Ear mites are relatively common external parasites that can infect cats and dogs. They can make the ears and surrounding skin of infected animals severely irritated. In this blog, our Stuart vets discuss the causes and symptoms of ear mites in cats and how they can be treated.
Ear Mites in Cats
Ear mites, or otodectes cynotis mites, are highly contagious, very common external parasites seen in cats. They reside on the surface of the ear canal and sometimes on the surface of the skin, making your kitty severely irritated.
It's relatively easy to treat ear mites, but if they go untreated they can result in serious ear and skin infections. When cat owners bring their feline friends to the vet for complaints of ear infections, ear mites are frequently the cause.
How Cats Get Ear Mites
Because ear mites are very contagious they can easily spread from one infected pet to another. While ear mites are most prevalent in cats, they can also be seen in dogs and other wild animals. If your kitty spends time in boarding facilities or outdoors they could easily get ear mites by touching contaminated surfaces (such as grooming tools or bedding) or by getting too close to another animal.
Mites are common in shelter cats. Be sure to check newly adopted cats for ear mites and bring them to your vet for a routine exam as soon as possible.
Signs & Symptoms of Cat Ear Mites
Below we have listed the most common signs and symptoms of ear mites in cats:
- Scratching at ears
- A dark waxy or crusty discharge from the ear that looks like coffee grounds
- Irritation or hair loss from excessive scratching around the ears
Treating Ear Mites in Cats
Thankfully, treating ear mites in cats is fairly straightforward. If your ver diagnoses your cat with ear mites they will prescribe an anti-parasitic medication. Medications are available in topical or oral form. Your veterinarian may also clean your cat’s ears with an appropriate cleaning solution.
On top of this, your veterinarian may also examine your cat to see if any secondary infections have developed as a result of the ear mite infestation and treat them as needed. Your vet will most likely recommend going back to the office in one or two weeks to make sure the mites have gone away and that additional treatment isn't required.
As a result of ear mites' contagious nature, your vet will probably also prescribe medication for any other household pets to make sure the infestation doesn't continue.
Home remedies for ear mites are not advisable. While there are some methods that can kill mites, many at-home treatments do not kill the eggs of the mites. So while it may seem like the mites are gone, the infestation will reoccur when the eggs hatch.
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.