Treating Ear Mites in Cats with Ivermectin

Ear mites in cats are very contagious and can be found anywhere on the body of both cats and dogs. In cats, treatments containing ivermectin, such as Acarexx, may be used to kill the mites in the ear canal. Cat flea medicine containing fipronil and selamectin may also be used to prevent and treat mites living on other parts of the body such as the legs, tail or feet by paralyzing and killing the mites.

Cat Ear Mite Symptoms

Ear mites are a common problem for cats and can cause serious health issues, including deafness if left untreated. Ear mite symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the infestation, and signs that your cat may be infested with ear mites include:

  • Excessive scratching or pawing, especially at the head, neck and face
  • Shaking of the head
  • Blood in the ear canal, which can look like coffee grounds
  • Odor in the ear
  • Secretions, often caused by an infection that frequently occurs with ear mites

Examining Cat Ears

  • To examine your cat's ears for symptoms of mites, such as dried blood or blockages, be assertive but calm when handling your cat. Hold her in your lap or on a flat surface while placing one arm against her body, using this hand to hold her head still. It may help to have another person assist you in holding the cat while you examine the ears.
  • Roll back the cat's ear with your thumb and look into the ear canal for blockage and signs of infestation. Do not stick a Q-tip or cotton ball into the canal to clean out any blockages as this can push debris further into the ear and cause pain and damage to the ear drum.
  • Your cat may be in pain and very sensitive around her ears, so be gentle when handling the ears. Offer her a treat after the examination.
  • This method may also be used to administer any medication your vet prescribes for cat ear mite treatment, such as ear drops or a wash.
  • While this method can help owners examine their own cat's ears, a veterinarian must also look at the symptoms to make a diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment.

Cat Ear Mite Treatment

Flea medicine and treatments with ivermectin kill parasites like ear mites by paralyzing the mites and causing death. Cat ear mite treatment such as Acarexx is applied directly in the ear canal. Do not stick the ear dropper or medicine applicator more than few millimeters into the ear canal to prevent damage to the ear drum. Massage the base of the ear after application. Your cat may shake her head after treatment but this isn't a problem; wipe up any excess medicine or debris that comes out of the ear, again making sure not to poke into the ear canal.

Cat flea medicine can help prevent and treat parasites on the body, not only around the head. If you cat has a yeast or bacterial infection in the ear your vet may also prescribe an antibiotic in addition to other treatments.

Cat Ear Mite Prevention

Always continue cat ear mite treatment according to your veterinarian's instructions, even if the symptoms disappear before treatment is meant to be finished; this will prevent the infestation from returning. Households with multiple cats should keep an infected cat isolated and wash any bedding to prevent this contagious parasite from spreading. All cats may need treatment, even if they do not show symptoms of an infestation, and your veterinarian will be able to diagnose a proper course of medication.