Your pet ferret is susceptible to a wide variety of health problems, including ear mites. Here are four things you need to know about ear mites.
What are the signs of ear mites?
If your ferret has ear mites, you'll notice that they are scratching their ears very frequently. They may also shake their head frequently or walk with their head tilted. If you notice these signs, take a closer look at your ferret's ears. If your ferret has ear mites, you'll see that they have an excessive amount of ear wax; this wax may be black or smelly. These symptoms warrant a trip to a vet right away.
How serious are ear mites?
Ear mites are very uncomfortable for your ferret, but in addition to this discomfort, the mites can lead to permanent damage. The mites make your ferret's ear canals very swollen, and this swelling may damage the ear drums, leading to hearing loss or total deafness. To protect your ferret's hearing, make sure to take ear mites seriously.
How are ear mites treated?
Your vet will prescribe a medication to kill the ear mites. The medication only kills adult mites, not their eggs, so you will need to repeat the medication every one to three weeks until the mites are gone.
Since ear mites make your ferret's ears swollen, anti-inflammatory drugs may also be required. These drugs are given in ointment (cream) form and need to be used about once a week until the inflammation is controlled.
Ear mites can spread to other parts of your ferret's body, like their fur or their tail, so your vet may tell you to spray them with a ferret-safe flea killer. This will get rid of any mites that have migrated away from the ears, which will help prevent a recurrence.
Are ear mites contagious?
The mites that infest ferrets, Otodectes cynotis, affect other animals, too. If you have other pets, like dogs or cats, they can catch the ear mites from your ferret. If you have other pets, don't let them go near your ferret until the mites are gone.
Unfortunately, people can also get these ear mites. To keep yourself safe, don't cuddle your ferret until their mites are gone, and after touching your pet or their cage, wash your hands thoroughly.
If you think your pet ferret has ear mites, take them to a vet (such as Rivers Animal Hospital vet) immediately. Ear mites can cause deafness in ferrets, but with prompt treatment, your pet's hearing can be saved.