ALL CREATURES ANIMAL CLINIC, LTD.
Mark Hale, DVM
WHAT ARE EAR MITES?
Ear mites (Otodectes cyanotis) are tiny parasites that live on the skin in the ear canals of dogs and cats.
HOW DO PETS BECOME INFESTED WITH EAR MITES?
The parasites are transferred easily from one animal to another by direct contact.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF INFESTATION?
Mites are extremely irritating to pets. Vigorous scratching at the ears and shaking of the head are common signs of infestation. A build-up of dark, waxy material is evident in the ear canals.
HOW IS THE INFESTATION DIAGNOSED?
Ear mite infestation is diagnosed by examination of the ear canal with an otoscope, an instrument consisting of a lighted funnel that is inserted in the ear canal, and by microscopic examination of earwax and debris to detect the presence of mites.
WHAT PROBLEMS DO EAR MITES CAUSE?
Ear mites survive by feeding off of the lining of the ear canal. This activity causes inflammation and the buildup of waxy debris.
Ears infested with mites are susceptible to bacterial infection. A hematoma (a bruise or blood clot under the skin) may also develop on the earflap as a result of the scratching and head shaking. Surgery is often required to correct hematomas.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
To remove the wax and debris, the ear canal is cleaned carefully with a gently ear rinse. Medication is applied to kill the mites, soothe the inflamed lining of the ear, and fight bacterial infection. If the ear mites have spread to other areas of the body, insecticidal shampoos or dips are needed to kill the parasites.
Medication is applied in the ear canal and massaged to distribute. Administer once a week for a total of three weeks.