2001-Mon Jul 24 14:49:12 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Imagine little bugs munching away and crawling around inside of your ears. The noise alone would be enough to drive you mad. It’s not likely to happen to you, but your pet can get ear mites, which are tiny parasites that set up house in the ear canal. Cats are more likely than dogs to suffer from the nasty bugs, but both can get them. Signs of infestation include scratching at the ears, dark debris in the ears, shaking the head, and red and inflamed ears. Ear mites can also cause a secondary ear infection to take hold. But hear this: Ear mites are easy to treat with medication.
Cats and dogs can both harbor ear mites, but the problem is more common in cats. Ear mites are small parasites that live primarily in the ears. Ear mites sustain themselves by eating skin cells, blood, and earwax. They deposit their waste (a dark, crusty debris) in the ear of the host animal. They also mate and produce eggs in the ear of the host. The mite’s entire life cycle is only about three weeks, and the mite spends its whole life on the animal. Ear mites are contagious between cats and dogs and to some other animals (for example, ferrets), but they are not considered contagious to humans.
The most common signs of ear mite infestation include:
Ear mites are microscopic. Examining ear debris under a microscope is the easiest method of diagnosis. Secondary infection of the ears may also be identified through microscopic evaluation of the ear debris.
There is no known breed predisposition when it comes to this parasite.
Fortunately, ear mite infestations are highly treatable. If ear mites have caused a secondary ear infection it should be treated while the ear mite infestation is being treated.
Your veterinarian can prescribe medicated ear drops to kill ear mites. Because ear mites are contagious to other pets, all animals in the household should be treated.
Some spot-on flea and tick preventives are effective against ear mites in cats and dogs. Using these products monthly will control ear mite infestations in animals exposed to them.
Keeping cats and dogs indoors so they are not interacting with community animals carrying these mites is another approach to prevention.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Thank you for subscribing.