First and foremost, what are ear mites?
Ear mites are miniscule parasites that crawl into your cat’s ear, makes itself at home, and starts to breed. While ear problems in general are not a frequent diagnosis in cats, if they're going to have an ear problem, it's going to be ear mites.
You know your cat has ear mites when:
- the cat’s outer ear is inflamed
- it hold its ears flat against its head
- it scratches at its ears almost without letup
- your cat shakes its head frequently—as if trying to dislodge a bothersome object
- you will also see a dark, gooey, foul-smelling accumulation of wax and mite debris in which the tiny ear mites thrive
William Miller Jr., VMD, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says that ear mites are almost microscopically tiny, “about the size of a pinhead."
Ear mites are extremely contagious, he notes, moving from one cat to another on close contact and eventually making their way to the ear. Infestation is most common among outdoor cats, whether they’re brawling or cuddling up affectionately.
If you suspect your cat has an infestation of ear mites, get them to a vet as soon as possible - not just to relieve your cat's discomfort, but to curb any infection that may stem from from the nonstop scratching they're doing to their ears and face.
Your vet can also prevent a serious ear diseased called otitis externa—an infection of the outer ear that, if untreated, can progress to the middle and inner ear and damage the ear drum, which can permanently affect the animal’s hearing and sense of balance.
Treatment generally begins with a thorough cleaning of the cat’s ears to remove any wax or debris that may shield the mites from topical medications. “There are many topical, oral, and systemic agents,” Dr. Miller notes, “and most—such as ivermectin—are highly effective."
Subsequent treatment for mites as well as ongoing maintenance of a cat’s ears, says Dr. Miller, can generally be done at home—as long as the owner has been given proper instruction by a veterinarian.
Ranch Remedy has been instrumental in the treatment of ear mites in cats. Our hydrating formula absorbs quickly (which is important for our busy animals) and works quickly.
A combination of veterinary care and Ranch Remedy is the ear mite solution you need!