You’ve probably heard of mites before, especially if you’ve taken any of your pets to a vet for a checkup. They will always check the ears for mites or any other infections or problems.
You might not know that ear mites are parasites and as such can contribute to eventual inflammation and infection of the ear. If this is allowed to go on too long, it sometimes leads to serious ear health issues such as hearing loss.
If you’ve noticed your cat scratches its ears or has a lot of black debris in the ear or on other parts of the body, it could be they are infected with ear mites. It doesn’t matter whether your cat is an indoor only or outside prowling tom cat. Both can get mites. These parasites can also be spread from one pet to the other. So be sure to check any other cats, dogs, or other furry friends for this problem too. Don’t worry about spreading this to people – only pets can contract this.
Surprisingly, the mites can spread to other parts of the cat’s body. You may see some signs elsewhere on the body, especially in the leg and belly areas where there are folds of skin to hide in.
Here are the signs to look for:
- Your cat displays some distress by scratching its ears or shaking its head often.
- The ear area may show inflammation and redness from the scratching.
- The telltale sign of a probable mite infestation will be the black debris, specks or dirty appearance of the inside of the ears.
- There will most likely be a build-up of wax in the ears.
- The ears will have a distinct unpleasant odor due to the build up of bacteria and yeast from the mites.
What to do if you suspect mites:
- Carefully remove some of the wax with a cotton swab.
- Examine it with a magnifying glass.
- If there are mites, they will show up as tiny white specks in the wax.
Note that your cat may only have mites is one ear currently, so be sure to check both ears to be sure.
Begin a treatment to clean and protect the ear against further infection and get rid of the mites. Many people have found that a natural and inexpensive solution such as the Dancing Pet Ear Wash can work as well if not better than expensive medications or other ointments, powders, and remedies. And your pet will generally feel relief immediately after use. Just be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and repeat daily for at least three to five days until totally cleared up.
If you have other pets, make sure to treat them as well. Take time to clean all the bedding and areas where they normally lie to get rid of the mites and their debris and prevent re-infestation.
If things do not clear up within 1-2 weeks or get worse, make sure to check with your vet. Sometimes a bacterial or other infection can mimic an ear mites problem or the mites might have been there long enough to cause a further infection deeper in the ear canal.
Once your cat’s ears are back to normal, be sure to maintain their ear health by a weekly regimen of a natural and safe ear wash to clean and protect the delicate ear area. This will also keep things pH balanced and clean which deters the return of any future mite or other bacterial problems.