What are ear mites in cats?
Parasites, both external and internal, more like mites in cat’s ears are one of the main enemies of the well-being and health of our companion animals in general. But if we stop to think about how annoying it must be to have tiny beings proliferating in our ears or skin, we can understand how important it is to know everything possible about cat ear mites, their symptoms, treatment, and contagion.
How do cats get ear mites?
The Otodectes cynotis (ear mites) is the most common species of kitten ear mites, which also occurs in dogs and other pets and even less frequently in people. Kitten ear mites occur throughout the world and mainly affect young felines and outdoor cats. In addition to itching and skin lesions, they can also lead to painful ear infections and allergic reactions. A typical indication of cat ear mites is the formation of a waxy mass, similar to coffee grounds, within the ear canal.
- Read more: 10 Reasons Why Cats Make Better Than Dogs
Do my cats have ear mites?
Since cat ear mites are difficult to recognize the diagnosis needs to be confirmed by a veterinarian. Although it can be detected relatively quickly and easily, a detailed interview (history) with the caregiver should be conducted at the beginning of each examination. With this, it is now possible to exclude differential diagnoses (for example, other ectoparasites or non-infectious skin diseases, such as allergies), which require different therapy and prognosis. For example, when the affected kitten has not been exposed to antiparasitic prophylaxis (such as a collar) during the last weeks, an ear mite infestation has likely occurred. However, if the mustachioed has received effective parasitic protection, the vet is more likely to consider an ear infection or allergic reactions.
Symptoms of cat ear mites
Looking for signs of ear mites in cats can be not so easy to recognize. Depending on the extent of the infestation, symptoms of ear mites in cats can be different:
- Parasitic otitis externa: formation of a dark, coffee-like mass (consisting of blood, ear discharge, cellular exudate, and mite droppings) in one or both ears in reaction to the saliva of the kitten ear mites
- Possible severe itching: increased scratching of the ear, jerking, and abnormal head movements
- Allergic reactions: itching, redness, hair loss, pustules
- Scabbing and secondary bacterial infections due to heavy scratching of the affected areas
- In less frequent cases, a painful inflammation of the middle or inner ear (otitis media or internal) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) can occur as a result of an infestation of cat mites.
How do you get rid of cat ear mites?
After recognizing the symptoms of ear mites in cats in addition to acaricidal treatments, it is vitally important to clean the secretions with a suitable cleanser, a minimum of twice a week at first. The ear mite cats treatment helps your cat to recover faster and to feel more comfortable, so these cleaners are usually oily, so they can help to get rid of parasites mechanically (drowns them), extra help to the anti-parasitic that we must apply to our cat.
- Antiparasitic: ivermectin, selamectin, or moxidectin
- Gently wipe the ear with a wet wipe or do an ear wash until all crusts and coffee grounds-like mass dissolve
- Anti-inflammatory ointments
- Ear cat mite’s treatment in cats of secondary bacterial infections: antibiotic ear drops
To clean the cat’s ears, a few drops of the cleaner will be introduced into the ear and, with sterile gauze, the entire area will be cleaned, spreading the product well and exerting a gentle massage that, also, allows to remove some of these parasites. These drops for cat ear mites are usually a very effective complement to veterinary ear mite cat’s treatment. However, as a home remedy for mites in cats, it is possible to use olive oil instead, following the same procedure.
A small drawback is an accidental entry into the eye of a drop of these cleansing oils, so it is advisable to be very careful. Another incident is the possible appearance of Horner Syndrome, secondary to cleaning. However, it is rare, and the benefits of cleaning outweigh the drawbacks.
How to cure cat ear mites?
Although cat mites have a simple treatment and solution, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, keep these little tricks to prevent your cat’s ears from becoming infected with cat mites:
- Use an effective de-wormer. There are medicines, such as selamectin that helps prevent the infestation of cat mites and other types of parasites: fleas, heartworms… It is applied to the back of the cat’s neck and will prevent the development of new parasites.
- Protect the cat’s paws with fipronil. The fipronil effectively combat ticks, fleas, lice, and other parasites that have the cat. In this way, if your fur friend scratches its ears with its paws, you will avoid new infestations by cat mites.
- Keep a clean environment. Use environmental insecticides to combat fleas and other parasites and thus avoid a new infestation.
- Help your cat to have a stronger immune system. Infestations also attack the immune system, therefore, for you to deal with other infestations by some type of parasite, your immune system must be strong. Offer him a healthy and quality diet that meets all his needs.
- Take your cat to the vet. Make the relevant visits to the specialist to monitor your cat’s health and, in the event of some of the symptoms described above, take him to his consultation so that he can give him the appropriate treatment.