Ear mites are tiny, crab-like parasites that invade the outer ears and ear canals of cats. There are many different types, but the most common is Otodectes Cynotis, which is found in approximately 90 percent of all feline ear mite infestations.
How can I tell if my cat has ear mites? If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s possible that your cat may have ear mites. A trip to the vet will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. If untreated, an ear mite infestation can become severe and lead to partial or complete hearing loss for your cat. Ear mites are also terribly uncomfortable for your cat. The sooner you can get this situation treated, the happier and healthier your cat will be.
What does a cat ear mite infection look like? In this case a picture really is worth a thousand words. Look for these things:
Ear mites on cats are not just found in the ears. This parasite can travel all over the cat’s body. Ear mites think other species are tasty too, and they are very contagious. Without treatment, your cat’s ear mite infestation can spread to the family dog, rabbit or hamsters. All family pets have to be treated if mites are found on just one animal. That’s just one more reason why a trip to your local veterinarian or pet health care clinic should be scheduled if you suspect ear mites. Parasites are just one cause of cat otitis (inflammation of the ear). Other causes include allergies, endocrine diseases and tumors. Only a trip to the vet will provide you with a proper diagnosis.
First you must treat the ears. Clean your cat’s ears, then apply ear mite drops to the ear canal for seven days. Ear mite medications are safe and can even be applied to kittens. Your vet will probably begin the treatment after diagnosis and then have you continue applying the drops from home over the next week.
Because mites can be located outside the ear area, the entire body of the cat should also be treated. The cat must be bathed with a pyrethrin (anti-parasite) shampoo. These products are available everywhere – pet stores, supermarkets or from your animal health care provider.
One of the most effective treatments for ear mites in your cat is prevention. A monthly topical dose of Revolution (applied to the skin) prevents an ear mite infestation from ever happening. In addition, Revolution protects against fleas, hookworm, roundworm, and the extremely serious and deadly heartworm. The only infestation is does not prevent is “ringworm,” which is a fungus and not actually a worm. There are other medications to treat this syndrome in cats. Another product that protects against ear mites is Advantage Multi. It is also applied on a monthly basis, directly to your pet’s skin.