Common Illness in Dogs – Ear Mites
Ear mites are a form of mange, a minor parasitic infection that can affect many parts of your dog’s body. In addition to mild symptoms, your pet may have an allergic reaction to the parasites that can damage the ears.
Ear mites are caused by a specific type of parasite, O. cynotis, which irritates the dog’s ear. It is believed that some breeds of dogs are more genetically predisposed to contracting ear mites.
Excessive itching and scratching of the ears, head, and neck is the main indicator of ear mites, sometimes resulting in cuts and scratches. Your dog may violently and frequently shake their head as well; this may result in an aural hematoma, a small blood-filled pocket in the animal’s ear. Reddish-brown or black coffee ground-like crusts may form in the inner and outer parts of the ear. If your pet is allergic to the ear mites, even more severe itching will result.
Diagnosis and Treatments
Your veterinarian will require a detailed history of your dog’s symptoms. A physical examination will be performed, along with basic tests such as a urinalysis and a blood count, to rule out any other diseases. A dermatologic exam will also be required, and ear swabs and skin samples will be analyzed. The vet may also look inside your dog’s ear canals.
Thoroughly cleaning your dog’s ears with a canine-formulated cleaner is highly recommended, followed by parasiticides prescribed by your vet to remove any existing ear mites and eggs. Topical flea treatments should be administered to the dog’s body as well. If you have other pets, they should also be given the same treatment. Your house should be rigorously vacuumed to get rid of any mites in the environment.
This small but pesky parasite can cause serious itching in your dog. Complications from the condition include allergies to the ear mites and aural hematoma from excessive head shaking. See a vet if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet. Ear mites are not preventable, but they are easily cured.