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Ear Mites

Dog Ear Mites (Otodectes) are in the arachnid family as are spiders. Ear mites feed off of small capillaries (blood vessels) in the inner ear canal causing severe discomfort to the animal, which results in constant itching. The dog may scratch at the ears intensely and constantly shake his head. Head shaking can be so intense that an affected dog may actually eject mites into the environment, which can then infect other animals. Ear mites are very contagious, and can spread between both dogs and cats very easily.

Besides the telltale head shaking and scratching, other symptoms of ear mites in dogs include carrying the head tilted to one side or the other, an abundance of dark brown, red or blackish waxy deposits in the ears, foul odors and secondary infections from constant scratching. If left untreated, bacterial infections from scratching may lead to abscesses or hematomas. Severe cases of untreated canine ear mites can also lead to permanent damage to the ear canal and hearing loss or deafness.

Treatment of ear mite infestations includes cleaning the debris from the infected ears with a quality ear cleanser. This is usually involves filling the ear canal with the ear cleansing solution and massaging the base of the ear in order to break-up and dislodge the build-up. Allow the dog to then shake his head as this will also help to dislodge the debris. After the dog has shaken his head and removed the majority of the cleansing fluid from the ears, remove any residual debris with a cotton ball. Repeat the process until the cotton balls come-up clean. A good Pyrethrin based solution should then be used to kill the mites. If treatment does not work see your local veterinarian.

Ear Mites Prevention
As mentioned, ear mites are very contagious among household pets, therefore all animals in the home should be treated to prevent re-infestation. If secondary infections, hematomas or chronic re-infestations occur see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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