Published on August 21st, 2014 | by Debbie Martin2
How Can You Tell If your Dog Has Ear Mites?
Your canine companion is one of your best friends and he is always overly happy to see you when you walk through the door. He cuddles up to you when you are sad, he goes for walks with you in the countryside and he makes you laugh with his adorable antics. A dog is more than just a pet; they are a beloved part of the family.
You probably pay attention to general aspects of your dog’s health on a regular basis, such as their food intake, their digestive health and their behavior. However, have you ever thought about the dangers of parasites such as ear mites? Being aware of ear mites and their symptoms is very important, as these little pests can inflict a lot of pain on your canine friend.
What Are Ear Mites?
The ear mite is a nasty little creature, known by the scientific community as Otodectes cyanotis. It is a very common parasite in dogs and your furry friend can catch mites from other animals such as cats and other dogs. Unlike fleas, which live on the skin, ear mites burrow down deep into the ear canal.
These little beasts live within your dog’s ears and eat their dead skin cells, thriving and multiplying in the dark, warm and moist environment. If the problem is left untreated for a long time, your dog’s ears will become inflamed and they will really start to suffer a lot of pain. Their immune system will go into overdrive mode in order to offer them protection, which can create somewhat of an inflammatory response that resembles an allergy. Sometimes the mites can get so bad that they move out of the ear canal and infest other areas of the face.
How to Tell if Your Dog Has Ear Mites
So how do you know if your pooch is suffering from these nasty little parasites? Here are some of the warning signs of ear mites in dogs:
- Your dog is tilting his head more than usual and scratching at his ears
- Your canine has a foul odour surrounding his head
- There is a residue around his ears that is brown and sticky in consistency
If you observe any of these characteristics, there is a good chance that your dog has an ear mite infestation. If this infestation is left untreated, it will become a serious health issue that causes your pet a lot of pain and anguish.
What to Do?
If you have determined that your dog might have ear mites, what should you do? The first step is to identify the infestation and make sure that they really are ear mites. Sometimes a yeast infection of the ear can have the same symptoms, so it is important to test the dog and make sure which ailment they may have.
A vet will swab each ear and they will take a look at the contents of the swab under a microscope. The vet will look for the little eight legged mites in order to confirm the infestation. Then, they will come up with a program to treat the infection. Usually a typical mite treatment will smother and kill the current generation of mites and prevent the next generation from laying any more eggs in the future.
Your vet might prescribe an ointment that has a mineral oil base, which is then applied twice per day to the ear of your dog. It should take approximately 6 weeks to fully cure the ear mite infestation and ensure that your dog is healed. Even if the symptoms start to go away, you should ensure that you finish the treatment to make sure that all of the mites are killed.
The vet might also give your dog oral antibiotics, to make sure that they don’t develop any secondary infections while they are suffering from ear mites. If you know any other pets that have come within contact with the infected dog, they should be taken to the vet and checked for ear mites as well. Also any bedding should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
Ear mites can be a painful problem in dogs, but thankfully they are easily identified and treated if the symptoms are observed. Pay close attention to your dog, especially if he starts to scratch his ears more than usual. If you see the telltale brown discharge, make sure that you get your dog to the vet as soon as possible to identify the parasite and start treatment.