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Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear mites are a common parasite in cats that can cause discomfort and infections. Our veterinarians at Hohenwald offer info on symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Ear Mites 

Ear mites (otodectes cynotis mites) are commonly found in cats and are part of the arachnid class of animals. This highly contagious external parasite makes it 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 cat 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).

Our furry friends can suffer from severe irritation due to ear mites. Though these mites can be treated easily, neglecting them can lead to severe skin and ear infections in cats. Often, when we observe felines with symptoms of ear infections, we find out that the root cause is ear mites. It is rare for humans to get ear mite infections, and they are not considered a significant health risk.

What Causes of Ear Mites in Cats?

You may begin reading about ear mites and wonder how these parasites get into your cat's ears and cause them such misery. Cat owners will eventually ask their veterinarian, 'What causes ear mites in cats?'

Ear mites are highly contagious and can spread easily from one infected animal to another. Although cats are more prone to them, ear mites can also affect dogs and other wild animals.

Suppose your cat spends time in boarding facilities or outdoors and comes into contact with another animal or a contaminated surface, such as a grooming tool or bedding. In that case, ear mites can be easily transmitted.

It's important to note that shelter cats are prone to ear mites. It's advisable to check your newly adopted feline friend for any signs of ear mites and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a routine examination 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

It's common for pet owners to face the issue of ear mites in their furry companions. Consequently, they often resort to searching for ways to eliminate ear mites in cats through their preferred search engine.

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 veterinarian will assess if the infestation causes any secondary infections and provide the necessary treatment. They will also suggest a follow-up visit after a week or two to ensure complete mite eradication and determine if additional treatment is needed.

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

To avoid ear mites from infesting your cat's ears, it's advisable to schedule a monthly checkup and ear cleaning with your veterinarian. Make it a habit to clean your cat's kennel, bedding, and house every two weeks to reduce the likelihood of infection in your home. For the best parasite prevention products for your feline friend, consult your veterinarian at Hohenwald Animal Hospital.

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. 

Are you seeking more information about vaccinations and preventive healthcare for your dog? Contact our experienced Hohenwald vets today to book an appointment.

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