Ear mites are itchy little buggers. Highly contagious, and highly common; if you own a dog, you will almost definitely have to deal with your canine's ear mites at some point. The good news is that these parasites are easy to diagnose and treat. If you have to deal with ear mites in dogs, it's best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for some professional help.
Most commonly, ear mites in dogs (or ear canker mites) are caused by the Otodectes cynotis mite, an eight-legged, white arachnid that isn’t visible to the naked eye.
Studies show that usually it's passed on by another infected animal, with the most common culprit for contamination being a cat ; it's less likely to be a human or other dogs. Surprisingly, cats are far more likely to suffer from this parasite than dogs.
The most common symptom of ear mites in dogs is your pet incessantly scratching one or both ears. Other symptoms include:
- Head shaking
- Brown discharge
- Reddening of the ear
- Irritability when you handle his ears
Depending on the severity of the ear canker mite infestation, you may be able to treat this problem fully at home using our Ear Tonic.
Now, let's discuss ear mites in dogs in more detail and talk about some of the specific scientifically proven treatments and preventative measures that are available
Ear Mites in Dogsnic
Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention
The otodectes cynotis mite lives off of the wax and oil secretions within your dog’s ear canal. They are highly contagious . By themselves they rarely cause more than a tickling of the ear for your dog. But, in more hypersensitive canines, the dog's immune system can overreact and cause inflammation of the ear canal itself.
This inflammation can lead to ear infections and skin infections. The greatest danger if this occurs is a ruptured blood vessel. Not caused by the mite itself, but from the incessant scratching of the ear by your dog and his very sharp claws.
A swab of the ear canal, which should be conducted by a licensed veterinarian only, will often display a number of these white, slow moving, eight-legged parasites. Not visible to the naked eye, it would take 400x magnification to see them properly.
The life cycle of an ear mite in dogs is anywhere between two to five weeks while it survives off of the host (the dog's ear wax and/or ear oil). The female mite will also lay eggs inside of the ear, which will later hatch into new mites after approx. 2 months .
Who Can Suffer from Ear Mites?
Unfortunately, all dogs of all breeds and all ages can suffer from this condition
The likelihood of your dogs contracting ear mites at some point in their lifetime is incredibly high, studies show. Especially common in felines, the most common reason that a dog will contract these eight-legged mites is through contact with an infected cat.
However, this doesn’t mean that only feline owning households are at risk. Just one sniff of a neighbor's cat can be enough to pass mites along onto your dog.
Once one dog in the house has ear mites, there is an almost inevitable domino effect and the rest will likely follow suit. Ear mites are highly contagious among dogs . Other animals that can pass on ear mites are rabbits, foxes and cows.
Luckily, this parasite isn’t contagious to humans.
It's important to note that ear mites in dogs are most prevalent (and most dangerous) for young puppies. Their still developing immune system often has a far more adverse reaction to this horrible parasite. On average, an infected dog or puppy may have 1,000 of these little buggers hiding in each ear without any visible sign to the naked eye.
Common Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs
The most obvious sign of ear mites in dogs is a pup that scratches his ears relentlessly, but you might not know that the coffee brown discharge coming from your dog’s ear isn’t merely excess earwax. In fact, this discharge is the symptom of an infection.
Other common symptoms include:
- Head shaking
- Foul odor coming from the ear
- Inflammation of the ear
- Reddening of the inner ear
- Bleeding of the ear
- Small bumps in the ear canal
- Irritability when trying to handle the ears
Life Cycle of an Ear Canker Mite
The mite has a reasonably short lifespan, with only a three to five week life expectancy. Female mites unfortunately mature at three weeks and are able to lay eggs before they die. These eggs are attached to the wall of the ear canal by a secretion produced by the female mite.
The eggs take three to four days of incubation prior to hatching. Then they go through a series of cycles starting as larvae, then progress to protonymph and deutonymph – with each cycle taking approximately five days to complete. In total, from egg to producing an egg, this process will take anywhere from eighteen to twenty eight days.
Also, should the condition return, by having a frequent schedule to check on your dog’s ears, you’ll be able to notice any changes in discharge, inflammation and redness. The faster that you can seek medical treatment for ear mites in dogs, the less likelihood for a ruptured blood vessel – which can be costly and time consuming to repair.
Always clean all of your dog's belongings.
During and after recovery from ear mite infection, clean Fido's dog bed thoroughly several times. If you have a washing machine safe dog bed, you might want to pop it in on a warm or hot cycle to ensure that you kill any leftover mites.
If your dog's bed can't fit or isn't washer-friendly, then spray it heavily with our Mitecide. This treatment should be done once or twice daily. Full recovery could be seen anytime from three to twenty-eight days.
This condition is no fun for your pet and should be taken seriously if it strikes. If left untreated for too long, ear mites in dogs can lead to further complications should an infection or burst blood vessel occur.
Luckily, Our Ear Tonic is readily available and provides relief almost instantaneously.