When you see your pet ferret frequently scratching its ears, bacterial infection is the most common culprit. Otitis, which is the scientific term for ear infection in ferrets, can cause many symptoms including uneasiness and the appearance of black or brown material in the ear area such as the walls and canals.
An ear infection usually develops in both ears, but there are also minimal cases wherein the infection occurs in only one ear. However, when left untreated, the infection can quickly spread to the uninfected ear in a matter of days. Most often than not, the ear infection is a result of an existing ear mite issue. The ear mite that commonly infests ferret, which is called Otodectes cynotis, is also the usual suspect of ear infestation in dogs and cats.
However, the chances of your pet ferret getting this mite from other animals kept in the house are slim to none. Most of the time, the ear mites are transferred from its mother immediately after being born. This is the reason why it is very important to make sure that the parents especially the mother is free from all types of parasites due to the fact that her offspring will spend a lot of time with her.
Symptoms of Ear Infection
When ear mites become the primary cause of the ear infection, various symptoms can develop such as chronic irritation, yeast infection, and other bacterial infections that can lead to more serious health problems. Another common symptom is frequent scratching due to extreme itchiness and discomfort. For more severe cases of infestation, the ferret might also feel pain.
Frequent scratching is due to the itchiness caused by the mite’s constant feeding on the tissue debris inside the ear. As a natural reaction, the ferret will instinctively use its feet to scratch, thus increasing the possibility of developing an infection. Another natural reaction is to shake the head in hopes of getting rid of the mites and minimizing the itchiness and discomfort.
Most ferrets will find it hard to resist scratching the infected area, while others do not seem to be bothered at all. When intense scratching is observed, immediate treatment must be provided to prevent other health issues. You must have your pet checked by a reputable vet to get a proper diagnosis. The type of treatment depends on what kind of parasite is infecting the ear. Some treatment will effectively work on specific parasites, while others are useless for various parasites. Clearly, getting a proper diagnosis is extremely crucial in saving both money and time.
Ear Wax Secretion
The presence of ear mites stimulates the ferret to secret ear wax from the ear canal. The accumulated wax displays a light color in the initial stages but eventually turns brownish or black similar to coffee granules. In addition, the consistency becomes thicker as days go by. Fortunately, ferrets are able to build immunity as their bodies adjust to the infection. As a result, only a few symptoms can easily be observed, which can lead to misdiagnosis. To prevent this issue, you must have your pet regularly checked for all kinds of infection especially in the ear area.
When an ear infection develops, the best option is to bring your pet to a vet for proper treatment. This is usually the most effective and efficient way to eliminate the problem. However, a visit to the vet will certainly cost money. Fortunately for owners who are tied on a tight budget, there are also natural alternatives to treat ear infection while working on a low budget. Furthermore, these natural alternatives can be easily done in the comfort of your home.
One of the most common natural ingredients used in treating an ear infection is mineral oil, which is loaded with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight various types of bacteria and parasites. Fill the ear canal with mineral oil and leave it for a few minutes. Gently massage the ear to make sure that the oil penetrates the outer walls of the ear. Doing this will loosen all attached ear wax for easier removal. Use a cotton swab and carefully remove all the accumulated wax.