There is a type of mite that affects the ears of mammalian animals such as dogs, rabbits, and ferrets, but especially the cat. It is the Otodectes cynotis, barely perceptible to the naked eye but harmful to the health of our pets. Read on to know everything about its effects.

What is the otodectes cynotis?

The famous ear mite called Otodectes cynotis is a surface mite capable of living in cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal, but can also live on the surface of the skin. These mites are highly contagious, and animals become infected by direct contact with another animal that suffers from it. The mite is barely visible to the naked eye and can be seen as a white speck moving over the animal’s skin.
About the mite otodectes cynotis
It takes about 3 weeks for a mite to develop from egg to adult, going through a total of 5 stages. Adult otodectes cynotis mites live for approximately 2 months, during which time they reproduce continuously. The full life cycle of ear mites takes place in the host animal, although mites can also survive for a limited time in the environment.

What are the clinical signs of cat ear mites?

Ear mites or otodectes cynotis are a common cause of ear disease and infection in cats, although it is true that other conditions, also in the ear, can cause similar clinical signs. They are the second most common ectoparasite (external parasite) found in pets, as the first has always been the flea.

Infections are a very common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected. The clinical signs of infection vary in severity from one pet to another and include combinations of:

1. Irritation of the ears causing scratching of the ears or shaking of the head.
2. A dark, waxy, or crusty discharge from the ear.
3. Areas of hair loss as a result of self-trauma caused by excessive scratching.
4. A crusted rash around or inside the ear.
5. An auditory hematoma. It is a large blister of blood in the ear, caused by the breakage of small blood vessels between the skin and the cartilage, as a result of scratching the ears.

Skin lesions most often affect the ear and surrounding skin, but occasionally other areas of the body may also be affected.

How are mite infections diagnosed?

Typical clinical signs with a history of contact with other cats or dogs would suggest the appearance of otodectes cynotis. Although these mites cause ear disease, other causes can give rise to very similar clinical signs and should be ruled out before starting treatment.

The exact diagnosis is made by looking at the mite. This is usually straightforward and can be done by examining the pet’s ears with an otoscope or through a microscopic examination of ear discharge. If the ears are very sore, the pet may need to be sedated to allow the ears to be properly examined and treated.

What is the treatment of otodectes cynotis in cats?

Your cat’s vet will advise you on which insecticide products are best suited. No medicine can penetrate the eggs, so the chosen one will target to kill only the adult mite forms.

The veterinarian will always be the one to decide what may be the most appropriate treatment according to the client’s situation and preferences. If you think that your cat may be suffering from this ear infection due to otodectes cynotis, do not hesitate to make an appointment and bring it to our clinic so that our professionals can examine it and provide the best solution.