More than 50 percent of ear infections in cats are related to otodectes cyanotis, or “ear mites.” External ear infections such as ear mites will respond to herbal and other treatments, however infections of the middle and inner ear must be treated by your veterinarian only. Be sure to get an accurate diagnosis before you begin home treatment on your own.
Gently swabbing the ear canal with a large of chunk of cotton may reveal a gooey brown to black discharge often produced by ear mites.
While ear mites can be annoying to both owner and cat, they are relatively easy to clear up–if we are persistent and give several treatments over the course of three weeks. Almost any natural oil-based ear medication, even one that does not directly kill the mites, will ultimately drown them. (The oil covers the mites’ breathing pores, eventually suffocating them.)
Ear mites are highly contagious, even though they are usually only found in younger animals, so you will want to treat all of the animals in the household. Don’t forget to treat any dogs that are in contact with the
infested kitties; dogs are also susceptible to the mites. And even if only one ear appears infected, treat both ears. The mites readily migrate over an animal’s head, from one ear to the other.
I usually recommend an oil-based herbal treatment (see below) every day for about a week, then every second or third day for two more weeks. You need to treat your cat for three weeks in order to catch the mite eggs as they hatch. (Mites have a life cycle of about three weeks.)
Mullein Mix for External Ear Infections
Mullein flowers (available in health food stores)
Place mullein flowers on the bottom of a crock pot. Cover with olive oil. Heat on low for six hours. Cool. Strain. Pour into a glass jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month. To use, apply several drops of the oil, warmed to body or room temperature, into the ear canal.
Excerpted from Dr. Kidd's Guide to
Herbal Cat Care,
by Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D. Copyright (c) 2000 by Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D.. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Excerpted from Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Cat Care, by Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D.