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Does your cat have itchy ears? The Number One cause of itchy ears in cats is ear mites, according to Dr. Lynette Cole of Ohio State University.

At a recent lecture attended by Norfolk veterinarians and their staff, Dr. Cole listed the top three most common causes of itchy, inflamed ears in cats: parasites, polyps, and allergies.

Ear mites, which are a type of parasite, appear to be tiny white specks that move around, when seen through a magnifier such as an otoscope

Veterinary otoscope, used to examine ears.

 

Looking through an otoscope at a model cat ear.

Seen under a microscope, however, the situation becomes much more clear. Ear mites, known also as Otodectes cynotis, have eight legs and are very active crawlers. And if that weren’t enough Ick Factor — ear mites are arachnids, putting them in the same class as spiders and ticks.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. (2) Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

What’s the first sign of ear mites? Since you can’t see the mites with your naked eye, the first visible sign of a problem may be a layer of crusty, black debris in your pet’s ear. Sometimes it looks like coffee grounds. By the time this debris appears, your cat is probably scratching her ears, which may be what prompts you to look inside the ears.

Since there may be other causes of “crud” in the ears, you’ll want your cat’s veterinarian to examine the ears to find out if ear mites are present. Then, the veterinarian will devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Ear mites can be transmitted from one pet to another, so the veterinarian may advise treating all pets in the household at the same time.

Check out these videos we’ve uploaded to our You Tube channel, featuring the ear mites shown in the photos above. One mite is mired in mineral oil, while the other mite speeds out of view!

Does your cat have itchy ears or suspicious-looking debris inside? Contact Us to schedule an appointment today!

[Our doctor cannot diagnose your pet over the phone or the Internet, so please schedule an appointment today.]

Bonus: Our cat patients that are treated with Revolution to protect against fleas, heartworms, and intestinal worms are also receiving protection from ear mites!

Revolution Rewards details here.

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