Recognizing mites and knowing how to treat them is important
to the well being of your pet cat.
The mites themselves are a big problem; however, the
real danger is your cat scratching itself in an attempt to relieve the
itching. This repeated scratching can result in a number of deep wounds,
as the itching becomes much more relentless.
Along with the worry for your pet's health, there are also the
serious health ramifications for individuals living alongside suffering
animals. Mites can only thrive when given a host to feed off, but this
also means that they can travel from one host to another. This means that
you and other people or animals in your household are prone to catching
the mites and suffering from the same problems as your cat.
The most common mites that can trigger problems to both cats
and humans tend to be ear mites; tiny parasites that live inside
the ear canal of an infected animal. In the case of cats, the most likely
organism is otodectes cynotis. The mites feed on the ear wax and other
dirt inside a cat's ear. They are normally found in the ear canal
and can bring about bleeding in your cat from their bites, and also due
to the itching. Whenever your cat suffers from these kinds of mites, the
ideal solution is to visit your local pet store for wax removal
eardrops. This simple solution works because the mites thrive off the
ear wax, so by purging out the wax, you can also remove the problem of
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
So, how do you know if your cat's irritated ears are infested
with ear mites?
- Your cat may scratch at his itchy ears
or start shaking his head a lot. While the mites are microscopic, they
can be quite pesky. Just imagine feeling hundreds of little crawly things
in your ears!
- Feline ear mites on the insides of the ears
will look dirty, usually with a dark brown or reddish-brown debris. Sometimes
a black crust forms, as well. This crust can clog the ear canal over time.
Your veterinarian can easily diagnose feline
ear mites. The ear mites can be seen in the ear with an otoscope. Sometimes
your veterinarian will swab the ear and examine the debris under a microscope.
- Feline ear mites are highly contagious. In fact,
cats can get them or share them with other animals as well. So, if any
of your pets (including dogs, cats, or rabbits) have ear mites, you may
want to treat all of them.
To treat feline ear mites, the first step is to clean
out the ear. You need to remove the buildup that has accumulated. The
best way to do this is by very gently flushing the ear with a solution
of tepid water and mild dish soap, then rinsing. Since there is a risk
of damaging your cat's ear drum or pushing mites further into the ear canal,
you may want to have your veterinarian do this.
Once the ears have been cleansed of residue from the mites,
you can apply medication. Most of the effective ear mite treatments contain
insecticide that contains pyrethrins. The medication will usually be in
the form of drops which you will put in the cat's ears, then massage so
it gets good coverage. While you can buy over the counter treatments for
mites, the medication provided by your veterinarian is generally stronger
and may be more effective.
Medication is generally applied daily, for several days in
a row. Then, you usually wait a week after which the cleansing and medication
process is repeated. You may need to do this whole procedure for three
or four cycles before ridding the ears completely of mites. Ear mites can
actually live outside the ears. While they usually live in the ears, they
can also survive in the surrounding fur. An ear mite will spend his whole
life in a cat's ear, from hatching, starting its own family, and finally
through to its death. You may need to use medication outside of the ear
area for this reason.
Another parasite that has a much more visible
impact on your cat is the burrowing mite, which eats away at the surface
of the skin. This can lead to severe hair loss in your cat and requires
treatment immediately. The best thing to do if you see signs of skin irritation
on your pet cat is to call a vet. They can recommend an over-the-counter
pet care product such as a shampoo or anti-parasitic cream to help eliminate
the mites. Treating cat mites as soon as they become apparent is the best
way to get them before the problem become more serious. The best way to
treat cat mites that cause hair loss is to bathe your cat in a homeopathic
In more severe cases, you'll need to visit your veterinarian
to get the best possible prescription rather than choosing a milder over-the-counter
product. If the mite problem has gotten to the stage where it has spread
to other household animals or family members, then it's time to make an appointment
with the vet. The consequences of a mite colony flourishing on your cat could
be lethal in the long run, so keep an eye out and monitor your cat's progress.
The sooner you catch those nasty mites, the sooner you can begin treating them
and curing your cat.