Recognising And Treating Ear Mites In Dogs

An ear mite infection occurs when otodectes mites take up residence on top of or just under the surface of your dog's ears. The mites are commonly found in young dogs and can be easily passed between dogs through skin contact. These tiny parasites will cause your dog a great deal of discomfort and can lead to your dog developing a hematoma in their ear, which is mass of clotted blood, as a result of shaking their head profusely to try and get relief from the itching the mites cause. Here's what you need to need to know about ear mites in dogs:

Signs Of Ear Mites

If you notice any of the following, your dog likely has an ear mite infection:

  • They repeatedly scratch their ears and head
  • They have dark crusts around their ears
  • They have small bumps in their ear canal
  • They have scratch marks on the back of their ears
  • They have a dark, foul-smelling discharge from their ears, which is a mixture of blood, exudate as a result of inflammation and ear wax

Diagnosis And Treatment Options

An ear mite infection can be diagnosed by a physical exam and skin scrapings. Your vet will use an otoscope to view your dog's inner ears and will usually be able to see the mites, but taking skin scrapings will allow them to confirm otodectes mites are to blame for your dog's symptoms. Getting a skin scraping sample simply involves sweeping a soft swab across your dog's ear canal, and it won't cause your dog any pain.

Once your vet has confirmed your dog has ear mites, they will prescribe an anti-parasitic topical treatment to be applied directly to your dog's ears. You'll need to ensure the full course of treatment is given to your dog to eradicate both the mites and eggs. Additionally, as ear mites are contagious, you should treat any other dogs in your home whether they have symptoms of ear mites or not and thoroughly clean your home.

This is necessary because ear mites can live on soft furnishings and even human skin for short periods of time, so other dogs could easily become infected if ear mites have been in your home. After treatment, your vet will do a follow-up examination of your dog to ensure the mites have been eradicated.

If your dog is displaying any of the signs of an ear mite infection, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to minimise their discomfort. For more information, contact a local animal clinic like Ivanhoe Veterinary Clinic