Ear mites are a common problem with cats, but it's also a treatable problem. Here's what you should know about treating your feline friend for this condition.
Ear mites are especially common in kittens, as well as any cat that is kept outdoors. In fact, a cat can pick up all kinds of pests from living outdoors (ticks, fleas, etc.), but ear mites are particularly common.
But what exactly are they, and how do you get rid of them? Let's start with a definition of the pest and the problems they create, and then move on to treatment...
What Are Ear Mites?
They are little parasites that live in the ear canal of certain animals. The parasites are like little crabs, and if you do not treat them they can cause many more serious problems in your cat's ears. For instance, the cat may become more likely to develop bacteria and yeast infections in the ears. In more serious cases, it's even possible for the eardrum to rupture.
One of the most important things to understand about ear mites is that they are highly contagious. They can pass from cats to dogs with ease (and vice versa), and even to humans. They live on the skin inside the ear canal and feed on the tissue and fluids found there.
Cats with ear mites will react to the condition in different ways. Some can tolerate a large population of the parasites, while others will experience severe itching with only a small population in the ears. Another area of concern is the saliva produced by the mites, to which many cats are hypersensitive. In such cases, the cat will feel the urge to scratch frequently.
How to Detect Them
One way to detect the presence of mites is to inspect your cat's ears for any dark-brown debris around the ear canal. If your pet appears to have dark-brown crud around the shell of the ear, it could be a sign of mites. This is often combined with other symptoms, such as the cat scratching its ears and shaking its head persistently.
How to Treat Them
Depending on how severe an infestation is, the cat may need one of several different types of treatment. The most common treatment is the use of eardrops, which are typically administered twice a day until the problem is resolved.
Most cats dislike this treatment quite a bit, so they must be restrained during the process. One technique is to wrap a towel around the cat when restraining it, with only the head sticking out from the towel. This helps you avoid being scratched or bitten during the process. Yes, it can be a somewhat traumatic experience for both parties, but it is still necessary to treat the problem at hand.
Brandon Cornett is the publisher of Kitty Spotlight, a website full of cat health articles [http://www.kittyspotlight.com/library/cat-health-1.php] and also where you can post a picture [http://www.kittyspotlight.com/participate/] of your cat. Learn more by visiting [http://www.kittyspotlight.com]