Ear mites in cats is one of the most common causes of itching and ear infections in the fur-clad. The mite can easily spread from animal to animal through close contact, and can cause problems and discomfort in both cats and dogs. Read more to find out what ear mites actually are, how the symptoms appear in the cat and how to get rid of them. 

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What are ear mites?

Mites are microscopic arachnids, and go by the scientific name Otodectes cynotis. These arachnids settle in the cat's ear canal and feed on dead skin cells and earwax. Ear mite infection is considered relatively common among outdoor cats, and as an owner you can expect to encounter this several times during your cat's life.

It is usually young cats that are affected by ear mites, but older cats can also rarely be bothered by these small parasites. The ear mite causes intense itching in the cat, and you will notice that the cat scratches its ears almost constantly. Despite the fact that ear mites themselves are not directly dangerous, untreated infection can lead to both ear infection and other ear problems in the cat. Moreover, risks the cat getting sore on the ears if it scratches a lot around the ears.

Symptoms and diagnosis of ear mites 

The most typical signs of an ear mite infection are intense itching in the ears and brownish-black, dry earwax. As mentioned, some cats can also develop sores around the ears due to excessive scratching. If the infection is not treated, the cat can develop a chronic ear infection. This is characterized by swelling and narrowing of the ear canals, as well as increased production of earwax. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose ear mites by examining the earwax under a microscope or by directly inspecting the ears with an otoscope.

You can read more about common ailments in pets on our blog!

Treatment of ear mites in cats

There are several effective treatment methods against ear mites on the market. The most common approach is to use spot-on preparations that are applied to the skin of the neck after a thorough cleaning of the ear. If the ear mite has caused inflammation in the ear, this inflammation also needs to be treated. It is recommended to check the cat's ears after 30 days to evaluate the effect of the treatment. As ear mites are highly contagious, it is also important to keep the infected cat separate from other animals. If you have several animals under the same roof, these should also be treated for ear mites at the same time. It is important to note that even if the cat is treated once, this does not confer immunity against future ear mite infections, and new infections may occur.

Price for treatment of ear mites in cats 

The prices for treating ear mites in cats will vary from clinic to clinic, as well as depending on the type of medicine and dosage. You can see a comprehensive price list of the prices in our veterinary clinic here

Can you treat ear mites in cats yourself?

Despite the fact that there is some old-fashioned advice for the treatment of ear mites in cats, we recommend taking the cat to the vet if you suspect ear mites. The vet can make the correct diagnosis and write a prescription for the necessary medication. You can easily and efficiently book an appointment at our veterinary clinic online

Can ear mites be transmitted from cat to human? 

Although it is theoretically possible for humans to become infected by ear mites from cats or other domestic animals, this is fortunately very rare. If the accident were to happen, it could lead to a short-term itchy eczema on the skin, which usually goes away relatively quickly. The ear mite that affects livestock cannot survive on humans for a long time, and they will naturally die by themselves within a short time. Cats with ear mites can be safely handled as usual. As previously mentioned, ear mites can be transmitted from both dogs and ferrets, but the infection is usually spread from cat to cat. 

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Elisabeth is a veterinarian and authorized ophthalmologist with specialization in eye surgery, as well as further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.