What is an Ear Mite: Ear Mites – otherwise known as Otodectes cynotis – is a parasite that lives in the ears of many mammals including Cats, Dogs, Foxes, and Ferrets, and many more!
Signs of Ear Mites:
External: the outer ear is likely to be inflamed
The Cat will hold its ears flat against its head
Constant scratching at the ears
Frequent head shaking – as if trying to dislodge a bothersome object – This can cause an aural hematoma if the headshaking is persistent
Brown or Waxy discharge from the ears onto the skin and fur around the ears
Pain or sensitivity when the ears are touched
Internal: Ears will contain a dark, gooey, foul-smelling accumulation of wax and mite debris
How are Ear Mites Transmitted:
Ear mites are extremely contagious and move from one cat to another on close contact and eventually making their way to the ear
Infestation is most common among outdoor cats, as they are generally in very close contact with each other due to fighting or cuddling together.
How are Ear Mites Treated:
The first step to treating ear mites is cleaning the ears of any debris
There are a number of over the counter medications that can assist in ridding the cat of ear mites.
Topical ear drops usually contain acaricide, fungicide, antibiotics and steroids. These should be dropped into the ear and the base of the ear then massaged to help the drops disperse.
In cases of severe wax build up, it is best to work with your vet to thoroughly clean the ear before treatment
If you want to go a more “natural route”, baby oil will also work to smother the mites – A few drops placed in the ear multiple times a day will do the trick – This can be time-consuming, however
If ear mites are found in one cat in the home, you will want to check and treat all cats in the home
Can Ear Mites be prevented?
Ears should be cleaned before every treatment, and then regularly cleaned twice a week indefinitely.
There are also topical treatments that work as a preventative and treatment – Such as Revolution, which is a popular treatment that is available via prescription from your veterinarian. It is a monthly treatment that is topical, placed at the base of the skull where the cat cannot reach to lick it off.
Keep in mind: Ear Mites are not a sign of an unclean cat. “If the newly acquired mite is taking a stroll along a cat’s backside or belly,” says William Miller Jr., VMD, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, “the animal will groom it away with its tongue and swallow it. But the parasite is safe if it can make its way to the ear canal, where the cat’s paw or tongue can’t get at it.
Written By: Crystal B.