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Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear mites are an external parasite that is part of the arachnid family! this highly contagious pest can cause serious discomfort to your cat but luckily, they are easily treatable. Here, our Argyle vets discuss the causes, treatment options and prevention of ear mites in cats.

Ear Mites 

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

Ear mites are tiny, but you may be able to notice them as quickly moving white spots if you have good eyesight. They have eight legs and a smaller set of thing legs. Pictures of ear mites in cats can be found using your search engine of choice.

These parasites cause significant irritation in our feline friends and, while ear mites are quite easy to treat, they can lead to severe skin and ear infections if they aren't caught early. When we see cats with ear infections, ear mites are often the underlying cause. Ear mites very rarely infect humans and are generally not considered a risk to people's health.

Causes of Ear Mites in Cats

If you are concerned that your cat is showing the signs of ear mites then you may be curious about how they may have picked them up and when? What is the cause of their infection and how are they transmitted from one pet to another?

Ear mites are highly contagious and will easily travel from one animal to another. Cats may be the animal most commonly affected by ear mites but can affect several other animals including dogs. Suppose your cat spends time in boarding environments or outdoors and gets too close to another animal or touches a contaminated surface such as a grooming tool or bedding. In that case, ear mites can easily be transmitted. 

If you brought your cat home from a shelter you should examine them right away from any potential ear mite infestation.

Symptoms of Ear Mites

The most common signs of ear mites in cats include: 

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at ears
  • Inflammation 
  • 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 
  • Pus 

How to Treat Ear Mites in Cats

While the first thought when you find out that your cat has ear mites will be 'How do I get rid of ear mites in cats?', you can relax knowing that the treatment is pretty simple.

Your vet will examine and diagnose your cat and prescribe an antiparasitic medication as well as antibiotics if needed. Your veterinarian will also likely clear your cat's ears out of the characteristic wax and discharge associated with these parasites and prescribe a course of antibiotics depending on how severe your cat's specific case is. 

Your vet may also examine your cat looking for any signs of infection resulting from your pet scratching or licking excessively. Your vet will probably suggest you return to the office in a week or two to ensure the mites are gone and that further treatment is unnecessary. 

Due to the contagious nature of ear mites, your vet will probably also prescribe medication for any other household pets to ensure the infestation doesn't continue. 

We do not advise using home remedies for ear mites in cats. While some methods are capable of killing mites, many at-home treatments don't kill the eggs of these parasites. So, while it appears that the mites are gone. The infestation will begin again when the eggs hatch.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Cats

By bringing your cat in for routine checkups you can help ensure that any potential conditions or parasitic infections are treated before they become too serious. You should also clean your cat's bedding and toys often to help kill any pests that may be trying to make a home out of your cat. Your vet will be able to recommend different types of parasite prevention 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. 

Is your cat showing signs of ear mites? Contact Argyle Veterinary Hospital today to schedule an examination.

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Contact (940) 464-3231