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  • Ear Mites Are Just Gross!

    Ear mites are just plain gross, especially when it is your cat who has them.  These little critters can cause some significant pain if your cat gets infected.  The best way to prevent an infection is not being around other cats and keeping your cat indoors.  If your cat is shaking its head, scratching its ears or has ear canals filled with black debris please let us evaluate those ears for ear mites.  Luckily the treatments are very effective.


    There are several types of ear mites that can live in cats’ ears, but the most common are Otodectes cynotis, tiny, eight-legged parasites that feed on the wax and oils in a cat’s ear canal. An individual mite has an approximately three-week life cycle, and is barely detectable by the naked eye. Causing irritation and inflammation, ear mites can infect the external and internal canal, and lead to more serious skin or ear infections if left untreated. Infection usually produces a characteristic dark discharge-and in the most severe cases, a cat’s ear canal can become entirely obstructed by this coffee ground-like debris.

    What Causes Ear Mites in Cats?

    Highly contagious, ear mites are often passed from pet to pet in casual contact at home or outside. Though they can infect both cats and dogs, ear mites are much more common in cats, and are responsible for more than 50 percent of all feline ear infections. Humans are generally immune to ear mites.

    What Are the General Symptoms of Ear Mites in Cats?

    • Excessive scratching and rubbing of ears
    • Head shaking
    • Hair loss and dermatitis
    • Black or brown waxy secretion
    • Strong odor
    • Inflammation of the ear
    • Obstruction of ear canal with coffee ground-like debris
    • Scratches or scabs near ear

    What Are Some Complications of Ear Mites in Cats?

    In addition to the development of skin infections, ear mites can cause blood vessels inside a cat’s ear to rupture from intense scratching and head shaking. This is known as an aural hematoma, and often requires surgery to correct.

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  • Are Cats at Risk for Fleas and Ticks?

    Test your knowledge of flea and tick risk for cats.

    Find out what’s real and what’s not!

    Fleas and ticks ignore indoor cats.
    FALSE – While outdoor cats are most susceptible, indoor cats can also get fleas and ticks. The garage, porch, and entryway are places that can harbor ticks, and indoor cats may investigate and lounge on adjacent areas like windowsills.

    Cats that live in chilly weather can’t get fleas and ticks.
    FALSE – Both cold and warm climates are ripe for fleas and ticks. Even in cold weather, fleas thrive due to central heating, so protecting your cat all year is important.

    City cats are safe from fleas and ticks.
    FALSE – Outdoor areas in the city, contact with visiting pets, and taking trips can put your cat in danger of getting ticks and fleas.

    Indoor cats can be at risk from other pets.
    TRUE – Any pet that goes outside can be a carrier for fleas and ticks—that can attach to an unprotected cat.

    Filthy shoes and clothes pose no risk.
    FALSE – Anything that comes in from the outdoors can harbor fleas or ticks. Those mounds of dirty laundry may also look interesting to your cat!

    Cats should be protected when going to a boarding facility.
    TRUE – Exposure can happen in many places, and especially in areas where there are other animals. Some social situations, such as at boarding facility, are where fleas and ticks can be contracted. Keep your cat protected when boarding!


    Copyright © 2017 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved.

  • How To Check For Fleas on Dogs & Cats


    It is common for dogs and cats to get fleas at some time in their lives, even if they spend most of their time indoors. Somehow, fleas find an entry point into your home. This can be a big issue for you and your pet and catching fleas early before they multiply is critical: stop the problem before it gets bigger! Make checking for fleas a consistent part of taking care of your pets.


    The challenge is finding adult fleas on a dark-haired pet, as they may blend in, but they are easier to spot on short and light-colored fur. Your pet may have fleas, but you may not always see them – they may have been groomed out by your furry friends already. A good rule of thumb is to closely look at the hair by the tail base by using a flea comb or your hands. See if anything “jumps” out, as most fleas will leap around when disturbed. The average size of a flea is about a pinhead.


    Dark, pepper-like particles can be seen on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat (flea droppings), even if you don’t see the actual fleas. A way to check is to touch the particle with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. A dark reddish-brown or orange swirl means flea droppings, and also means your pet has fleas.


  • A Tail Of The Twin Orange Cats

    A collection of poems about orange colored cats featuring a picture of my cats! Their name is ‘steve’. Just for clarification, yes both are named ‘steve’. Because when I say ‘steve come here’, they don’t move.

    Happy Orange Cat

    There is no creature quite as happy
    As the smiling, purring tabby
    Who sits upon the ginger mat
    And acts like he is king of cats
    While soaking up the amber rays
    Of the summer sun by day
    Then, by night, he does retire
    By the glowing orange fire.
    Whenever life seems gray or dull
    This tabby makes it colorful.

    Little Orange Cat

    Little orange cat,
    you prowl
    like a small tiger
    (stalking what?)
    in the field
    of white daisies
    and shining
    from Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2014, Candlewick


    Just an ol’ Tom Cat
    dirty orange in color,
    Rummaging like a rat
    through filth and squalor

    Painfully moving with an obvious limp
    and a single eye from which to glimpse.
    Orange cat advanced with a hesitant skimp;
    so sorrowful a cat I haven’t seen since.

    Confused and frightened
    I could sense his pain.
    Sorrowful and disheartened
    He began to fain.

    Without value or worth,
    abandoned and alone,
    he searched from birth
    trying to find a home.

    Such a dreadful place
    to see suffering like that,
    in the trash and waste
    where I found orange cat.

    He struggled with broken limb
    and to not ease his strain
    would have been a sin
    for anyone who could help him.

    Giving him worth and value
    I cuddled him in my lap,
    providing affection anew,
    he loved me for that.

    After a hard fought struggle
    he died that night.
    In the warmth of a cuddle
    he ended his plight.

    Copyright © Ed Coet | Year Posted 2009

  • Cats and Ear Infections

    Pic logo CCC - Animal Health ServicesToday you are going to learn about your cat’s ear infection.  Most pet owners don’t think much about this unassuming piece of anatomy until there is a problem. You may see one or both ears being scratched.  Black discharge may be oozing out of an ear canal.  Redness and inflammation could be present. Do you see head shaking? How about trauma to the skin around the ears?  Is the skin now bleeding?  Allergies, ear mites or infections can cause any or all of these symptoms. Let’s look at some simple ways to tell which problem your cat may be What to do when your cat scratches at her ears. having.

    What to do when your cat scratches at her ears.

    • Ears mites are blamed for the majority of ear problems in cats.  The reality is that indoor cats will rarely get ear mites unless a cat with them is brought into the house. Otodectes cynotis is the scientific name for the mite. The mite or its eggs are easily visualized under a microscope.  The discharge you will see in the ear will be fairly dry and granular. These infections cause severe itching that may lead to the skin being traumatized.
    • Bacterial and yeast infections are much more commonly with indoor cats.   You will also see discharge but it will have a more waxy consistency.  Some infections can alternatively produce a yellow colored discharge.  The level of itchiness is generally less than that caused by mites.  Looking at a sample under a microscope yields a quick and easy diagnosis.
    • Last but not least is allergies. Allergies can be caused by food or environmental.  You may see itching directed at the ears, redness in the opening of the canals, ear twitching and secondary infections. Secondary bacterial or yeast infections are not uncommon.  If the itching is seasonal then environmental allergies, known as atopy, is likely the cause.  Non-seasonal itching is more commonly caused by food allergies.

    You can see that there are many similarities with each of these ear problems.  The good news is there are simple methods to determine the root of the problem. A swab of the ear and a look under the microscope is often all that is needed for getting the right diagnosis.  The correct diagnosis means a fast track to comfort for your kitty.

    I would love to hear from you. Tell me how this information helped you with your cat.

    Brian Ashmore, DVM