Signs Your Cat has Ear Mites: you just recently adopted an adorable kitten. However, once you take a closer look you notice it’s ears look pretty dirty. Soon you notice that kitty starts scratching its ears insistently. Concerned, you schedule a veterinarian appointment to see what is going on.
The vet inspects the ears and tells you your furry friendly is very likely affected by ear mites.
Ear mites can be described as tiny crab shaped parasites that cannot be seen without a magnifying glass. They are known by vets as Otodectes cynotis and commonly affect young kittens and cats. They like to live in the ear canal because they feed on dead skin cells and tissue fluids. They are extremely contagious from cat to cat so if your affected cat has them very surely your other cats do as well and they all will need treatment. Ear mites fortunately, are not transmitted from cats to humans.
The veterinarian, therefore, inspects the ear with a magnifying otoscope, and confirms the ear mite diagnosis based on the fact that the mites have actually been seen moving bothered by the heat emanating from the otoscope’s light.
How to Determine Your Cat has Ear Mites
Cats affected by ear mites develop particular symptoms that suggest their presence, the most common symptoms are as follows:
Pawing at the ear
Scratching the ear
Lesions from scratching
Keeping head tilted
Pain upon touching ears
Dried blood in ears
Black discharge in ears
Odor from ears
Swollen ears (hematoma)
Swollen ears may develop as a complication from the extensive scratching. Basically, the cat will scratch so much that tiny blood vessels will bleed under the skin causing a typical swelling known as aural hematoma.
An aural hematoma needs drainage by the vet or the ear may remain permanently disfigured.
Untreated, ear mites may cause as well bacterial and yeast infections of the ear turning treatment more challenging to deal with.
Treatment of Ear Mites in Cats
Once diagnosed, the vet will clean the cat’s ears carefully. Treatment will consist of:
- Ear drops to be instilled in ear canal daily
- Antibiotics if there is infection
- Antifungal meds if there is yeast infection
- Drainage of hematoma if necessary
Sometimes treatment may be a bit challenging, since if not applied for a good enough time, the ear mite’s life cycle may restart. The drops need to be instilled in the ear canal and massaged throughout the ear to ensure dispersion. If Tresaderm is prescribed, keep refrigerated but avoid if possible instilling into cat’s ears when cold. Rather, keep it out and test drops on wrist before instilling into ears. Most cats recover by the time treatment is finished, you will be able to tell right away as your cat will be itch free, relaxed and back to his normal playful kitty life!