How to Eliminate Ear Mites in Pets

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Ear mites are a species of mites that in live pet ears. These spider-like microscopic critters live in both dog and cat ears, causing discomfort, itchiness, and inflammation to an animal’s ears. Ear mite infestation can affect a single or both ears of an animal. If left untreated, ear mite infection can cause hair loss and skin infection in pets.

Signs of an Ear Mite Infection

The telltale signs of an ear mite infection include black, waxy discharge on the outer ear canal, light bleeding, excessive ear scratching, and frequent head shaking. Other symptoms include sensitive ears, head tilted to just one side. If you suspect that your dog or cat has ear mite infection, we recommend a checkup by a vet. A vet can identify the mites and recommend the best treatment for your pet.

How to Treat Ear Mites

Step 1: Clean the Ears

If say, your pet does have an ear mite infection, you have to treat the infection immediately so it does not spread or cause even more discomfort to the animal. Start by cleaning your cat or dog’s ears using olive oil or a commercial ear cleaner for pets. The ear cleaner or oil will lubricate the ears, preventing tearing or skin irritation as you clean. Do not use water because the extra moisture could lead to an ear infection!

Step 2: Apply the Medication

Although there are several herbs you can use to remove ear mites, we do not recommend it. Some types of herbs may worsen the symptoms of the infection. Others may cause ear damage because a pet’s inner ear is very delicate. Use only the recommended treatment by your veterinarian.

Most ear mite products are formulation with pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are natural insecticide that kills a wide range of microscopic pests, including ear mites. Before going ahead with the application of the medication, read the instructions and follow them exactly. Apply a few drops of pyrethrins into your pet’s ears. Massage the sides of the ears so the drug penetrates deeper within the ear canal, reaching the female mites with eggs.

Step 3: Cleaning the Ears Again

After applying the medication, wipe off the excess fluid that leaks from the ears. You will have to medicate your cat’s ears every day for at least a week to eliminate ear mites. Ear mites are extremely resilient so they are notoriously hard to remove. And it only takes a single egg to trigger a re-infestation. By cleaning your pet’s ears daily and applying medication, the ear mites won’t have any chance of causing another infection!

Preventing Future Infections

Ear mites are extremely contagious so if you have several pets and only one is infected, you will need to treat all of them immediately. Again, just a few leftover eggs are enough to trigger a re-infection. Ear mites are especially common in cats. Older cats of great health usually build a resistance to ear mite infections. But younger cats and outdoor cats are vulnerable to infections so have them checked for ear mites during your vet visit.