Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Ear Mites in Cats: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Our Mankato vets discuss ear mites in cats. These common parasites cause severe itchiness and irritation in cats' ears and skin. They are highly contagious and can lead to infections and other health problems if left untreated. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of ear mites to promptly identify and address the issue.

Ear Mites 

Ear mites (otodectes cynotis mites) are commonly found in cats and are part of the arachnid class of animals. This extremely contagious external parasite makes its home on the surface of the ear canal and sometimes on the skin's surface. 

Ear mites are tiny creatures that can be seen as quickly moving white spots if you have eyes tight. They have eight legs, with a noticeably smaller pair of hind legs.

They can cause severe irritation and discomfort to our feline companions. While they are relatively easy to treat, they can lead to severe skin and ear infections if left untreated. In fact, ear mites are often the underlying cause of suspected ear infections in casts. It's important to seek veterinary care if you suspect that your cat has ear mites.

What Causes of Ear Mites in Cats?

Ear mites can cause a great deal of discomfort to your cat, and it's common for cat owners to want to know how they get into their pet's ears. These parasites are highly contagious and can easily spread from one infected animal to another. While they are most commonly found in cats,  they can also affect dogs and other wild animals.

If your cat spends time in boarding facilities or outdoors and comes into contact with other animals or contaminated surfaces, such as grooming tools or bedding, it's easy for them to contract ear mites. Even shelter cats are at Irish, so it's important to check your newly adopted cat for ear mites and schedule a routine exam with your vet as soon as possible. 

Symptoms of Ear Mites

The most common signs of ear mites in cats include: 

  • Hair or loss or irritation due to excessive scratching around the ears 
  • Dark crusty or waxy discharge from the ear that looks like coffee grounds 
  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at ears
  • Pus 
  • Inflammation 

How to Treat Ear Mites in Cats

If your beloved pet is suffering from ear mites, you might be frantically searching for solutions to get rid of them. Fortunately, treating ear mites in casts is relatively simple. If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with ear mites, they will prescribe an anti-parasite medication that can be administered orally or topically. In addition, your veterinarian may clean your cat's ears with a special cleaning solution and prescribe antibiotics if the infection is severe.

Additionally, your veterinarian will determine if any secondary infections are present as a result of the infestation and treat them as necessary. Your veterinarian will almost certainly recommend that you return in a week or two to ensure that the mites have been eliminated and that no further treatment is required.

Ear mites are contagious, so your veterinarian will likely recommend medication for all of your other pets to prevent the infestation from spreading. 

It is not recommended to use home remedies for ear mites in cats. While some methods are effective against mites, many at-home treatments do not kill the mites' eggs. Thus, even if the mites appear to be gone, the infestation will resume when the eggs hatch.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Cats

By scheduling a monthly checkup and ear cleaning with your veterinarian, you can help prevent ear mites from establishing a foothold. Establish a biweekly reminder to clean your cat's kennel, bedding, and house to minimize the risk of an infection occurring at your residence. For parasite-prevention product recommendations for your cat, you can consult with your veterinarian at River Hills Pet Care Hospital

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Are you seeking more information about vaccinations and preventive healthcare for your dog? Contact our Mankato vets today to book an appointment.

Compassionate Veterinary Care

At River Hills Pet Care Hospital our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Mankato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

Contact Us

(507) 388-4500 Contact