Virbac USA
Cat Walking on Green Grass (16:9 Aspect Ratio)

Ear Health

Score 4 (2 Votes)

Cat Ear Mites (Otodectes cynotis)

cat_ear_exam.jpg

Ear mites are parasites, barely visible to the human eye, that live on the surface of the skin, usually in the ear canal. They are a common cause of disease and infection and are responsible for more than half of all cases of an ear infection called otitis externa in cats. Ear mites can cause the cat to scratch the ears and develop a dark discharge from the ears. This discharge can be associated with redness and swelling of the skin surrounding the opening of the ear canal.

How common are ear mites and how are they transmitted?

Ear mites are common in cats, particularly in kittens, and are highly contagious to cats and dogs. They can easily spread from the ear of an infected cat to other pets during social interaction, including grooming, sleeping, or playing together.

Cat_health_infection_mite_chart.jpg

Cat_health_infection_vet_exam.jpgWhen to see your veterinarian

If you suspect your cat has ear mites, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. During your cat’s appointment, your veterinarian will use an otoscope to examine the ear. Usually, mites can be seen with an otoscope or on swabs of the ear canal observed under a microscope.

 

cat_health_mite.jpgHow are ear mites treated?

Ear mites are treated with medications applied directly to the ear canal. When mites are present in one cat or dog in the household, it is important to treat all pets in the household at the same time because ear mites are so contagious. Mite infestation often leads to a secondary bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection, which may need to be addressed with topical medications and ear cleansers.

Cat_health_infection_mite_exam.jpg

Vote for this content: 5 4 3 2 1

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SEEING YOUR VETERINARIAN
  • Are ear mites painful?

    Yes, ear mites can cause intense itching. Ears can become red and swollen and rashes or other skin disorders can occur on the skin around the ears.1,2

     

    References: 1. Otitis externa in cats. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/ear-disorders-of-cats/otitis-externa-in-cats. Accessed July 23, 2020. 2. Ear infections in cats. ASPCA Pet Insurance website. Available at: https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/ear-infections-in-cats/. Accessed July 20, 2020. 3. Ear mites. Pets and Parasites website. Available at: www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/ear-mites/. Accessed October 19, 2020.

  • Can my cat transmit ear mites to me?

    Ear mites are generally not considered to be a risk to people.3

     

    References: 1. Otitis externa in cats. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/ear-disorders-of-cats/otitis-externa-in-cats. Accessed July 23, 2020. 2. Ear infections in cats. ASPCA Pet Insurance website. Available at: https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/ear-infections-in-cats/. Accessed July 20, 2020. 3. Ear mites. Pets and Parasites website. Available at: www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/ear-mites/. Accessed October 19, 2020.

  • Can my indoor cat get ear mites?

    Even though ear mites are more common in outdoor cats, indoor cats can be affected if they come into contact with another infected cat or the bedding or toys of an infected cat.

  • How are ear mites diagnosed?

    Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose ear mites. Usually, the mites can be seen with an otoscope or on swabs of the ear canal observed under a microscope.

  • How are ear mites transmitted?

    Ear mites are very contagious and can easily travel from the ears of an infected cat to other pets in close contact. This can happen when pets are grooming, sleeping, or playing together.

  • How are ear mites treated?

    Ear mites can be successfully treated by medication. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the best ear mite treatment for your dog.

  • What are ear mites?

    Ear mites are tiny mites that live on the surface of the skin, usually in the ear canal. They are a common cause of disease and infection and are very contagious.