Otodectosis in Scottish Fold cats: clinical features of disease

Cat breeds

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Scottish Folds (short-haired) and Highland Folds (long-haired) are cute creatures with ears lying flat on the head. Do Scottish Fold cats have ear problems? Their ear pavilion structure provokes frequent occurrence of ear mites in Fold cats.

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Excessive ear wax secretion that is common to many Fold cats promotes otodectosis development. Besides, their ear pavilion gets less ventilation than the one of straight-eared cats. Fungi and mites prefer humid warm conditions with little oxygen, where they can grow uncontrollably. This is aggravated by the fact that Folds’ cat parents often pay little attention to the condition of the cats’ inner ears: the problem is easier to notice in straight-eared breeds – you don’t have to bend back the ear. However, the Fold cats should be inspected on purpose.

Clinical features of otodectosis in Fold cats

Microscopic mites feel uncomfortable in the skin of a healthy ear. The immune system prevents the parasites from growing, regardless of whether the arthropod made it onto the ear surface after a contact with another animal or was there since birth.

Сats with folded ears suffer from inflammatory diseases caused by ear mites somewhat more often than the straight-eared pets. However, it’s not only Scottish Folds who are prone to ear diseases: cats with open, large ears that have an excessive ear wax secretion are affected as well.

Most often otodectosis develops in young animals under the age of one year. Expressed immune system of adult cats can keep the ear mite population from uncontrollable growth. That’s why clinical symptoms don’t develop.

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Ear mites in Fold kittens

Responsible devotees of the Scottish breed never purchase a kitten until it is 2.5-3 months old. Kittens are socialized by the age of three months. They’re already vaccinated against infections, are used to the litter box, fully refused milk, and switched to solid food.

There’s an assumption that most mother-cats pass parasites to their kittens. Unfavorable environment depresses the immune system. When a Scottish kitten moves to a new home, stress conditions activate ear mites that the kitten received in childhood. Thus, even if you bought a kitten from a conscientious breeder, you may have to deal with ear mites that became active due to stress. But if you buy a kitten at a pet market or from an unscrupulous breeder, you can get a pet that already has this infection in an active phase.

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For treating otodectosis in Scottish Fold kittens, the same medications as for adult cats are used. However, be sure to choose those medications that have no restrictions by age or body weight. A vet will help to choose the right ones.

Peculiarities of treating otodectosis in Scottish Fold cats and kittens

Due to the Folds’ anatomical features, they suffer from inflammatory diseases caused by ear mites somewhat more often than the straight-eared pets. But there are no special methods of treating and preventing otodectosis in Scottish cats. As a preventive measure, the cat should be accustomed to routine ear cleaning since kittenhood.

It’s not difficult to treat otodectosis in Scottish Fold cats if you started it in time. However, the disease is easier to prevent than to treat. Your kitten won’t get infected if you adhere to the following recommendations.

  1. Prevent stressful situations: for the first two weeks after moving to a new home feed the kitten with food it is used to. Then, you should use ready-made food not inferior to super-premium-class or well-balanced natural food recommended by a veterinary nutritionist. Anyway, treating the cat with delicacies for humans is unacceptable.
  2. You should clean the cat’s ears once every 1-3 weeks. The best option is to use a special lotion, such as Otifree, Auricap, and analogues. Such medicines often contain propylene glycol and natural ingredients – calendula and other herbs.
  3. Apply insectoacaricidal drops to the withers every month to protect the pet from fleas, helminths, skin and subdermal mites, including ear mites.

How to clean Fold cats’ ears

A responsible cat parent accustoms its pet to cleaning its ears from kittenhood. At first, the pet will oppose the unpleasant and incomprehensible procedures. Later, it’ll get used to them and take them easy. Hygienic cleaning is aimed at the following:

  • preventing ear diseases;
  • cosmetic cleaning before a pet show, photo shoot, or mating;
  • treating otitis or otodectosis.

In most cases, if you do the first two actions regularly, your pet won’t need any treatment.

For the pet to perceive the cleaning as a useful and necessary procedure, you should play with it, give it a treat, and examine it. If the ear canal is clean, you should clear it once in 2 weeks, if it’s dirty – do it immediately.

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Before cleaning, prepare the following tools:

  • cotton swabs: about 4 for each ear canal;
  • special gel;
  • a towel to secure the cat’s head and protect yourself from its claws (only if necessary, since many cats eventually begin to like the procedure).

Turn out the ear pavilion and hold with your fingers, if necessary. If the cat isn’t in pain, begin the preventive cleaning.

If you use the gel, dip a swab into it and push it gently with rotating movements for about 10 mm or less. Thus, you won’t push the wax deep into the ear. To clean the ear, move outwards. Then, insert a new swab. Continue until there is no dirt on the swab.

If you use the spray, spray into the ear canal, clamp the ear and massage it. Let the ear go after 10-15 seconds, when the wax has softened. The cat will shake its head, which will bring some of the wax out. Then, clean the ear with cotton swabs as described above.

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You must also clean the second ear, even if it looks healthy.

If the pet is in pain, proceed to a remedial cleaning. Free the ear canal from crusts and exudate in the same way as if preventively treated. Then, apply therapeutic drops prescribed by a vet. The procedure is repeated daily. The treatment duration is determined by the specialist.

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Veterinarian Evgen Kuleshov

Veterinarian, associate professor, candidate of agricultural sciences. He has a great experience in his specialty, now retired.


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