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Ear Health

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Dog Ear Mites

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Dog ear mites are tiny mites, barely visible to the human eye, that live on the surface of the skin, usually in the ear canal. They are a common cause of disease and infection and can cause intense, itchy ears, as well as head shaking in your dog. Ear mites can cause ears to become red and swollen and the skin around the ears to develop rashes or other skin disorders.

 

What causes ear mites in puppies and dogs?

Ear mites are common in dogs, particularly in puppies. While dogs are less likely than cats to have ear mites, dogs that share a house with puppies or cats are more susceptible to ear mites.

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Dog_health_infection_ear_exam2.jpgWhen to see your veterinarian

If you suspect your dog has ear mites, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. During your dog’s appointment, your veterinarian will use an otoscope to examine the ear. Usually, mites can be seen with an otoscope or can be detected in ear discharge placed under a microscope.

How are ear mites in dogs treated?

Ear mites are typically treated with anti-parasitic medications applied directly to the ear canal. Some treatments need to be applied regularly for a few weeks while others can be administered in a single dose. Your veterinarian will prescribe the right ear mite treatment for your dog. When mites are present in one dog or cat in the household, it is important to treat all pets in the household at the same time, because ear mites are so contagious. Mite infestation often leads to a secondary bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection, which may need to be addressed with topical medications and ear cleansers.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EAR MITES IN DOGS
  • Am I able to see ear mites in my dog’s ears?

    Ear mites are barely visible to the human eye. Usually, your veterinarian will be able to see the mites using an otoscope, or they will be visible in the ear discharge using a microscope.

  • Can ear mites live in my dog’s bedding or surroundings?

    Ear mites can survive off your dog for a variable amount of time. That’s why all bedding, brushes, and furniture that your dog comes into contact with should be treated, as well. Ask your veterinarian how best to treat your home.1

     

    References: 1. Mite infestations. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/diseases-of-the-pinna/mite-infestations. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Ear mites. Pets and Parasites website. Available at: https://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/ear-mites/. Accessed July 21, 2020.

  • Can my dog transmit ear mites to me?

    Although ear mites can easily travel from one pet to another, ear mites are generally not considered to be a risk to people.

  • How are ear mites treated?

    Ear mites can be successfully treated by medication. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the best ear mite treatment for your dog.

  • If only one of my pets has been diagnosed with ear mites, why should all the pets in my household be treated?

    Ear mites are very contagious, which is why all pets in your household (both dogs and cats) should be treated at the same time.

  • What are ear mites?

    Ear mites are tiny mites that live on the surface of the skin, usually in the ear canal. They are a common cause of disease and infection and are very contagious.

  • What problems do ear mites cause?

    Ear mites can cause intense itching and head shaking in your dog. Ears can become red and swollen and rashes or other skin disorders can occur on the skin around the ears.1,2

     

    References: 1. Mite infestations. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/diseases-of-the-pinna/mite-infestations. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Ear mites. Pets and Parasites website. Available at: https://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/ear-mites/. Accessed July 21, 2020.