Otodectes cynotis mites, commonly called ear mites, are a relatively mild parasite infection. However, complications may arise when an animal has an immune hypersensitivity reaction that results in intense irritation of the external ear.
Dogs with ear mites will typically scratch at the ears excessively and shake their heads, even pulling out their own hair as they scratch. Some dogs will shake their heads so much that a hematoma of the ear flap will form. The inflammation resulting from scratching can also cause long-term damage of the ear canal.
The ear mite is known for being highly contagious, frequently passing from the mom to her litter, and between cats and dogs.
Symptoms of Dog Ear Mites
Excessive scratching at ears
Frequently shaking the head
Thick red-brown or black crusts in the outer ear
Clumps in the ear canal that look like coffee grounds
Abrasions and scratches on the back side of the ears
How Do Dogs Get Ear Mites?
O. cynotis ear mites are often transmitted through socialization with infected dogs and cats. They are most commonly found in cats that spend a lot of time outside.
You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog's health and onset of symptoms, as well as whether your dog has regular contact with other animals. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog and examine a sample of material from the ear.
How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Dogs
Dogs can be treated on an outpatient basis with medication designed to kill the mites. As this infection is very contagious, all animals in the same household should be treated, and the environment should be cleaned very thoroughly. Clean all bedding, linens, furniture and flooring.
The ears should be thoroughly cleaned with an ear cleaner that is formulated for dogs. Your veterinarian may prescribe an ear medication for dogs to eliminate secondary bacterial and yeast infections. Prescription flea and tick treatments should also be administered. Several of these are specifically labeled to kill mites and are the safest, most effective means of treating dog ear mites.
Living and Management
The prognosis is good for most patients. Two to four weeks after therapy begins, your veterinarian will schedule a follow-up appointment to examine and swab your dog's ears. Persistent infections can lead to hearing loss, so it is important to address symptoms of dog ear mites early.