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Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear mites, a common external parasite, spread easily and cause intense itching, scratching, and potential infections in casts' ears and skin. These mites are more common in cats than dogs but are treatable. Our vets in Oakwood cover ear mite symptoms, causes, and treatments for cats.

Ear Mites 

Ear mites (otodectes cynotis mites) are commonly found in cats and are part of the arachnid class of animals. This extremely contagious external parasite makes its home on the surface of the ear canal and sometimes on the skin's surface. 

They are tiny, but you may be able to notice them as quickly moving white spots if you've got good eyesight. They have eight legs, with a noticeably smaller pair of hind legs (ear mites in cats' pictures can be found by using your favorite online search engine, and the thumbnail image for this post shows a buildup of black wax inside the ear of a cat with ear mites).

Ear mites can greatly bother our cats. If not treated, they can lead to serious skin and ear problems. Cats showing signs of ear infections often have ear mites as the root cause. Human ear mites infections are rare and usually not a health concern. 

What Causes of Ear Mites in Cats?

Have you heard about ear mites? These tiny bugs can make your cat really uncomfortable by getting into their ears. Some cat owners might ask their vet, " Why do cats get ear mites?" These mites are quite contagious and can easily move from one infected animal to another. They are common in cats, but dogs and other wild animals can also get home. If your cat hangs out in places like pet boarding or outside and meets other animals or contaminated things like grooming tools or bedding, they can easily catch ear mites. 

Shelter cats also commonly contract ear mites, so be sure to check your newly adopted cat for ear mites and schedule a routine exam with your vet as soon as possible. 

Symptoms of Ear Mites

The most common signs of ear mites in cats include: 

  • Hair or loss or irritation due to excessive scratching around the ears 
  • Dark crusty or waxy discharge from the ear that looks like coffee grounds 
  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at ears
  • Pus 
  • Inflammation 

How to Treat Ear Mites in Cats

Many a pet owner who has dealt with ear mites in their furry friend has likely frantically typed 'How to get rid of ear mites in cats' into their favorite search engine, looking for solutions. Fortunately, when it comes to ear mites in cats, treatment is relatively straightforward. If your vet diagnoses your cat with ear mites, an anti-parasitic medication will be prescribed. These medications are available in oral or topical form. The veterinarian may also clean your cat's ears with a cleaning solution designed for this purpose and prescribe a course of antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection.

Your vet will check for other infections caused by the infestation and treat them if needed. They'll likely suggest a follow-up in a week or two to make sure the mites are gone, and no more treatment is needed. 

Since ear mites can spread easily, your vet will probably give medication to your other pets to prevent the infestation from spreading. 

Due to ear mites' contagious nature, your veterinarian will almost certainly prescribe medication for any other household pets to ensure the infestation does not spread.

It is not recommended to use home remedies for ear mites in cats. While some methods are effective against mites, many at-home treatments do not kill the mites' eggs. Thus, even if the mites appear to be gone, the infestation will resume when the eggs hatch.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Cats

By scheduling a monthly checkup and ear cleaning with your veterinarian, you can help prevent ear mites from establishing a foothold. Establish a biweekly reminder to clean your cat's kennel, bedding, and house to minimize the risk of an infection occurring at your residence. Your veterinarian at Oakwood Animal Hospital can make parasite-prevention product recommendations for your cat.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Do you think your cat has ear mites? Get in touch with our vets in Oakwood as soon as possible. Contact us today!

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