ear mite question in cats

fairy_toadmotherFebruary 7, 2007

a friend of mine volunteers at the local no kill shelter. tonight, i went to help her for the first time. i saw something i had never seen before. a good few of the cats had a malformation of the outer ear, crinkly, sort of shrunken, etc. hard to explain. usually just one ear, not both. i thought that perhaps they were related and it was a recessive gene much like the scottish fold.

the weird part is she was told it was from ear mites. i had never heard of this, let alone seen it. can anyone explain this? chicka? sarah? anyone else i can't think of that has seen it? very odd.

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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Crinkly and shrunken ear? It could have been from ear mites but... it sounds like it was because the kitty was scratching the ear and got a hematoma, or a blood blister as a result from scratching.

Scratching the ear because of infection or irritation could cause a rupture of a blood vessel in the ear flap. This will result in a pool of blood forming and separating the skin from the cartilage of the ear as a big blister. If allowed to heal without surgical intervention, there will be massive scar tissue formation and distortion of the ear itself.

Dunno about the recessive gene thing.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 3:34PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Ditto what CD3 says!

Aural hematomas (ear-blood-growth/swelling) are most often caused by trauma. We see it in dogs, cats (and even pigs and sheep), when they have an ear infection - bacterial, yeast, or parasites like ear mites or flies, and they vigorously shake or scratch their ears. Or physical trauma, bites to the ear during fights for example, or if the wind whips the ear pinna (the long flap part) around when a dog has it's head stuck out the window or is in the back of a moving vehicle.

As CD3 said, I believe they may heal without surgical intervention, but this may cause scar tissue leaving the 'crinkled ear', which feels very firm to the touch, and is no doubt uncomfortable for the pet (during healing, I don't believe its painful once over with). Treatment usually requires sedation, draining of the 'blood blister' and then either placing a temporary drain (less common and not as effective), or placing repeated stitches through the ear flap from one side to the other to prevent it from filling with blood again. And then treating the source of the problem. There have been reports of using surgical glue instead of sutures, but we have not found this to be as successful. There may still be a bit of scar tissue, but the ear usually doesn't get all 'crinkled' up and the animal gets almost immediate relief from the discomfort.

Unfortunatley animals in the wild (or on the loose) don't get veterinary care. As I said, I don't believe that once the hematoma has resolved and the source of the problem is treated the cat has any discomfort, though I wonder if the tips of the ears may not be more prone to frost bite due to lack of circulation. Cats have an AMAZING ability to heal themselves, but scars will remain.

Sorry, got wordy again! (And REALLY sorry if I seemed to put words in CD3's mouth, didn't mean to, I'm used to filling in the blanks for our clients when they have more questions after they leave the doctor! :)

Have not heard of any genetic quirk either.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 9:51PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hey S.

You did a great job explaining everything! :-)

Hmmmm. Never heard of using the surgical glue. I'd think that would cause more irritation. I use the repeated suture pattern. That seems to work best for me / my patients.

I don't care for the drain method. I know some use a teat canula but those seem to get clogged up and it a bugger to try to unclog again.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 10:30PM
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hello ladies. thanks for the education! my search came up with something like that but i wasn't sure if it caused the, oh there's the word i was looking for- disfigurement. hard and thick to the touch in places also...all i could think of was crinkly :)

90% if the cats at this shelter have ear mites. they can't get rid of them though i don't know the full story.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 3:25AM
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Interesting info! Thanks, ladies! I love this forum.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 8:58AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

odd that they can't get rid of them! how contagious are they?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 11:28AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

The ear mites don't need to live in the ears all the time. They can be crawling on the fur, the tail, inside the cage...or outside. They can get on the people who care for the dogs and cats and easily transferred to other animals.

The one good thing about an ear mite is they don't like people.

Maybe contact the Pfizer company and ask them if they would be so kind as to donate some Revolution drops. It is the topical for control of fleas, ear mites, intestinal worms and other nasties. One application will last for a month.

Treat everyone in the shelter and anyone who becomes a new addition. You'll break the cycle fast that way.

Many pharmaceutical companies as well as food companies like Purina and Waltham will donate to real shelters as a good will gesture enormous amounts of product like ear mite control and food!

Try it. There's nothing to lose. :-)

C3D ... No mites

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 3:18PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

And earmites are microscopic.

Yeah for Revolution, I think almost any new kitty comin' in the door could use a dose! (And I'm NOT that big a fan of unnecessary chemicals.)

CD3 - GOOD THOUGHT!! Do get your shelter to contact Pfizer, Merial, Purina, Hills, Waltham etc. for donations, it's great PR for them and they have $$. You can get the #'s on line, but if you can't find them e-mail me.

BTW, Waltham has an excellent Pet First Aid brochure that they give away. I've called and requested 300 at a time for our local Safety First seminars for 3rd and 4th graders.

CD3 - the teat cannula IS old school, but when I came to this rural clinic (years ago!) they used it on most smaller AH's, as you say, it's a mess and doesn't work very well. We don't do it anymore. Nexaband didn't work for us. We've recently started infusing a little Collasate into the ear before suturing and that seems to help. Less scar tissue. (I love working with vets that have been around 30 years, 10 years, and 2 years, the exchange of old and new ideas and techniques - priceless!)

FTM - keep up the good work!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:51PM
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thanks again, ladies! what a great idea chicka. i will have to try it on their behalf.

i really don't volunteer there, usually, so don't be too quick with the compliments :)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:32AM
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