Recognizing mites and knowing how to treat them is important to the well being of your pet cat. The mites themselves are a big problem; however, the real danger is your cat scratching itself in an attempt to relieve the itching. This repeated scratching can result in a number of deep wounds, as the itching becomes much more relentless.
Along with the worry for your pet’s health, there are also the serious health ramifications for individuals living alongside suffering animals. Mites can only thrive when given a host to feed off, but this also means that they can travel from one host to another. This means that other animals in your household are prone to catching the mites and suffering from the same problems as your cat.
The most common mites that can trigger problems to cats tend to be ear mites; tiny parasites that live inside the ear canal of an infected animal. In the case of cats, the most likely organism is otodectes cynotis. The mites feed on the ear wax and other dirt inside a cat’s ear. They are normally found in the ear canal and can bring about bleeding in your cat from their bites, and also due to the itching. Whenever your cat suffers from these kinds of mites, the ideal solution is to visit your veterinarian for a recommended treatment.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
So, how do you know if your cat’s irritated ears are infested with ear mites?
- Your cat may scratch at her itchy ears or start shaking her head a lot. While the mites are microscopic, they can be quite pesky. Just imagine feeling hundreds of little crawly things in your ears!
- Feline ear mites on the insides of the ears will look dirty, usually with a dark brown or reddish-brown debris. Sometimes a black crust forms, as well. This crust can clog the ear canal over time.
A veterinarian can easily diagnose feline ear mites. Waxy buildup can be seen in the ear with an otoscope which can be an indicator of ear mites. Usually the veterinarian will swab the ear and examine the sample under a microscope to know for sure if it’s in fact ear mites..
- Feline ear mites are highly contagious. In fact, cats can get them or share them with other animals as well. So, if any of your pets (including dogs, cats, or rabbits) have ear mites, you may want to treat all of them.
To treat feline ear mites, the first step is to clean out the ear. You need to remove the buildup that has accumulated. The best way to do this is by very gently flushing the ear with a recommended veterinary solution, then rinsing. Since there is a risk of damaging your cat’s ear drum or pushing mites further into the ear canal, it is recommended to have a veterinarian do this. It’s also more safe (for your and your cat) to have a veterinary nursing team handle the kitty during the procedure.
Once the ears have been cleansed of residue from the mites, you can apply medication. Most of the effective ear mite treatments contain insecticide that contains pyrethrins. The medication will usually be in the form of drops which you will put in the cat’s ears, then massage so it gets good coverage. While you can buy over the counter treatments for mites, the medication provided by your veterinarian is generally stronger and may be more effective.
Medication is generally applied daily, for several days in a row. Then, you usually wait a week after which the cleansing and medication process is repeated. You may need to do this whole procedure for three or four cycles (21+ days) before ridding the ears completely of mites. Ear mites can actually live outside the ears. While they usually live in the ears, they can also survive in the surrounding fur. An ear mite will spend his whole life in a cat’s ear, from hatching, starting its own family, and finally through to its death.
Our veterinary hospital’s choice of Ear Mite treatment (for both patients and our personal cats) is Revolution Plus. It’s a once a month topical that goes on the fur between the shoulder blade (below the neck on their back).
In addition to preventing and treating Ear Mites, Revolution Plus also provides prevention and treatment for Fleas, Roundworms, Ticks as well as a heartworm preventative. So instead of having to administer FIVE medications each month, you’ll only have to give one small topical a month to protect your kitty for the main parasites that may affect them.
If you’d like to protect your kitty from parasites like Eat Mites, Fleas, Ticks, and worms, schedule a visit below with our veterinary cat hospital and get them in to see the doctor.