Otodectosis is a common skin disease among street and domestic animals that affects the auricles. I am glad that the ear tick in cats is almost always easy to detect and cure. If your pet comes in contact with other animals or walks outside, there is a risk of infection.
Ignoring the disease leads to a deterioration in the general condition, which can have complications unpleasant for the animal. In addition, many owners are concerned about whether the ear tick in cats is dangerous for humans and other animals, what is the likelihood of infection and how to protect the family from a possible ailment.
Ear mite, especially parasitization
Otodectes cynotis - the name of a cunning parasite, which, unlike close relatives, lives only in the warm and protected from external influences - the ear folds and causes otodectosis. The size of an adult female reaches 500 micrometers (10 mm in minus the third degree), so if you care about what the ear tick looks like in cats, all you need to know is it is white, just do not consider the rest. The parasite will "give out" itself by the symptoms and consequences of life. Without breaking away from the skin, an adult female lays five eggs a day, which, when hatched, turn into young individuals, nymphs, and after molting become sexually mature. The growth process takes 3 weeks.
It is important to know! Ear mites are not easy to bite, they are embedded in the skin of the wearer with paws and proboscis. They feed on lymph, skin and intercellular tissue, excrete metabolic products, which are toxic in a large amount.
Notoedres - not an ear mite, which can affect the ears from the outside and cause knothedrosis. Parasites are larger, but also almost indistinguishable and "hide" under the skin. Not adapted to life without a "master". On the ground or furniture, they die on 10-12 days, provided that the ambient temperature ranges from 12-20 ° C. It is transmitted to humans and causes local irritation, but cannot multiply and dies after 25-30 days.
Note! More than 850 species of ticks affecting pets live on the planet, but Otodectes cynotis and Notoedres, as the most frequent "guests" of the ears of pets, will be discussed in this topic.
Both diseases have similar symptoms - itching and anxiety, affects both ears, is transmitted by contact to other cats, dogs and other animals. However, there are a number of important differences that are extremely important for diagnosis and subsequent treatment:
- With notedrosis, the animal quickly combs its ears into the blood, with otodectosis, it tries to shove its hind paw into the ear canal and scratch it inside.
- Internal damage is accompanied by the appearance of brown plaque or wet "gruel" in the folds of the ear - see photo, external - loss of hair.
- With otodectosis, the cat shakes its head, the parasite infects the ear canal and the animal is physically unable to scratch.
- With nothedrosis, over time, the lesion area increases.
- Otodectosis is not contagious to humans and, unlike most skin diseases, is not accompanied by spontaneous hair loss.
Why do cats get infected with an ear tick?
In nature, cats live in groups (prides) and are constantly in contact, as they still have not died out from ticks - a mystery. However, if you "dig" deeper, there is nothing surprising in this. Cruel natural selection allows mammals to live while they are young and strong. All young animals have a set of “antidotes” in their blood that protect them from fleas, ticks, and other parasitic insects. Weak young animals and elderly animals die quickly, not from infection, but from competitors' teeth.
Domestic cats partially lost their “invulnerability” given to them by nature, the situation was aggravated when breeders breeding new breeds took up work due to gene mutations. Unnatural nutrition and progressive veterinary medicine were added to the constant "reconnaissance" work, allowing individuals to survive "hopeless for nature". No matter how cruel it may sound, the causes of almost all diseases atypical for animals lie in human intervention in natural selection.
So where does the ear tick come from? Risk factors:
- The main carriers - 80% of stray animals are carriers of skin parasites, even if they themselves do not get sick. If you stroked a cat in the yard - wash your hands, eggs and adult ear mites can be on the animal’s hair. Farm animals, rodents, birds, especially insectivores can be carriers of parasites.
- Sick - young individuals, street kittens the disease is transmitted from the mother, even if she does not show signs of the disease. Elderly animals who have suffered illness or stress.
Important! The disease is exacerbated by a lack of prevention. Even if your pet never goes outside, regularly inspect the ear canals and take preventative measures. In favorable temperature conditions, the parasite can live on clothes, shoes, floors or furniture from 4 to 12 hours.
Diagnosis of an ear tick in cats
In a typical form of otodectosis, confirmation of the diagnosis is allowed on its own. The disease proceeds in several stages:
- Primary infection - grains or stains of dirty brown color are observed in the ear folds.
- Acute form - the auricle is abundantly coated with brown “gruel”, the consistency is most often moist with fragments of earwax. When the animal scratches the ear, a characteristic “champing” sound is heard. If you hold a finger or a cotton swab on the inner surface of the ear, the reaction of the hind legs is observed - tremor, imitation of scratching. A similar reaction to stroking from the outside indicates sarcoptosis (subcutaneous tick) or notoedrosis.
- Complicated form - pus, blood or blotches of black-green color are present in the ear. Touching causes pain, the animal shakes its head. This degree of damage is most often accompanied by secondary symptoms - nosebleeds, lacrimation, severe scratching of the head.
In terms of general information, it is worth knowing what the ear tick is dangerous in cats:
- Epidemiological distribution - the carrier infects all animals with which it is in contact.
- Combing, self-injury, up to hematomas and traumatic brain injuries.
- The spread of the lesion to other parts of the body (tail, croup, neck), if the cat likes to sleep "in a ball."
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes, as a result of a decrease in the level of immune defense of the body.
- In complicated forms - deafness, central nervous system disorder, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose, spilling of pus in the soft tissues of the head.
We will figure out how to determine the presence of an ear tick in a pet. You will need: a cotton swab, a sheet of black paper, a bright light, if vision problems - a magnifying glass. Algorithm:
- We open the animal’s ear, take a cotton swab and in one movement capture the maximum possible amount of plaque (gruel).
- Hold a cotton swab over a sheet of paper and gently tap on the plastic base with your finger.
- We put the wand next to it, and carefully look at the sheet. You are interested in a white dot, 2-3 times less than a grain of semolina. The point was found, lay still, and then began to move - bingo! This is an ear tick!
- The sheet is folded and thrown away, and we ourselves go to the pet store or to the veterinarian for a consultation.
If a tick is not found, but symptoms indicate a disease, skin scraping will be needed. A simple procedure that any veterinarian can do. Do not forget that not all ear problems are associated with ticks, it is possible that the pet has a bacterial mucous membrane lesion or an allergy.
How and how to treat an ear tick in cats
Self-treatment is quite acceptable, provided that the animal does not experience pain and no foci of inflammation are observed in the ear canals. Most ear drops for cats have a wide range of effects and are aimed at all popular types of parasites and bacteria. During treatment, daily clean your pet’s ears with cotton buds dipped in hydrogen peroxide or a special lotion.
Important! When cleaning your ears, your main task is to eliminate the parasite and its eggs as much as possible. Do not spare cotton swabs, moistened, passed on the skin, turned upside down - 1 stick for 2 strokes!
Ignoring the treatment will certainly make itself felt. Can a cat die from an ear tick? - No, but from secondary inflammation - easily! Progressive inflammation, sooner or later, affects the middle ear. At this stage, drops and cotton buds are powerless, you will need qualified help and "aggressive" therapy. Nervous disorder and an acute reaction to touching the ear are minimal consequences of complicated inflammation.