It will take three weeks to one month for ear mites to go away after treatment. Their egg-to-egg cycle is roughly 21 days, so treatment should continue for a minimum of three weeks to make sure all the mite eggs have been eradicated. Single-use products like Revolution may not be sufficient to get rid of an ear mite infection.
What are ear mites?
Ear mites, or Otodectes cynotis, are microscopic parasites that live on cats, rabbits, dogs and ferrets. They usually live in a cat’s ear canal, as well as on the surface of their skin. They are highly contagious and a cat can become infected through direct contact with infected animals. These parasites are barely seen by the naked eye; they can just be seen as moving white specks if placed on a dark background.
It takes around three weeks and five stages for ear mites to develop from an egg to an adult. Adult ear mites survive for two months and during such time they reproduce continuously. The ear mite’s entire life cycle takes place on the host animal, but they can survive for a certain time in the environment.
Clinical signs of ear mites
- Ear irritation that leads to ear scratching and head shaking
- Dark, crusty or waxy discharge from the ears
- Hair loss due to self-trauma and constant scratching
- A crusted rash and blood blisters and/or skin lesions near the ears
Ear mites cause ear disease and infection and are the second most common ectoparasites, or external parasites, found in pets, with fleas considered the most common. Ear mite infestation is also a common problem among puppies and kittens, although cats and dogs can be affected regardless of their age.
How are ear mite infestations diagnosed?
Ear mite infestations are diagnosed based on typical clinical signs, along with contact tracing of other cats and dogs. Other conditions may produce similar clinical signs and need to be ruled out before actual treatment is started. The diagnosis is made by observing the mites, which can be done by examining your cat’s ears with an otoscope or examining their ear discharge. If your cat’s ears are severely sore, she may need to be sedated so that her ears can be properly examined and treated.
How are ear mites treated?
Several ear medications are licensed to treat ear mites in cats, and target both adult and larvae ear mites. Daily topical medications are commonly prescribed by vets, as are injections and single-use products like Revolution, Advantage or Bravecto. Your vet will prescribe the appropriate medication depending on the severity of the infestation.
After the period of treatment, your vet will re-examine your cat to make sure that the ear mites have been properly eliminated.
What to do if your cat has recurring ear mite issues?
If you already treated your cat with medication for ear mites but she still has inflamed ears and scratches constantly, something could be wrong. You should ascertain whether the culprit was definitely ear mites, and not a fungal or bacterial infection. Consult your vet so he can come up with the proper diagnosis. Fungal and bacterial infections could also develop secondary to ear mites.
Also make sure that all of your household pets are treated at the same time so they do not reinfect one another. If you previously used a daily-application topical medication, you should probably switch to a single-dose medication for your cat.
Cats are considered very clean animals, and they spend at least half their waking hours grooming and licking themselves. However, they are still prone to parasites like fleas and ear mites. The latter inhabit the ear canal and feed on ear wax and skin oils. Common treatment options include daily topical and single-dose medications. It takes about three weeks to one month for ear mites to be completely eradicated after treatment.
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