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Ear mites in dogs and cats

Ear mites in dogs and cats are the size of a pinhead and have a grey-white colour. They usually live in and around the ear canal of your dog, cat or ferret. Ear mites can cause a lot of itching and irritations to the ears.

ear mites in dogs and cats

Ear mites are hard to see with the naked eye. Even with an otoscope, a special device to look into the ears, it can sometimes be hard to see these small animals. In this article, you will read all about the symptoms of ear mites and we will also discuss how to best treat ear mites in dogs or cats.

Irritation of the ear canal

Ear mites live in the ear canal of earwax and skin flakes. Female ear mites can lay between 15 to 20 eggs, which hatch after about three weeks. The saliva of the mite causes irritation in the ear canal, causing the sebaceous glands to produce more earwax. This earwax and irritated skin create a good climate for bacteria and yeasts to multiply. In case of ear mite infection in dog sand cats, a secondary bacterial inflammation will occur regularly.

Symptoms of ear mites in pets

The most noticeable symptom of ear mite infection is itching in and around the ears. Your dog or cat will scratch the ears, shake its head or rub its ears against furniture. The intensity of the itching may vary from one animal to another. Furthermore, your pet will often have dirty ears with lots of earwax.

Ear mite treatment

An ear mite infection never disappears by itself and should therefore always be treated correctly. In order to determine if ear mites are present, your vet will have to look into the ears with an otoscope. The veterinarian physician will judge if there is a (bacterial) inflammation of the ear canal. Furthermore, a judgement will be made if the eardrum is intact. If the ears are very dirty, the will be rinsed with lukewarm water to remove the debris. If the eardrum is intact, a special ear ointment can be applied. After three weeks, your vet will usually check if all ear mites are now gone. If the auditory canal is inflamed, another ointment will be needed that contains antibiotic and anti-inflammatory components.

Ear mites in other animals[/h2] [p]Ear mites are very contagious, so if one animal gets them there is a good chance that other animals will also be infected. Dogs, cats and ferrets all have the same type of ear mites. However, rabbits are infected by a different type of ear mite. Not every animal suffers from ear mite infection to the same extent. Animals that do not suffer from any symptoms can still carry ear mites and infect other animals. This is why it is important to treat all dogs, cats and ferrets in one household at the same time. Animals that have no symptoms do not have to be treated with ear ointment but can be treated by spot on pipettes that you use between the shoulder blades. These spot-on pipettes are available at your local veterinarian.

Ear mites complications

Due to the itching feeling caused by biting ear mites, animals can regularly shake their heads or scratch their ears. This is how the auricle can be damaged and othematoma (blood between the two cartilage layers) can occur. If the latter is the case, this condition has to be treated under anaesthesia by a veterinarian physician. As mentioned above, an ear mite infection often causes bacterial infection. If it takes a long time before this infection is treated, the ear canal can get affected worse and worse and as a result damage the eardrum. This can lead to a middle ear infection. If this happens, the animal will walk around with a tilted head, feel very ill and can have problems with their balance. A middle ear infection is much more difficult to treat, as ear ointments cannot be applied when the eardrum is damaged.

Avoid complications

When using the right ointment or spot-on pipettes, ear mites can be relatively easy to treat. When you treat all animals in your household, this will prevent complications and infection by the infected animal.

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