Remedies For Ear Mites In Cats
We all know that cats are prone to getting fleas, but did you know that they are also at risk for developing ear mites?
In fact, most ear mites are found in cats, but they can also be found in dogs.
Typically, they get them from direct contact with other animals or from sharing a bed or other common area with other household pets.
Ear mites are easily transmitted from one animal to another, so if you have more than one cat at home or even a dog it’s important to treat them all.
If one of your pets has mites, chances are that the others will have them, too.
Dealing with fleas is straightforward for the most part, even though they are always a pain to get rid. Changing their litter box is important so be sure to use litter liners.
But ears mites can be a big problem for many cat owners, especially if your cat has never had them before. Don’t be fooled, ear mites can cause some major problems for cats and getting rid of them isn’t always that easy.
So just what are ear mites?
Ear mites are crab-like bugs that find their way into your cats’ outer ear and work their way down into the ear canal.
There are more than one kind of mite, but the most common one’s found in ears are what are known as Otodectes Cynotis mites. More than 90% of the time these are the kind of mites you’ll find in your cats’ ears. If your cat is unlucky enough to suffer from a mite infestation, then they are going to be very uncomfortable. That’s why treatment needs to be given as quickly as possible.
How do you tell if your cat has a mite infestation? The easiest way is to simply learn how to identify the signs and symptoms associated with ear mites. That way you’ll always be able to catch them early and give your cat quick relief.
Here are The Common Signs and Symptoms
- Scratching – Probably the most noticeable sign is the constant scratching or itching that comes along with ear mites. Your cat will never leave their ears alone. Much like fleas, mites will make your cats ear itch, but you’ll notice that the scratching is focused on the ears.
- Tilted head turning – When your cat has ear mites, you’ll notice that they tilt their head to one side more often. They’ll also typically favor one ear more often. Cats will typically tilt their head in the same direction trying to find relief from the itching.
- Dizziness and balance problems – You may also notice that your cat appears to be dizzy. They may lose their balance more often, fall when trying to jump up and down from things. They may also appear uncoordinated when trying to play. That’s because when mites get down into the ear canal they can affect balance and coordination.
- Holding their ears flat – If your cat is really beginning to feel the irritation of the ear mites, you may notice that they flatten their ears. If they aren’t itching or scratching or tilting their head they’ll be flattening their ears down.
- Bad smell– Any type of infection or infestation will also have a foul odor. The smell is due to your cats own immune response to the irritation and the excrement from the mites. This causes a foul and unpleasant odor to emit from their ears.
The first step in ridding your cats’ ears from mites is to give them a thorough cleaning. You can do this at home or have your vet do it. Simply use a cotton ball to clean the outer area and gently moving into the ear canal. Carefully remove dirt, debris and all wax buildup. Once the ears are clean you can get special drops from your vet who will either administer them or walk you through the process.
While you go through this process it’s important to keep your cats’ ears clean and you should do it daily. Once you clean the ears then you should administer the drops until you’ve completed them or as long as your vet has instructed you to.
For severe infestations, it may be a good idea to administer the drops several times each day. Typically, the treatment takes about a week to eliminate the mites and if it is bad enough to cause an infection or inflammation it could take longer. Plus, your vet may want to give you some oral medication to clear up any infection.
As I said before it’s important to all animals at home.
Make sure to also wash any bedding, blankets or rugs used by your pets.
Here are a few of the treatment methods you can use, “single use products” are the easiest and most effective.
If you find that ear mites become a major issue in your neighborhood or there are a lot of stray cats in the area, you may want to consider a monthly treatment.
Single Use Products: Acarexx and Milbemite are two prescriptions used to kill the adult ear mites and their eggs. That’s why it’s a single treatment. They are applied directly to the ear canals.
Topical Over-the-Counter Treatments: You can also buy ear mite products at the pet store. The only problem is that it can take 21-30 days. That’s because these products aren’t strong enough to kill the eggs. And if they are stopped too early, the mite eggs will hatch out, and the ear mites will persist.
Ivermectin Injections- 2-4 Treatments: This is a very effective treatment but for certain dog breads it can be risky (especially Collie breeds), as it is a high dose of Ivermectin. It’s also not approved for the treatment of ear mites in small animals, because it can cause neurological problems and there are much safer alternatives.
Monthly Topical Preventions: The monthly flea & heartworm preventions Revolution and Advantage Multi can also help to control ear mites. However, they won’t completely treat an ear infection. Nonetheless they can be effective at keeping the overall mite population low, helping to prevent future recurrences.
There are several other causes of ear irritation, and each requires a specific treatment. If you have a cat with ear issues, be sure to have it looked at by your vet, that way they can get the appropriate care they need.