Ear Mites in Cats
Scratch scratch…shake shake…. If your cat is doing this constantly, or if you smell something less than pleasant coming from his or her ears, the culprit may be ear mites—the most common type of mites that cats get. Ear mites look like miniscule crabs. Their preferred environment is your cat’s ear canal, although once in a great while they venture out of the ear, moving to the head and body.
What’s particularly unpleasant about these little crab-like mites is what they eat: namely, your cat! They love to feed on the tissue debris and fluids inside the ear canal—ICK!
Ear mites are most commonly found in kittens and cats that have poor immune systems (and they can also be found in dogs). They have a three-week life cycle and reproduce rapidly.
So, what will you see if your feline friend is plagued with these nasty microscopic mites?
- Increased earwax
- Thick, black-colored ear discharge
- Head shaking
- Sores around or on the ears
- Itching of the head and neck
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical on your cat or kitten, paying close attention to the ears. The veterinarian will want to know if your spends time outdoors, with the possibility of being exposed to other animals, especially other cats. Additionally, it is important to relate if your cat has recently spent time in a boarding facility or other environment where there is regular contact with other animals.
Diagnostic tests that your veterinarian will likely suggest include:
- Ear swab and microscopic evaluation to identify the presence of the mites
- Visual inspection of the ear canal with an otoscope
- A feline leukemia virus (FeLV)test
- A feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) test
- Other routine laboratory tests such as blood work, a chemistry profile, and electrolytes to screen for organ function and infection, especially if your cat is in poor body condition or lethargic
- Fecal tests to rule out other parasites
Your veterinarian may clean your cat’s ears while he or she is there for her exam. Most likely, a prescription will be written for parasiticides that will kill the mites, as well as an ear cleaner to keep the ear canal clean of debris.
Keeping your pet’s ears clean is the best defense against ear mites. Check them often, and if you have any questions, contact your veterinarian, the best resource for information about the health and well-being of your best friend.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Improving the Air Quality in Your Home
Indoor Air and Your Health
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person's exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.
The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.
Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place the symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the home and return when the person returns, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air or from the heating, cooling, or humidity conditions prevalent in the home.
Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable. More information on potential health effects from particular indoor air pollutants is provided in the section, "A Look at Source-Specific Controls."
While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occur from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.
The health effects associated with some indoor air pollutants are summarized in the section "Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home."
Identifying Air Quality Problems
Some health effects can be useful indicators of an indoor air quality problem, especially if they appear after a person moves to a new residence, remodels or refurnishes a home, or treats a home with pesticides. If you think that you have symptoms that may be related to your home environment, discuss them with your doctor or your local health department to see if they could be caused by indoor air pollution. You may also want to consult a board-certified allergist or an occupational medicine specialist for answers to your questions.
Another way to judge whether your home has or could develop indoor air problems is to identify potential sources of indoor air pollution. Although the presence of such sources does not necessarily mean that you have an indoor air quality problem, being aware of the type and number of potential sources is an important step toward assessing the air quality in your home.
A third way to decide whether your home may have poor indoor air quality is to look at your lifestyle and activities. Human activities can be significant sources of indoor air pollution. Finally, look for signs of problems with the ventilation in your home. Signs that can indicate your home may not have enough ventilation include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air cooling equipment, and areas where books, shoes, or other items become moldy. To detect odors in your home, step outside for a few minutes, and then upon reentering your home, note whether odors are noticeable.
Measuring Pollutant Levels
The federal government recommends that you measure the level of radon in your home. Without measurements there is no way to tell whether radon is present because it is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Inexpensive devices are available for measuring radon. EPA provides guidance as to risks associated with different levels of exposure and when the public should consider corrective action. There are specific mitigation techniques that have proven effective in reducing levels of radon in the home. (See "Radon" for additional information about testing and controlling radon in homes.)
For pollutants other than radon, measurements are most appropriate when there are either health symptoms or signs of poor ventilation and specific sources or pollutants have been identified as possible causes of indoor air quality problems. Testing for many pollutants can be expensive. Before monitoring your home for pollutants besides radon, consult your state or local health department or professionals who have experience in solving indoor air quality problems in nonindustrial buildings.
Weatherizing Your Home
The federal government recommends that homes be weatherized in order to reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. While weatherization is underway, however, steps should also be taken to minimize pollution from sources inside the home. (See "Improving the Air Quality in Your Home" for recommended actions.) In addition, residents should be alert to the emergence of signs of inadequate ventilation, such as stuffy air, moisture condensation on cold surfaces, or mold and mildew growth. Additional weatherization measures should not be undertaken until these problems have been corrected.
Weatherization generally does not cause indoor air problems by adding new pollutants to the air. (There are a few exceptions, such as caulking, that can sometimes emit pollutants.) However, measures such as installing storm windows, weather stripping, caulking, and blown-in wall insulation can reduce the amount of outdoor air infiltrating into a home. Consequently, after weatherization, concentrations of indoor air pollutants from sources inside the home can increase.
Three Basic Strategies
Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs. Specific sources of indoor air pollution in your home are listed later in this section.
Another approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.
It is particularly important to take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants--for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking, or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding. You might also choose to do some of these activities outdoors, if you can and if weather permits.
Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers). For more information about air-to-air heat exchangers, contact the Conservation and Renewable Energy Inquiry and Referral Service (CAREIRS), PO Box 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116 (800) 523-2929.
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). A very efficient collector with a low air-circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer's directions.
Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Table-top air cleaners, in particular, may not remove satisfactory amounts of pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with a sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.
Over the past few years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of some chemicals in laboratory experiments. There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices. Indoor houseplants should not be over-watered because overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms which can affect allergic individuals.
At present, EPA does not recommend using air cleaners to reduce levels of radon and its decay products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially remove the radon decay products and do not diminish the amount of radon entering the home. EPA plans to do additional research on whether air cleaners are, or could become, a reliable means of reducing the health risk from radon. EPA's booklet, Residential Air-Cleaning Devices, provides further information on air-cleaning devices to reduce indoor air pollutants.
For most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution. This section takes a source-by-source look at the most common indoor air pollutants, their potential health effects, and ways to reduce levels in the home. (For a summary of the points made in this section, see the section entitled "Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home.") EPA has recently released, Ozone Generators That Are Sold As Air Cleaners. The purpose of this document (which is only available via this web site) is to provide accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available.
EPA has recently published, "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?" EPA-402-K-97-002, October 1997. This document is intended to help consumers answer this often confusing question. The document explains what air duct cleaning is, provides guidance to help consumers decide whether to have the service performed in their home, and provides helpful information for choosing a duct cleaner, determining if duct cleaning was done properly, and how to prevent contamination of air ducts.
How to Remove Ear Mites from a Dog
Last Updated: March 3, 2020
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.
This article has been viewed 28,363 times.
Otodectic mange, or an ear mite infection, is a common problem in dogs. Ear mites feed off wax in the ear canal, and most commonly infest the vertical and horizontal ear canals. However, they can survive on other parts of the canine body, too, such as the ear flaps, head, neck, paws, around the anus and the tail base.  X Research source Skin Diseases in the Dog and Cat. DI Grant. Blackwell Scientific Publications. 1st edition, p46 Ear mites are readily transferred between dogs, especially those living in the same household or who groom each other. There are 3 treatment methods to rid your dog of ear mites: topical treatments, spot-on products, and injectable agents.  X Research source Quick Reference to Veterinary Medicine. William R Fenner. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. 3rd Edition p508
Eartipping is the universal sign of an altered feral cat. One centimeter (1 cm) is removed from the tip of the left ear in a straight line cut. Eartips are readily visible from a distance, making it easy for caretakers, trappers and animal control personnel to immediately identify a cat as spayed or neutered. The procedure is performed under sterile conditions while the cat is anesthetized, is relatively painless, involves little to no bleeding and does not significantly alter the cat's appearance. No other means of identification has proven as safe or effective.
On this page, you'll find a veterinarian-reviewed eartipping protocol, demonstration video, sample photo to show your veterinarian and a discussion of why eartipping is superior to other methods. (Note: in some parts of the United States, like the West Coast, the normal practice is to tip the right ear. Most communities tip the left. Follow local practice. Some programs also prefer to remove 1/4 inch (7mm) off the tip of the ear.)
Protocol for Eartipping
This protocol has been reviewed and edited by Dr. Lisa M. Labrecque, DVM, Director of Community Spay Neuter Programs for Maui Humane Society.
1. First, prepare a hemostatic paste by mixing Kwik Stop with just enough lidocaine to make a thin paste. Have the mixture ready to apply as soon as the cat's ear has been tipped.
2. Before tipping the cat's left ear, examine both ears for ear mites, infection or debris. Treat as necessary.
3. Apply a sterile scrub to the left ear. Tipping will require removal of the top one centimeter (1 cm) of the ear so only the top portion should be prepped this will help ensure that none of the solution gets into the ear canal.
4. Position a straight hemostat across the top one centimeter (1 cm) of the left ear. Maintain gentle pressure by holding the hemostat in place or clamping it to the first notch. Excessive pressure may cause tissue damage so to minimize risk, never clamp the hemostat beyond the first notch. When eartipping kittens, adjust the positioning of the hemostat so that proportionately less than 1 cm is removed. For kittens three months old or younger (3 lbs. or less), one-quarter inch (1/4 inch 6.35 millimeters) of the ear is removed.
Remember, for all eartips, the goal is a clean, straight line that will instantly identify a cat as having been fixed. That's why the shape of the tipped ear, not the amount removed, is important - and why eartips are better than ear notches, which can be mistaken for bite wounds or other traumas to the ear.
5. Using a sharp scissors or a scalpel blade (scissors will cause less bleeding), cut straight across the top of the ear, removing one centimeter (1 cm) from the tip for adults, proportionately less for kittens.
6. Immediately apply the prepared hemostatic paste with a cotton swab across the cut surface. The combination of Kwik Stop and lidocaine will stop any bleeding and lessen pain. The lidocaine will also help to keep the cat more comfortable once she's awake, reducing head shaking.
7. If bleeding is observed after the hemostat is removed, apply more Kwik Stop. If needed, reapply pressure for a short time.
Sample eartip photo
Unless you have a fair amount of experience working with a particular veterinarian or clinic, it's a good idea to provide them with a sample photo of an eartip that was done correctly. This can prevent too much or too little from being removed. Avoid any unpleasant surprises by printing out our sample eartip photo and bringing it along to your spay/neuter appointment.
In order to effectively manage a feral cat colony or TNR program, it's important to be able to quickly and easily identify cats who are already fixed. Clear identification avoids needless trapping and surgical procedures, and can alert shelter staff that they have a colony cat whose caretaker may be missing him. Eartipping has become standard practice to mark a neutered feral because it works much better than any other method currently known.
Other methods attempted include tattooing the inner ear, a metal clip on the side of the ear and keeping photo records of the cats. The problem with tattooing is the cat must first be captured and, if feral, sedated before the ear can be examined. In contrast, an eartip can be seen at a distance and no additional intervention is required. "Ear tags," as the metal clips are known, can get caught in twigs, branches or other objects, causing the ear to tear and sometimes the tag to fall off. Tags can also be difficult to see at a distance. Photos are useless if someone interested in whether the cats are fixed, like an animal control officer or another TNR trapper, doesn't have copies. Also, in many colonies, some cats look very similar and photos might be little help in identifying spay/neuter status.
At Neighborhood Cats, we were won over when we trapped a cat who was not eartipped and brought her to our clinic for altering. It was only after she was sedated and her stomach shaved that the veterinarian fortunately observed a spay scar, sparing her a needless incision. All that would have been avoided if her left ear had been tipped.
Won't you help a fella out?
Poor Flynn, the big tabby tomcat, was found in a backyard garden off a Greenwich Village street. His paw was injured, his mouth full of decayed and broken teeth, plus he was sick. But now he's received the care he needs, thanks to Neighborhood Cats and supporters like you. Won't you help us help another cat in need? Please donate today!
The Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook - download now
The Humane Society of the United States called our handbook, "the most comprehensive and up-to-the-minute resource for educating caretakers on all aspects of colony management." (Animal Sheltering magazine, Sept/Oct 2013). Download your free copy.
Garlic and mullein flowers infused in olive oil is a classic remedy for ear aches and ear infections. Just drop 3-4 drops into ear, massage around ear, and repeat every 30 minutes up to a few times a day.
USES for Garlic Oil: EAR INFECTION:Warm some oil to a comfortable temperature (at least room temperature) and put a couple of drops into an infected ear. Also massage some oil into the skin around the ear and on the neck. This allows the oil to absorb into the lymph nodes. If you use cold oil it will cause more pain. Do this as often as desired.