What are Ear Mites?
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Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs
Symptoms that your pet has ear mites may include:
- Itching ears, head or neck
- Rubbing ears/face on floor
- Frequent head shaking
- Ear redness, inflammation, scratches, bleeding
- Hematoma (swelling of ear pinna)
- Appearance of “coffee-ground” debris inside ear
Causes of Ear Mites in Dogs
Otodectes cynotis mite.
Diagnosis of Ear Mites in Dogs
If you notice symptoms of ear mites, it is important to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian. The discomfort caused by ear mite infestation can result in your pet doing damage to the external or inner ear if left untreated.
The veterinarian will request a history of your pet’s symptoms, including when symptoms began. The veterinarian will want to rule out a yeast or bacterial infection of the ear. A visual examination of the ear will indicate the presence of mites, inflammation, infection, and any other damage to the ear due to shaking or scratching.
Diagnosis is based on visual microscopic observation of the mite. A swab of ear debris is mixed with mineral oil and placed on a microscope slide to be viewed.
The veterinarian may also examine the skin on the body, tail and paws as mites can infest other areas.
Treatment of Ear Mites in Dogs
If the veterinarian has diagnosed the presence of ear mites, the ears will need to be cleaned and treated. Damage or bacterial infection to the ear may require additional treatment and/or antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.Ear Cleaning
Ears should be thoroughly cleaned with a canine-formula ear cleaning solution. Fill the ear canal with the ear cleaning solution and massage the solution into the ear. Allow the pet to shake out the remaining fluid and wipe the inside of the ear with a cloth to dry.Ear Mite Parasiticide
An insecticidal ear treatment is required to kill ear mites. The normal active ingredient in commercial ear treatments is pyrethrin, though fipronil, ivermectin, or selamectin may be used. After cleaning, apply the ear mite parasiticide into the ear, using a gloved finger to rub over all surfaces (use as directed by the veterinarian). Medication should be applied on the schedule given to you by the veterinarian, usually 1-2 times daily for up to 4 weeks depending on the severity of infestation.
If the veterinarian determines the presence of mites elsewhere on the body, these areas will also require treatment with parasiticide. Use a shampoo, spray or dip designed to treat flea infestations, formulated for use on dogs, and that contains one of the above listed insecticides. Follow the veterinarian’s instructions. Multiple treatments may be required.
Recovery of Ear Mites in Dogs
Mites are contagious so other pets may need to be examined and treated as well if symptoms arise. Treatment is normally curative as long as the pet’s environment is thoroughly cleaned and all affected pets are treated. All bedding, surfaces, pet attire, toys and other items should be washed upon diagnosis and again after treatment duration.
Treatment schedules need to be followed to completion. The veterinarian will likely request a follow up appointment in 3-4 weeks to confirm treatment effectiveness.
Keep your pet’s ears clean and examine them frequently. It is a good idea to flush your pet’s ears every 2-4 weeks with a mild canine-formulated ear wash solution.
Ear Mites Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
About how much would it cost to get my puppy checked and/or treated for ear mites? He is itching and rubbing them, they are not red or swollen. He is only two months old
A consultation with your Veterinarian will typically cost between $50 - $100 depending on your location and Veterinarian. To get an accurate quotation, just call your local Veterinary Clinic and ask the price over the phone, you’ll get a more accurate price quotation that way. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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