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Ear Mites in Dogs and Cats

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Ear mites are mites that live in the ears of humans and animals. There are several types of mites that can live in your pet’s ears. Most commonly seen in animals are Otodectes cynotis which means ear biter of the dog. This is also the same species that is seen in 90% of ear mite infections in cats. These mites cause irritation and inflammation in both internal and external ear canals.

If left untreated, they can lead to serious skin and ear infections. An ear mite infection produces a characteristic dark discharge. In severe cases the ear canal can be entirely blocked by debris that resembles coffe grounds. In addition to skin infections, an aural hematoma can develop if the animal is scratching or doing a lot of head shaking. An aural hematoma is caused by the blood vessels in the animal’s ears rupturing due to the scratching and head shaking.

Possible Ear Mite Symptoms

Dogs
Excessive scratching and rubbing ears
Head shaking
Strong odor
Inflammation
Obstruction of ear canal with coffee ground-like discharge
Cats
Excessive scratching and rubbing ears
Head shaking
Black or brown waxy secretion
Strong odor
Inflammation
Obstruction of ear canal with coffee ground-like discharge
Hair loss and dermatitis
Scratches or scabs near ears

Ear mites can affect dogs and cats of all ages. With cats, they are more common in kittens and outdoor cats. If you suspect that your animal has ear mites, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. You should avoid self-diagnosis since many bacterial infections tend to mimic the symptoms of ear mites.

Treatment prescribed by your veterinarian may include products that are applied directly into the ear or applied directly to the skin. Your veterinarian may recommend a gentle cleaning with ear cleaner and cotton. They may also prescribe anit-inflammatory or an antibiotic to resolve infections. Your pet will feel releif soon after the treatment begins, but you need to complete the treatment for its full course to eliminate the problem. You must also treat all animals in the house to ensure full eradication of the problem.

Source material: WebMD; http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ear-mites-dogs and http://pets.webmd.com/cats/ear-mites-cats

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