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Ear Mite Infestation

General Information

Ear mites are tiny white parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and cats. These mites are highly contagious and frequently infest whole litters of puppies and kittens. Ear mite infections are quite common in cats but much less common in adult dogs.

The presence of scratching or inflammation of the ear canal does not provide a diagnosis of ear mite infection. There are many reasons why an animal may have ear infection. Treating for ear mites without a diagnosis of ear mite infection is wasteful and delays appropriate therapy for the problem. We always recommend that an exam by a veterinarian be made to determine the cause of any ear inflammation.

If more than one dog or cat is present in the home, and one is found to be infected, then all should be carefully examined for ear mites. If any animals in the group that are infected with ear mites are not treated the disease will spread through your group again after treatment ceases. Once the ear mite infection is resolved it should not be able to return unless your animals are around other animals that are infected..

Severe ear infections may develop as a result of injury to the ear canal by the mites. A dark, crusty material is found in the affected ear canal. Head shaking and ear scratching are common signs.


Important Points in Treatment

1. In many cases, the ears require a thorough cleaning before treatment. An anesthetic may be necessary in severe cases to allow complete cleaning.

2. The mites can crawl to other parts of your pet's body. Therefore, a topical insecticide may be prescribed, depending upon your pet's age, state of health and severity of the disease.

3. The medication we normally prescribe for ear mite infestation is a mixture of an ear wash and an insecticide that will kill the mites in the ear canal. We recommend this mixture rather than one of the commercial products because we have found it to be easier for clients to use and more effective in eliminating infection. You should thoroughly flood both ears canals once each week for four consecutive weeks.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:

* Your pet develops a head tilt or loss of balance.

* Your pet vomits or refuses to eat.

* Your pet's general health changes.