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Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear mites are common and highly contagious external parasites in cats and dogs. They can lead to infections that cause excessive itching, scratching, and eventual health issues. Our vets in Southborough provide info on ear mites in cats, including symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Ear Mites 

Ear mites (otodectes cynotis mites) are arachnids that are commonly found in cats. This highly contagious external parasite lives on the surface of the ear canal and, on rare occasions, the skin.

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).

They can irritate our feline companions greatly. While ear mites are relatively easy to treat, they can cause serious skin and ear infections if left untreated. Ear mites are frequently the underlying cause of suspected ear infections in cats. Human ear mite infections are uncommon and are not generally considered a health risk.

What Causes of Ear Mites in Cats

You may begin to learn more about ear mites and wonder how these parasites get into your cat's ears and cause such misery. 'What causes ear mites in cats?'  The thing is, ear mites are quite adept at spreading from one infected animal to another. They're like tiny troublemakers that easily hop from one host to another. Although they tend to hassle cats the most, ear mites can also show up in dogs and other wild animals.

If you can spend time in a place like a boarding facility or roam outdoors and get cozy with other animals or touch things like grooming tools or breeding that might carry these mites, it's a breeze for them to move from one furry friend to another. 

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

If you've ever had to deal with ear mites in your cat, you've probably searched online for ways to get rid of them. Luckily, treating ear mites in cats is pretty straightforward. When your vet confirms the presence of ear mites, they'll give you medicine to combat them. You can choose between oral or topical medications. The vet might also clean your cat's ears with a special solution and might prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe.

Your veterinarian will also determine whether any secondary infections have developed as a result of the infestation and treat them as needed. Your veterinarian will most likely recommend that you return in a week or two to ensure that the mites have vanished and that no further treatment is required.

Because ear mites are contagious, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe medication for any other household pets to prevent the infestation from spreading.

It's important not to try home remedies for ear mites in cats. While some methods can kill mites, many of these treatments don't destroy the mite eggs. So, even if it seems like the mites are gone, the problem will come back when the eggs hatch.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Cats

Ear mites can be prevented by scheduling a monthly pet checkup and ear cleaning with your veterinarian. To reduce the risk of an infection at home, set a bi-weekly reminder to clean your cat's kennel, bedding, and your house. Your cat's parasite prevention products can be recommended by your veterinarian at Southborough Veterinary 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.

Do you suspect your cat may have ear mites? Contact our Southborough vets today to book an appointment.

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