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.
What are the Symptoms of Ear Mites in cats?
Ear mites are terribly uncomfortable for your cat. Imagine how it would feel having thousands of little bugs running around in one of your most sensitive areas. Usually the first symptom you notice will be your cat scratching his ears or shaking his head due to the extreme itchiness that the mites cause. You may notice a flattening of the ears. His ears may be painful to touch and he may cry in pain when you touch them or while he is scratching them. You may also notice a foul odor coming from the ears.
Cats may cause damage by scratching causing the ears to bleed. They may also shake their ears with such intensity that small blood vessels are broken and hematomas form.
If you have a look inside the ear of an infected cat you will see dark reddish brown or black debris throughout the ear canal which has been described as looking like coffee grounds. 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 may inspect the debris from the ear under a microscope for a more definite diagnosis. Ear mite infections can be serious if left untreated resulting in damage to the ear canals and eardrums and leaving deformity of the ears and possible deafness.
Secondary bacterial or yeast infections are also common so it is important to consult your veterinarian.
Treatment of Ear Mites. How Do I Get Rid Of Ear Mites?
You can purchase ear mite treatments from your usual pet supply store or your vet will prescribe an oily insecticide to clean the ear canals. All ear exudate has to be cleaned from the ear canal daily. The medication should massaged deeply into the cat's ear taking care to get into all the nooks and crannies of the ear canal. It is important to follow your vets instructions for the application of the treatment as you need to beat the ear mite's life cycle.
Revolution is another option. It is a Parasiticide that is applied to the skin of cats six weeks of age and older. Revolution is used to prevent heartworm disease, kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching and treats and prevents ear mite infestation.
Your cat might also require antibiotics for secondary infections.
Are Ear Mites 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.
Can Humans Catch Ear Mites?
No, humans are not affected by ear mites.