Ear mites are most commonly found in outside cats and kittens, but indoor pets can also become victims of this extremely tiny crab like parasite. They are very difficult to see, but if you look extremely close you may be able to see little white dots. Ear mites are hard to see with the naked eye, yet there are signs that you will know if your pet has them with waxy secretion, ear inflammation, a strong odor and excessive scratching. Not only are there various ways to get ear mites and signs to detect that your pet has them, there is treatment to help get rid of ear mites in cats.
If you notice that your cat is shaking his/her head a lot and has scratch marks around the exterior of the ear along with obstruction to the ear canal, then chances are your pet has ear mites. If you feel that ear mites are a possibility then have your pet checked by your veterinarian. If you have several pets in your home then have all of them checked once it is determined one has ear mites as they are extremely contagious. It’s extremely rare that humans can be infected.
Some of the causes of ear mites in cats is if they come in contact with an animal that has them. They make up 50 percent of all feline infections. Cats are more susceptible to ear mites than dogs. If your cat goes outside they can end up with ear mites unless you take some precautions. Use Revolution or some form of flea and tick treatment. These are topical monthly treatment that help prevent your pet from attracting fleas, ticks and other parasites. This type of treatment can help cats fight against multiple types of parasites including round worms and hookworms along with ear mites.
If you notice that your cat has ear mites and take them to the veterinarian for a diagnosis then the doctor will prescribe medicine to give your pet on a regular basis until it is all gone. You will apply drops in the ear once or twice daily, you can clean the ears with cotton and an ear cleaner, but make sure you swipe gently and not deep in the ear, and you may be given an antibiotic on top of the various treatments provided. There is an anti-parasite shampoo that you can use to bathe your cat in called pyrethrin to help prevent ear mites from spreading outside the ears and onto the skin where they will experience hair loss if the ear mites go untreated along with more extreme cases including loss of hearing and seizures.
Make sure to complete the full cycle of any medication given by the veterinarian to prevent the ear mites from returning and to ensure the ear mites are completely gone. Ear drops or antibiotics will usually last for up to one month. As ear mites in cats can last up to a three week life cycle, it is important to remove every single mite as they live off the wax and oils in the cat’s ears. They can infect the internal and external parts of the ear canal and it can lead to skin and ear infections without the proper treatment. You will notice dark discharge coming from the ears when the ear mites are out of control. Loss of hair and an obstruction to hearing will occur as the cat suffers long term problems with ear mites.
With routine cleaning of your pet’s ears will help keep ear mites away. Keep bedding clean especially if your pet has had them once before. Chances are they will return if regular upkeep is not maintained. Ear mites may find a place to survive and return its ugly head onto your pets once again if the bedding from all of your pets are not cleaned at least once a week. Always take precautions to keep these pesty parasites away from your cats and dogs in your home. Keep a keen eye on your pet by checking the ears regularly and making sure that there isn’t any brown residue accumulating. By gently cleaning your pet’s ears once a month and maintaining clean ears you will always be on top of possible ear mites that could occur.
By following the multiple ways to examine your cat’s ears and keeping not only the ears clean but the bedding, you will be able to maintain a clean environment for your pet. It will be highly possible to avoid ever having to see ear mites. However, if it does occur at some point you will be able to detect them right away and then take the proper steps to get rid of them. It can be a long process, but at least your pets will live a happy and ear mite free life.
Further Resources for Ear Mites in Cats:
Felin Ear Disorders – Cornell University
Can Bird Mites Affect Cats? – NeverPest.com