Of the many internal and external parasites that can affect a cat, ear mites are perhaps one of the most common, and most untreated. Some cats have ear mites for years before they are finally diagnosed and treated. Do you notice your cat scratching his or her ears with the paws often? Then he or she might have ear mites. Follow these tips to confirm that this is the case, and then treat them at home.
How to Determine if Your Cat Has Ear Mites
Even uninfected cats might scratch their ears now and then, so this symptom alone does not necessarily mean that your cat has ear mites. There are a few other symptoms to look for:
- Excessive shaking of the head (your cat may whine or meow shrilly while doing this)
- Hair loss around the ears
- A strong odor coming from the ears
- Brown particles that resemble coffee granules in the ears
- A dark brown, waxy secretion that leaks out of the ears or seems to be accumulating inside the ear
You'll need to get a good look inside of your cat's ears in order to check for some of the above symptoms. This might be tough if your cat's ears are sensitive from an ear mite infection. Try having a friend hold your cat, while you gently push aside the hairs near the ears to peek inside. You can also try approaching your cat and looking inside the ears while he or she is eating.
How to Treat Ear Mites at Home
Mild cases of ear mites can be treated at home with medicated ear drops. These are generally sold over-the-counter at pet supply stores. Follow the instructions on the package to treat your cat. Generally, you'll need to squeeze a couple of drops into each ear, and then repeat the treatment several times over a 2 – 3 week period. Make sure you hold the bottle in such as way that allows the drops to fall deep into the ear, but don't push the bottle so far into the ear that you touch the inner ear area.
If your cat's symptoms don't subside after treating the ear mites with over-the-counter drops, it's time to call Berlin Township Animal Clinic. The vet can prescribe a stronger medication and make sure there is not anything more sinister causing your cat's discomfort. In rare cases, growths in the ears and bacterial infections may cause symptoms that are similar to those of ear mites, and these conditions require more intense treatment.