Ear Mites: Kittens and Bunnies
It's interesting that the two most popular posts on my Instagram feed are videos of ear mites. Too funny! Kitten Ear Mites Ear mites in kittens are not uncommon. You can diagnose by swabbing the kitten's ear canal and putting it on a microscope slide. Not all dark brown debris that comes from kitten ears will have ear mites, despite what some owners may think. However, if the kitten has not had treatment for fleas/ticks/mites, then I will do one course of treatment, and attempt to clean the ears. My go-to treatment is a single dose of selamectin. There are other treatments for kittens, so definitely go with what you are comfortable with. If there is a severe infection, with a lot of eggs, then you may require a repeat dose in 4 weeks. You may also have the kitten on monthly doses if they are indoor/outdoor kitties. If you are lucky to have a kitten that will sit still for an otoscopic examination, then you can use a standard otoscope and see the mites crawling around inside the ear canal. Pretty cool huh? If you are studying for the NAVLE, the ear mite for a cat is Otodectes cynotis which apparently you can find in ferrets' ears as well, if they live with an infected cat. Random ferret fact! Bunny Ear Mites I haven't done much exotic pet medicine in the past few years. In fact, now that I think about it, I have seen more exotic pets in the past few weeks than in the entire 3 previous years of my veterinary career! There are some standard things that I remember, and one of those happens to be the rabbit ear mite, Psoroptes cuniculi. I vaguely remember that the difference between the two ear mites was that Psoroptes had longer little trumpets on the ends of their legs. The good thing is that you can treat both types of ear mites using the same medication, kitten products extra-label to treat rabbit ear mites. Similarly, you can use the otoscope with its magnifying glass and see the ear mites crawling around in the rabbit's ears, or you take some of those crusts and put a little bit of mineral oil on your slide to hold them on there and voilà! I am so sorry I didn't get a before cleaning photo! So, here's what it could look like before treatment and ear cleaning. Here is a Day 1 of our patient and 3 weeks after a single treatment with selamectin. I did end up giving her a dose of meloxicam as well, because this is really painful for our patient. The plan was to have our bunny patient come back at the 4 week mark for a second dose of selamectin, however, the owner wasn't keen on cleaning the bun's ears at home, so we did the ear cleaning a few times. I was quite pleased to see our bunny at the 3 week mark, looking much less crusty! Needless to say, our patient responded well to the treatment, and I hope they continue to do so!