A recently conducted survey revealed that ear problems are the most common reason why owners take their dog to the veterinarian. While the itching and ear irritation may only be an allergies, it could also be a sign of ear mites. These pesky little critters seek out warm areas inside the ears of dogs and cats to thrive.
What are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are extremely tiny (about the size of a speck of dirt) parasitic mites which live in the ear canals of dogs, cats and other small animals. If you have ferrets, rabbits or guinea pigs, they could also be infected with ear mites. They’ve adapted to live in ear canals where they can easily feed on wax and dead skin.
Symptoms of Ear Mites
Thankfully, ear mites don’t carry any threatening transmittable diseases that your dog could get. However, as they bite and burrow into your dog’s ears, it can produce an allergic reaction that causes your dog to scratch violently and shake their head. If they’re left untreated, your dog may end up scratching their ears to the point of developing opened sores. In severe cases, ear mites can cause damage to the dog’s eardrums and inner ear canals.
It’s important to remember that ear mites are highly contagious and it only takes a few to burrow into your dogs ears and produce a reaction. If you’ve determined that one of the pets in your home is infected with ear mites, you should go ahead and get them all treated. Treating only one of the animals in your home will likely result in the ear mites returning to all of them.
Treatment For Ear Mites
If you believe your dog is suffering from ear mites, you should immediately contact their veterinarian. First, they’ll use various instruments to closely inspect their ears and determine if there ear mites present. If the test comes back positive, the veterinarian will likely give your dog’s ears a thorough a cleaning and prescribe miticide ear drops to eliminate any remaining mites.
Is The Problem Really Ear Mites?
The fact is that most owners jump to the conclusion of ear mites too early. While dogs can certainly catch them, it’s actually a lot less common than people think. With that said, anytime you see your dog violently scratching or shaking their, you should schedule a veterinarian appointment. Because if it’s not ear mites, it could be another problem, such as a flea infestation.