How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Cats
Every kind of pet has its own unique health challenges and needs—and cats are no exception. Although you may not be familiar with ear mite infestations in cats, this health condition can be a miserable experience for your pet, and needs to be taken seriously.
Cats aren’t the only type of pet prone to ear mite infestations , but these parasites are one of the most common health problems that cats may develop in their ears. While ear mites often aren’t a serious health concern, if left untreated ear mites in cats can pose a long-term health risk to your cats’ ability to hear.
Here’s an overview of ear mites, how to spot the signs of infestation, and how to get rid of these parasites and end your cats’ suffering.
What Are Ear Mites in Cats?
As their name implies, ear mites are a small form of mite that lives in the ears of cats and other small animals, including dogs and rabbits. Ear mites are transmitted from other animals and breed quickly once they lay eggs, with newly hatched mites growing into adults in just three weeks’ time.
Although ear mites are, per their name, most often found in the ears, they may also be found on other parts of your cats’ body.
What Causes Ear Mites in Cats?
Direct transmission from another animal is the only way your cat will contract ear mites. In many cases, the mite will make its way onto another part of your cats’ body and migrate toward the ear canal with a goal of laying eggs.
Mite infestations only occur when a mite is successful in moving to the ear and reproducing, resulting in a colony that starts to grow and continue reproducing in your cats’ ear, causing severe discomfort.
Signs and Symptoms of Eat Mites in Cats
The best way to identify ear mites is through the symptoms your cat exhibits. Common symptoms of ear mites include:
- Frequent scratching of the ears and/or shaking of the heat;
- Dark discharge from the ear;
- Burst blood vessels and/or open wounds from your cat’s scratching at its ears;
- Hair loss around the ear;
- Abnormal sensitivity when you attempt to touch your cats’ ears.
What Do Ear Mites Look Like in Cats’ Ears?
Unfortunately, ear mites are extremely small and may not even be visible to the naked eye . In some cases, mites will appear in the ear like speaks of fine dirt.
A large colony may make it look like your cats’ ears are dirty, but cat owners may not recognize this as an infestation unless they’ve spotted other signs that suggest ear mites have infected your cat.
In most cases, owners will identify—or at least suspect—the presence of ear mites based on other signs and symptoms, rather than visual confirmation of the mites themselves.
How to Check for Ear Mites in Cats
Due to the size of these parasites, the best way to check for ear mites is by identifying the symptoms of an ear mite infestation. From there, you can visit your local vet to have your cat professionally examined for ear mites . Your local vet office will be able to identify any ear mites using an otoscope , which is a specialized diagnostic device with a flashlight at the end to investigate the inside of your cats’ ear.
Your vet can also check for mites and mite eggs by swapping your cats’ ear with a cotton swab, and then sending off that sample for examination under a microscope.
How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Cats
If your cat has ear mites, you’ll need the help of your veterinarian to address the problem. Unlike other conditions you cat may develop, there’s no effective home remedy for ear mites in cats that can kill mites quickly, and with full confidence that these parasites won’t bounce back in the coming weeks.
Unlike fleas and other parasites that may latch on to your pets, ear mite eggs can’t be killed off with medication. As a result, treatment interventions are focused on killing adult mites and larvae after they’re hatched. Your veterinarian may recommend one of several medications for treatment, including topical treatments and injections. The recommended treatment may depend on the severity of the infestation, as well as your personal preferences as the cat’s owner.
If your cat has caused damage to its ears or is suffering from extreme discomfort, your vet may also recommend treatments to alleviate itching and pain while the mites are killed and your cat’s ears gradually heal.
When you notice your cat scratching its ears, or you have any other reason to suspect your cat may be dealing with ear mites, it’s important to take your cat to a vet have the problem diagnosed and promptly treated. A fast response will minimize your cat’s suffering and even reduce the medical complications arising from this annoying infestation.