How to Treat Ear Mites and Ear Infections in Dogs

What are Ear Mites?

Although not contagious to humans, ear mites, also referred to scientifically as
Otodectes cynotis, are pesky parasites that breed and reside on an animal's body,
particularly in the ears of canines.

While the pests only live about three weeks, they still can make life very
uncomfortable for your pet as they can cause secondary infections to develop
as well.

Ear Mites can Spread to Other Pets

Usually, a veterinarian will treat the infestation or infection with a medication, so the problem can be ameliorated successfully, provided you seek help once you suspect a problem. During its short life, the mite devours the pup's skin cells, earwax, and blood, and deposits its waste-a crust-like residue-in the ear canal. If you have more than one dog in the house or a cat, then any of them can become infected too if a diagnosis is made for one of your pets.

Signs that your Dog may have Ear Mites

So, how do you know if your dog is possibly suffering from an attack of mites? Some tell-tale clues include the following:

-- Rubbing or shaking of the head and ears;
-- The aforementioned dark crusty debris in the ear opening;v -- Scratching or itching;
-- A malodorous discharge coming from the ear; and
-- Inflamed skin around the ear area

How the Condition is Treated

If you suspect a problem, make an appointment with your vet immediately. He can diagnose whether or not your dog has ear mites by microscopically examining debris from the ear. If he does determine that your dog has ear mites, he can easily recommend a medication to treat the condition and eliminate the pests. Usually, he will prescribe either ear drops or a specially formulated flea and tick medication to put the irritants at rest.

Other Causes for Ear Infections

While ear mites are responsible for secondary ear infections, your pet may also be suffering from an ear infection (also referred to as otitis) for other reasons too. Any dog is susceptible to an ear infection, regardless of whether he has floppy or pointed ears, and may develop the ailment for the following reasons:

-- He may be allergic to some type of inhalant or food;
-- His ear may contain foreign bodies, such as sand or dirt;
-- He may be suffering from a systemic sickness, such as adrenal gland disease or thyroid disease; or
-- He may have growths inside his ear canal, such as polyps

So, while ear mites are often responsible for the development of an infection, you can't rule out the possibility that your pet can be suffering for another reason too.

Take Care of any Ear Infection Problem without Delay

In some instances, if he is in a good deal of pain, your dog may whimper or cry. The condition can also cause some dogs to scratch their ears so much that they develop wounds in the region around the ears as well as on their neck and face. Needless, to say the problem should be addressed before your pet is forced to suffer in this way.