What are ear mites?
Ear mites are parasites that live on your pet, especially in the ears. We see them most often in cats, although we occasionally see them in dogs as well.
How can I tell if my cat has ear mites?
Ear mites are extremely irritating and usually cause a large build-up of dark, crusty debris in the ears. Ear infections can also occur. Cats often scratch at their ears, even to the point of causing bleeding sores around the ears and face. Imagine having dozens, if not hundreds, of little tiny bugs crawling around in your ear canal, munching away on your skin cells! Eew!
Ear mites are very tiny—we take a sample from the ear and check under the microscope for the little critters and their eggs. Sometimes, with the magnification of an otoscope (the instrument we use to look in your pet’s ears), we can see little whitish specks moving around in the ear.
There are other reasons dogs and cats have problems with their ears, so they should be checked by the veterinarian. Ear mite infestations in dogs are fairly uncommon.
Can I get ear mites from my cat?
Will my other pets get them?
It is possible. Very unlikely in normal, healthy adult dogs, but we may recommend preventative treatment for your other cats.
How did my pet get ear mites?
Ear mites do not live long in the environment–pets get them from direct contact from infected cats or dogs. We see them most often in newly adopted cats.
How can I get rid of ear mites?
Ear mite treatment is much easier now—we don’t need to put any medication in the ears anymore. We prefer treating cats with Revolution, a topical medication that also works in cats for some other parasites. It is simple to apply and two doses are all that will be needed.
Cats (or dogs) with severe debris build-up may need to have their ears cleaned by the veterinarian, and those with secondary bacterial or yeast infections may need other treatment.
Please, do not put oil in your pet’s ears!