If you notice your cat scratch their ears, shake their head or notice a strange odor coming from the ears then there is a huge chance they are infested with ear mites.
These microscopic critters infest up to ninety percent of all cats and are extremely contagious. Once the first cat in your house gets them it is likely all the rest will, as well.
What exactly are ear mites and how will I know if my cat has them?
Ear mites look similar to a crab and live in the ear canal, head and sometimes on the body of cats. They feed off the skin surface within the ear eating tissue debris and fluids. If they happen to spread to the skin you will notice your cat itching it’s back, neck and tail without abandon. These mites can cause the inside of your cat’s ears to become severely inflamed.
Kitties can get these at any stage of their life but it is far more common in kittens and young cats who have not had a chance to build up an immunity to them. Ear mites only survive for 3 weeks and do not break the skin to feed on blood like fleas do.
Some of the things to be on the lookout for include: irritated scratching, skin lesions around and on the ears, buildup of earwax, shaking his/her head, black crusty ear discharge and scratching his/her head.
A vet visit should be on your calendar if you suspect mites
You should take your cat to the vet to be diagnosed because the symptoms often look like other ear diseases. For example, yeast infections also produce the black crusty substance that can develop. Using an anti-mite preparation can cause further problems for your kitten if what you are dealing with is actually an ear infection.
The vet has tools that can magnify the area inside your cats ears and will be able to see if ear mites are present. If they cannot be seen a swab test will probably be performed and the black exudate will be examined via microscope.
These mites are so contagious that even dogs can pick them up from cats. If one pet has been positively diagnosed then you need to get the rest of your pets into the vet, as well.
Your vet may, or may not, clean the ears before applying the first dose of medicine. Some of the newer medicines do not require a cleaning first. You might also receive a medication and instructions to do this yourself at home.
If the skin is also infected then you might have to topically apply medicine to this area, as well. After the treatment plan has been completed you will need to return to the vet to be sure everything is taken care of.
What can I do to help get rid of and prevent mites in my cat?
It is important to make sure your cats ears are dry after their bath and regularly check them for foreign matter. Doing these two things will greatly reduce the chances your cat will become infested.
While the basic structure and functions of the ears of dogs and cats are similar to humans, dogs in particular differ in the shapes of their outer ear. While some dogs have pointed upright ears, others (like Spaniels) have long, pendulous ears which can predispose them to ear problems.
This interesting fact highlights the importance of keeping ears healthy, and clean (to prevent scratching and irritation). Your pet’s ears also contain certain amounts of wax, as well as a variety of flora (e.g. yeast and certain bacteria) to keep ears clean and free of infection.
Maintaining the natural balance of normal flora and healthy organisms in the ear is therefore important, and it is only when a weakened immune system causes over proliferation of the inner flora of the ear that problems arise.
Ear Dr. is a natural remedy to help soothe itchiness and promote clean healthy ears on cats and dogs
Ear Dr. contains a blend of natural, herbal ingredients in a medicinal olive oil base, all specially selected to support the health of the skin and structures inside the ear.
Learn more about Ear Dr. now.
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