Treating A Cat With Ear Mites
13 June, 2012
Ear mites are a common affliction in cats that are terribly uncomfortable for your feline friend. I know my cat, Sammy, had them when he was a kitten and it took time and effort to get rid of them. Yet, with the right care, they are treatable.
What are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are a small spider like parasite that infects the ears of cats. They usually live in the ear canals but can live on other parts of the cat’s body. Ear mites are the most common cause of ear infections seen by vets.
Ear mites thrive in the warm moist area where the air flow is restricted. They feed on epidermal debris & ear wax. They burrow into the ear, causing inflammation and irritation which the body responds to by producing more wax. (Yuck!)
How can you tell if your cat has ear mites?
Usually the first symptom you will notice is your cat scratching his ears or shaking his head due to the extreme itchiness that the mites cause your poor kitty. If you then look inside the ear of your infected kitty, you will see dark reddish brown or black gunk throughout the ear canal. This debris comprises of ear wax, blood and Ear mites are visible to the naked eye and can be seen as white dots among the dark debris. You may even see them moving around.
Your vet will look in your cat’s ear with a magnifying instrument called an otoscope and will look at the infection to see how severe it is. Ear mites can be serious if left untreated as they can cause damage to the ear canals and eardrums.
Treatment for ear mites
Your veterinarian will usually prescribe an oily insecticide to treat the ear canals or you might even be able to buy a treatment at your local pet supply store. You will need to clean out the black ear gunk from the ear canal daily to make sure that the medication can reach the mites. The best way to do this is with a cotton ball, q-tip or soft cloth dipped in vegetable oil.
After cleaning the ears, the medication should be massaged deeply into the cat’s ears taking care to get into all the nooks and crannies of the ear canal.
It is important to follow your vet’s or the product’s instruction for the application of the treatment. Do not stop treatment because it appears the ear mites have gone. You must continue for two weeks to beat the life cycle of the mite. It does take time.
Ear mites are contagious
Ear mites are very contagious and can be passed on from cat to cat or cat to dog and visa versa so it is important to treat all of your pets at the same time.
As long as you catch the ear mites early on and are vigilant about the treatment, your cat will be cured in a few weeks. Good luck!
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