Money mite be a problem for kitty's ears
May 10, 2006 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Cat with a minor case of ear mites, but I cannot get him to the vet...

OK, here is the problem.
We had a cat go to the emergency vet two days ago, to the tune of about 700 dollars. Next day, I had a scheduled appointment for Melon, my sweet little foundling boy. I go to the super-fancy, cat-only vet. We had out yearly shots, our urinalysis (because he had crystals about a ear ago), leukemia and feline AIDS tests, teeth cleaned, pulse therapy for his tartar, ya ya ya. Melon is very good at the vet, but the trips cause him a lot of stress. We got home yesterday at 5 and he as only come out from under the bed a few times.

In all the stress and confusion of the last two days, we forgot to mention to the vet that Melon was scratching his left ear a bit more than usual. I remember this today, and I corner him and look-- sure enough a slight case of ear mites. Normally I would be off to the vet, but I honestly cannot. They looked at him yesterday and obviously missed it.

Listen, I love my cats, I love them all to death, but Melon's scheuled visit cost about 300. I. Cannot. Spend. Any. More.

And *even more important than that*, I don't think I can get Melon into the carrier again. He was high-stress this last time because of the other cat's trip, and he is still very antsy.

I checked everyone else's ears, and they are all good. No mites there.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Any home remedies?
posted by oflinkey to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Since you seem reasonably confident in your diagnosis, surely you can just pick up some ear mite drops at your local pet megamart and perform the usual anti-earmite treatment: put drops in ears, cat shakes head violently, splattering you with ear mite drops, cat runs away and sulks?
posted by jellicle at 5:41 PM on May 10, 2006

Any of the high-end topical anti-flea poisons (the ones containing fipronil or imadocloprid, that you apply once a month by dripping onto the skin at the back of the neck) should kill off pretty much anything insectile that crawls on kitty, including ear mites.
posted by flabdablet at 5:42 PM on May 10, 2006

Response by poster: flabadabet, so like plain old Advantix or Frontline, applied as per directed? Hm.
posted by oflinkey at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2006

Have you tried just calling the vet and explaining the situation? Maybe they can suggest something/might be willing to prescribe based on what you've said.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:08 PM on May 10, 2006

Advantage works for ear mites , I think. Or there are some good over the counter medications. I think that a good clean isn't a bad idea, either: the mites live on the ear wax, so less food=less mites. Watch out for mites on your other cat, though: they crawl out and lay eggs on the fur, so if they come into contact, they can spread.
posted by baggers at 6:32 PM on May 10, 2006

I second calling the vat. They probably won't prescribe something over the phone but should be able to tell you if Frontline will indeed do the trick or if there's something you should be aware of when buying mite drops (maybe there's some counterindication in you cat's medical history?), or even just give advice as to how big a deal this is. I also go to a fancy cat only vet clinic and they're great about giving advice over the phone. They chose to work with cats because they like them so much, so there's an extra level of commitment.

If you're worried about the vet pressuring you to go back then talking to someone at the pet store would work too. Larger stores round here have well trained staff, sometimes with a vet there too. It's like talking to your pharmacist (more trained than ordinary retail, less trained than a doctor). Probably the least helpful thing they'd do is refer you to your vet.
posted by shelleycat at 6:34 PM on May 10, 2006

I just remembered I have some Advantage so I went and looked at the package. It says (after the stuff about fleas and worms): "For the treatment and control of ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) in cats and kittens from 9 weeks of age." So there you go :D
posted by shelleycat at 6:37 PM on May 10, 2006

Response by poster: Ok, all 4 kitties will be Advantaged tomorrow. In the mean time, if anyone knows how to ease his ear scratchy-ness, that would be helpful.
posted by oflinkey at 6:53 PM on May 10, 2006

I don't know about easing his itching, but apparently this stuff will help prevent it in the future. I've heard/read that you can swab the ear with mineral oil (as in cotton ball or q-tip it) and that will help with the itching. As with all things that shouldn't live on and with your animals though, ivermectin is apparently the gold standard of treatment. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but my parents used to worm their horses with horse wormer, and then give a dab of it to the barn cats -- and those cats were never, ever beset with parasites. Of course, this is probably not economical if you don't have horses.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:08 PM on May 10, 2006

I have two cats and whenever they get ear mites I simply take a q-tip and some rubbing alchohol and gently swab at the inside of their ear.

I do this about once a day give or take, for about 3 or 4 days.

Seems to take care of the problem, its cheap and pretty non invasive, plus its not a potential health risk to them like some of the chemical treatments are.

Good luck!
posted by medelle at 8:57 PM on May 10, 2006

Thirding "call the vet". Don't rule out a return visit 'til you check with them first.

When our cats needed expensive care, minor followups (like this) were often done at little ($10-20) or no charge.

Also, though not highly publicized, usually vets have one price for "office visit" (with dr) and a substatially lower one for "vet tech visit". Even when we've had ritzy vets, the latter wasn't more than $30. I assume a tech can diagnose mites with a 2 second inspection -- that's minimal stress for Melon and minimal cost to you.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:07 PM on May 10, 2006

If the vet missed it, it's the vet's fault. He owes you.

When I had the ear mite issue, my vet had me using mineral oil with swabs. Maybe this is better for cats than alcohol? Of course it meant I had an oily cat for the duration. But that was better than a cat scartching her ears until raw. And the oil was in conjunction with mite medicine.
posted by Goofyy at 11:41 PM on May 10, 2006

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