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What New Kitten Owners Need to Know About Ear Mites

Veterinarian Stacey Wallach explains why kitten owners need to keep any eye on their new pet's ears.

Each week, Veterinarian Stacey Wallach, owner of , answers pet owner questions. If you have a question for the vet, e-mail it to Gabrielle.Biondo@Patch.com.

This week, she answers a series of recent questions from one of her clients. 

Question: We recently adopted a new kitten from a neighbor. He has been scratching at his ears quite a bit, and he has a lot of black stuff in his ears. Is that normal for a kitten? Could he have an ear infection? Can our older kitty get it? 

Answer: The first thing you need to do is to take your new kitten to your vet. The vet will check his ears and look at the debris in his ears under a microscope. The vet will be looking for ear mites and bacteria, as well yeast. Kitten' ears often are infested with ear mites that cause the ears to be very itchy and produce dark waxy or crusty discharge from the ears. Sometimes when the kitten shakes his head, pieces of this black crust will fly out of his ears. Yuck! If the kitten has ear mites, he can spread them to other animals, so proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial. If this bacteria, yeast or both are present in your other cat’s ears, they will also need to be treated, as they are not normally spread from animal to animal. 

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