Does your dog tend to get ear mites on a regular basis? If so, you are not alone. This is one of the more common problems with dogs with the most common ear mite being Otodectes cynotis. These tiny parasites are members of the arachnid or spider family. They love to feed on the oils and ear wax in your dog's ears.
The average lifespan of these pests is about 3 weeks, during which they can cause a range of issues for your dog, including inflammation and irritation, infections of the external and internal ear canal, and a number of more serious conditions if left untreated.
If you do not get your dog's ear mites treated in a timely manner, it can also lead to a complete blockage of his ear canal by the discharge caused by the infection. Ear mites are highly contagious and should not be left untreated as they can easily spread to any other animals in your home.
Causes and Prevention of Ear Mites in Dogs
The most common way in which your dog is likely to become infested with ear mites is by coming into contact with another animal who is already infested. However, it is also possible for an affected animal to spread mites by shaking his head vigorously. This will shower the area with mites that can then be picked up by your dog.
Contact with Another Infested Animal
This is by far the most common cause of an ear mite infestation. Mites can easily jump from one animal to another. They must find a host to live on or they cannot survive without food or shelter. Since the mites need plenty of food to live on, the best thing you can do to prevent them is to keep your dog's ears very clean. You should use an approved cleaner made expressly for dogs-- you can buy one over the counter or, better yet, talk to your vet. However, doing so does not guarantee that your dog won't get mites at some time.
The other method of preventing an ear mite infestation in your dog is to simply keep your dog from being in close contact with other animals unless you know for a fact they do not have mites. Since this is the most common form of transmission, keeping your dog away is the best way to prevent an infestation.
Contact with Infested Bedding
It is possible for your dog to bring mites into the home and then deposit them on his bedding. If you kennel your dog, he may also come into contact with mites on shared bedding or toys. Wash all of his bedding in hot water and then dry in a hot dryer. This will kill the mites and remove all traces of them from the bedding and toys.
Although you may not be able to wash everything at the local kennel, you can certainly let those who run it know what is going on. It is their job to provide a healthy environment for every dog that is boarded there. If the problem persists, it may be time to find a new kennel. Ear mites can be a very serious problem, but if you take the necessary steps to prevent your dog from coming into contact with them, he should never have to deal with them.
Importance of Preventing Ear Mites
Ear mites can slowly drive your dog crazy with the constant itching. He is likely to spend most of his awake time scratching at his ears and shaking his head. You may also notice a brown or black discharge coming from his ears, along with a nasty smell. Also, if the buildup in his ears becomes excessive, your dog could temporarily lose his hearing. By taking the necessary steps to prevent your dog from getting ear mites, you will have a much happier and healthier dog.
Taking the time to clean your dog's ears on a regular basis will not only help to reduce the risk of an ear mite infestation but will also help to keep your vet bills under control as veterinary care for severe ear mites can be quite expensive.
Finally, preventing ear mites in your dog can help keep down the amount of extra work like washing his bedding and toys and reduce the risk that other animals in your home could become infested.
Keep an Eye on the Ears
Ear mites are extremely common in dogs and can spread like wildfire. These tiny spider-like pests can cause anything from minor irritations to serious conditions including infections and burst blood vessels in his ears due to the incessant scratching. The hard part is that you never know if any other dog yours comes into contact with has ear mites.
The best thing you can do is thoroughly clean your dog's ears once a month using an approved cleaner. Not only does this keep the food ear mites need to survive to a minimum, it gives you a chance to inspect your dog's ears for any signs of an ear mite infestation. In the event your dog becomes infested, proper care typically leads a full recovery with no sign of the infestation being left behind. The prognosis for your dog is good as most dogs make a full recovery after proper treatment.