Ferret ear mites are the most common ear problem in fuzzies. Don’t freak out when you discover ferret ear mites, they’re pretty easy to treat and they don’t cause any serious damage to your fuzzy. For your fuzzy’s comfort, you will want to treat them as quickly as possible.
WHERE DO THESE FERRET EAR MITES COME FROM?
ferret mitesDoes your fuzzy come into contact with other ferrets, cats, or dogs? Most likely, these tiny insects jumped hosts.
Ear mites generally don’t survive very long outside of a host. This means it’s extremely unlikely that you have transmitted them to your fuzzy yourself, the way you can transmit fleas.
HOW DO I KNOW MY FUZZY IS INFECTED?
If the wax is almost black, and there’s lots of it, ferret ear mites are most likely the cause. They will examine the ear wax under a microscope where they can actually see the tiny insects crawling around.
Even though they seem to scratch themselves more than any other animal, fuzzies usually don’t scratch their ears when they’re infested. Instead, you might notice your ferret rubbing his head on the floor, couch, you, just to relieve some of the irritation.
This could also be a sign of ear problems if your fuzzy is walking with his head slightly tilted to one side or he’s shaking his head a lot.
Biting the tip of the tail could also be a symptom. I don’t quite understand why ear mites apparently like to congregate at the tail tip (maybe they get confused when your fuzzy is sleeping curled up in a little ball with his tail right next to his ear?).
And last but not least, put your nose to work. Normally your fuzzbutt’s ears shouldn’t smell.
HOW DO I GET RID OF FERRET EAR MITES?
After your vet has confirmed the problem is caused by mites and not an ear infection, it’s time to battle those little bugs.
The first thing you should know is that a mite’s life cycle, from egg to adult mite, takes about 3 weeks. The eggs are unaffected by an ear mite treatment. Once or twice every 7 to 10 days to make sure you kill all the newly hatched parasites, this means you’ll have to repeat the treatment.
Most likely your vet has recommended you a product to treat the infestation and how to apply it. If not, here’s a little step by step:
You’ll need to get rid of the ear wax. Use a Q-tip, or better yet, a solution that dissolves the wax-like baby oil, Oti-Clens, or Marshall Ferret general ear drops.
TIP: Make sure any fluids you use are body temperature (put them in your pocket for a couple of minutes before applying).
Scruff your fuzzy and put 3-4 drops in each ear and massage it in. Hold your ferret’s head for a minute or so for the product to loosen the wax. Your fuzzy will shake his head as soon as he can, leaving you covered in ear wax.
TIP: Don’t wear your best outfit and preferably treat your fuzzy in a room that’s easy to clean.
Use a Q-tip to clean the remainder of the wax.
Use the ear mite treatment your vet recommended (possibly Ivermectin). If you use Revolution, use one kitten/puppy tube on the back of your ferret’s neck.
Wash all bedding frequently during the treatment.
Don’t forget to treat any other pets you might have.
Do not use ear mite products that contain containing betamethasone BP, neomycin BP, and monosulifiram. Apparently, there have been two reports where this kind of product resulted in ear damage and surgically removal of part of the ear.
Ferret ear mites are the most common ear problem in fuzzies. Don’t freak out when you discover ferret ear mites, they’re pretty easy to treat and they don’t cause any serious damage to your fuzzy. If the wax is almost black, and there’s lots of it, ferret ear mites are most likely the cause. The eggs are unaffected by an ear mite treatment. Use the ear mite treatment your vet recommended (possibly Ivermectin).