Youtube Play

What are Ear Mites?

Ear mites have been known to cause blockage of the ear canal if not treated and, in serious cases, can lead to more severe skin infections. While these parasites can have harsh effects on cats, they are generally easy to remove.

Ear mites are a common nuisance for pets, particularly cats that have recently met new animals. The common form in North America, Otodectes cynotis, are tiny parasites that eat the wax in the ear canals of cats. This is understandably distressing for cats, and will often lead to them constantly playing with their ears in an attempt to remove the parasite. Pet owners can easily identify ear mites by the signature brown discharge that they cause in the cat's ear.

Ear Mites Average Cost

From 493 quotes ranging from $150 - $300

Average Cost

$200

Symptoms of Ear Mites in Cats

Because ear mites are so irritating to cats, an infected cat will often try to remove them itself. If a cat is displaying any of the following symptoms, there is a good chance that it is hosting ear mites:

  • Near-constant scratching of the ears
  • Hair loss in and around the ears
  • Brown discharge of the ears that looks similar to coffee grounds
  • Strong, unpleasant odor coming from the ears
  • Inflammation of the ear
  • Incessant head shaking
  • Dark red scratches or scabs in and around the ear
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Ear Mites in Cats

Ear mites are highly contagious, making up more than half of all feline ear infections. It is easy for them to spread through the following methods:

  • Contact with an infected pet
  • Contact with a toy or bed of an infected pet
  • Lack of proper ear cleaning after exposure to an infected pet
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Ear Mites in Cats

While it can be tempting to self-diagnose ear mites, this should be avoided whenever possible. Certain forms of bacterial infections can easily be mistaken for ear mites by the untrained eye, and the treatments are very different.

When diagnosing a cat with ear mites, a veterinarian will first ask for a medical history. This will help determine if the symptoms could be caused by some sort of hereditary ear disorder. At this stage, it is important to inform the veterinarian if the cat has had any exposure to infected or unfamiliar pets.

To determine what is causing the symptoms in the cat, the veterinarian will swab a sample of the discharge from the cat's ear. They will then examine it under a microscope to determine if the issue is ear mites, a bacterial infection, or something else entirely.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Ear Mites in Cats

The good news is that there are several different ways to treat ear mites, and all of them are easy and non-invasive. Depending upon the guidance of the veterinarian, treatment can look like any of the following options:

  • Topical Medication: Often, a veterinarian will prescribe medications that are applied directly in the ear and the areas around it. These medications work in a way similar to that of lice shampoo in humans and eradicate ear mites completely. These topical medications are typically prescribed for a period of 2-3 weeks.
  • Infection Relief: Because ear mites come with such a high risk of infection, veterinarians will often prescribe ear drops or a treatment of antibiotics to relieve any infections that the cat may be suffering from. Treatment duration can vary, but it usually does not exceed one month.
arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Ear Mites in Cats

It is essential to return to a veterinarian if any symptoms begin to reappear. It is likely that the same medications will not work if a group of ear mites has developed a resistance to previous treatments and the veterinarian will need to prescribe a new treatment plan.

There is also a possibility that, during healing, the owner will need to gently clear the cat's ears of debris. This will mean faster recovery for the cat as well as increased comfort. Most cats will allow their owner to clean out their ears with a cotton swab and gentle ear cleanser, but depending on the cat and the severity of buildup, a veterinarian's assistance may be required.

Until the end of treatment, it is important to keep an infected cat away from other animals as much as possible. Due to the highly contagious nature of ear mites, spreading the infection is likely if the infected cat is around uninfected pets.

For each of these treatment options, the cat will typically feel relief within the first day or two. That said, it is important to finish any treatments completely to ensure that the ear mites are removed entirely.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ear Mites Average Cost

From 493 quotes ranging from $150 - $300

Average Cost

$200

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ear Mites Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Kitten

dog-age-icon

Two and a half months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Scratching Ears

I just got the fit set of shots Wednesday he had diarrhea Friday and then started barfing he won’t eat just drink water today he was scratching his ears and his ears stink what’s going on with him?

July 12, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Jessica N. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Your kitten may have G.I. upset from a number of different causes. It is possible that it is due to the vaccines but more likely that it is due to a parasite, diet change, something the kitten got into that didn’t agree with her G.I. system or an infectious cause. Kittens can become dehydrated very quickly so it would be best to give your veterinarian a call so they can recheck him and get him fluids, anti-emetics, and something for the diarrhea.

July 12, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Zelda

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

8 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy, Shakes Head.

My cat has ear mites, but I can't hold her still while trying to put the drops in, and it states to put up to 5 drops. If I'm lucky, I can get one drop in before she moves her head and wrestles her way out of my hold. Is there any medicine that is set up so you just put enough dosage in with one "squirt" or drop of medicine?

July 24, 2018

Zelda's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

8 Recommendations

Topical spot on medications like Revolution (selamectin) may be used to treat ear mites; the medication is applied to the skin monthly and will treat the ear mites as well as preventing a recurrence. It may still be required to clean the ears out as some debris may still be present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM “For the treatment of ear mite (O. cynotis) infestations in dogs and cats, Revolution should be administered once as a single topical dose. A second monthly dose may be required in some dogs. Monthly use of Revolution will control any subsequent ear mite infestations. In the clinical field trials ears were not cleaned, and many animals still had debris in their ears after the second dose. Cleansing of the infested ears is recommended to remove the debris.” www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/products/pdf/revolution-prescribing-information.pdf

July 25, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Ear Mites Average Cost

From 493 quotes ranging from $150 - $300

Average Cost

$200

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.