Dog and puppy health care questions and answers, articles, videos and images

What Are Ear Mites In Cats And Dogs?  
Questions and answers about ear mites in cats and dogs. 

In normal and healthy dogs and cats there are seldom any signs of ear problems.  When problems do arise, such as from ear mites, yeast, allergic otitis or bacterial infection the pet will dig and scratch at the affected ear.  Sometimes the intensity of discomfort is great enough to stimulate secondary skin trauma from all the scratching. 

Head shaking and holding the ears (pinnas)  in an odd position are common findings, too.  Any signs of discomfort or a buildup of dark debris in the ear folds or canals warrant a visit to your veterinarian.

Kitten and cat health care questions and answers, articles, videos and images

View all topics                          Call your  veterinarian if your pet is sick or if you need advice about a specific pet.                           View all topics


  I have six cats and two dogs and have been treating for ear mites forever!  No matter what I do one of the cats always has itchy ears and it looks like coffee grounds down in the ear canals.
     Only one of the cats ever goes outside, too, and he never seems to have any trouble with his ears.
     What are ear mites and why can't I get rid of them?

Answer ear mites... cats... what are
mites      First, you need to stay in close contact with your veterinarian because you may not be using appropriate products or not using good products properly.  There are many non prescription ear mite "remedies" that simply do not kill the mites or their eggs.  Meds from your veterinarian usually are available only by prescription and are worth the extra cost because they work!
mites     You must treat all eight pets at the same time, even those that don't seem to have ear mites and including the dogs even if you "think" they are ear mite free.
mites   Give the one outdoor cat periodic applications of ear mite medication because he could be picking up ear mites from his neighborhood pals and bringing them back home.
mites    Consider asking your veterinarian about using Acarexx.  It only needs to be applied once or twice to eliminate ear mites.  Don't use the "over the counter" meds.    

Doctor's Notes:
Ear mites of dogs and cats very rarely will inhabit the human ear canal.  Routine bathing and hygiene usually prevents the mites from establishing a base of operations in a human.
Do not...
     buy cheap remedies.  These generally will not eliminate an ear mite problem but simply decrease the numbers of live mites for a short time.  The ear mite eggs are unaffected.


Click on an image to view a larger version in a new window
cat ear mites cat ear mites on an otoscope speculum ear mite eggs in a cat's ear canal cat ear mites under the microscope
A cat's external ear tissues with 
dark debris from ear mite infestation
Tiny white specks that move are ear mites
 on an otoscope speculum
Rarely seen ear mite eggs within 
debris in a cat's ear canal
AMicroscopic view under medium
 power of the microscope

To learn how to clean a dog's ears, go here

Someone told me all kittens are born with ear mites.  Is this true?

Not true.  What often happens, though, is the kittens will develop ear mites within weeks of their birth if the mother cat (queen) has ear mites.  Unless specific ear mite medication is applied these kittens may have ear mites their entire lives... just like their mother!

cat ear mite as seen through the microscope
Click on the image to
see a close-up view

View a video of ear mites as seen through the doctor's microscope


Doctor's Notes:

Just one pet in the household or kennel can spread ear mites to all the other pets, including rabbits.

Ay unusual itchiness or nasty odor or discomfort in your pet's ears should be investigated!


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