For multiple pet homes the problem of one animal contracting an illness or parasite brings up the concern of whether the other pets are susceptible. If your cat's ear scratching turns out to be ear mites, you should be concerned that your dog might get them, too.
Vet Info confirms that ear mites are very contagious, and that they can be passed between pets of the same species as well as between dogs and cats. Although some ear mites like to venture outside their security zone, in general they rarely leave a host,so if caught and treated early enough, it is possible that your other pets won't be afflicted with them.
If you notice your cat or dog scratching or swiping at his ears, face or neck, check for other signs of ear mites. Dark specks that look like coffee grounds inside the ear, odor in or around the ear, red or brown discharge from the ear, and head shaking all are signs that your pet has ear mites.
Treating at Home
Left untreated, ear mites not only can spread from pet to pet, but also can cause harm along the way. Infection and hearing loss are just two of the serious conditions that can result from an ear mite infestation.There are effective treatments you can try at home, including over the counter medications and ear washes, that can be found at pet supply stores. Putting a few drops of mineral or baby oil in your pets' ears at least once a day will soothe your pet and smother the mites. Another oily solution is to crush four cloves of garlic and put them in one cup of olive oil to sit overnight. In the morning, remove the garlic and then put several drops of the garlic oil into your pets' ears. Slightly warming any ear wash or oil you put into your pet's ears will make the process a little more comfortable for your cat or dog.
When to See the Vet
If after a month of treating your pet at home the ear mites still remain, if your pet's symptoms have increased or if the mites have spread to more than one pet, it's time to let the doctor take over. At that point your vet can determine the severity of the condition and prescribe a medication that may contain ivermectin, which will kill the ear mites. An antibiotic also may be necessary if an infection has developed from scratching or from the mites themselves.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Vet Info: Ear Mites In Cats
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Magazine
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.