shaking
- Dark crusty or waxy discharge from the ear that looks like coffee grounds
- Hair or loss or irritation due to excessive scratching around the ears
Treating Ear Mites in Cats
Many pet owners who have dealt with ear mites in their furry friends have surely wondered about how to get rid of ear mites in cats. Thankfully, treatment is relatively straightforward.
If your cat has been diagnosed with ear mites, your vet will prescribe antiparasitic medication in either a topical or oral form. Additionally, your veterinarian may clear your cat's ears of the characteristic wax and discharge associated with these parasites and prescribe antibiotics depending on the severity of your cat's case.
After examining your pet, your veterinarian will check for any additional infections caused by the infestation and provide treatment if necessary. They may recommend a follow-up appointment in one to two weeks to confirm that the mites have been eradicated and determine if further treatment is needed.
Due to the contagious nature of ear mites, your vet will probably also prescribe medication for any other household pets to ensure the infestation doesn't continue.
It is not recommended to use home remedies for ear mites in cats. Although some methods can eliminate the mites, a lot of at-home treatments do not kill the eggs of these parasites, which means that although it may seem that the mites are eradicated, the infestation will start once more when the eggs hatch.
Preventing Ear Mites in Cats
Frequently scheduling checkups and ear cleanings for your cat with your veterinarian is an effective way to prevent serious ear mite infestations. It is also important to regularly clean your cat's kennel, bedding, and your home to eliminate any stray mites. Your vet can also suggest parasite prevention products to keep your feline companion safe and healthy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.