Does my cat have ear mites?
Ear mites are barely visible to the naked eye and usually require an otoscope or a microscope to fully detect. However, there are signs that might indicate your cat has an ear mite infection.
Symptoms to look for:
- Head shaking or carrying the head tilted to one side
- Dark brown to black crusty discharge in the ears
- Difficulty hearing – especially if combined with other signs
A veterinarian’s diagnosis of ear mites is usually made by directly spotting the mites with an otoscope or by microscopic examination of ear discharge.
How do I treat my cat for ear mites?
- Ear cleaning is your first step. An ear cleaner such as Hartz® Ear Cleaner™ for Dogs & Cats will help you remove debris.
- Next, use an over-the-counter solution for ear mites. Hartz® UltraGuard® Ear Mite Treatment for cats contains an insecticide that kills ear mites on contact. It can be applied daily for 7 to 10 days and repeated in two weeks if necessary. (Read entire label before use.)
- If your problem persists or is extreme, visit your veterinarian, who has many other options available. One is a topical antibiotic ear product that can kill developing mite eggs. There are also several single-use prescription products that eradicate ear mites with just one treatment (a heavy ear mite infestation may need two treatments).
Recurring pest problems
There are several reasons why a treatment for ear mites might not have been effective:
- Your cat doesn’t have ear mites – several other ear diseases can mimic the signs of ear mites, have your veterinarian examine your cat.
- The treatment period was not long enough.
- Your cat was re-infected – be sure to treat all the animals in your household and don’t allow close contact between your cat and other animals you don’t know.
- The ears were not properly cleaned out prior to ear mite treatment – consult your veterinarian for proper ear cleaning echniques.