Ear mites are often seen in puppies and kittens. They are not a very serious problem and most of time they are just an annoyance. Ear mites are very small and almost impossible to see without special equipment. They are readily transmissible from dog to dog or dog to cat. There are reports of humans getting skin rashes as a result of infestation but it happens very rarely.

Why is it important to know that your dog to cat has ear mites?

Well, if you just purchased a kitten or pup with ear mites there is a good possibility that the other pets you may have (dogs and cats) might get them too.

What kind of damage do they cause?

Ear mites live predominantly in the ear canal but may come out onto the face. They are not overly adventurous and do not leave their host readily. Ear mites feed on ear wax, skin debris and oils and make dogs and cats scratch their ears. In severe cases ears can get completely blocked and your pet has to be sedated to have its ears cleaned. Sometime scratch marks on face and ears can also be seen.

What do I do next?

Most cases are treated successfully without too much fuss. The majority of pets need a combination of ear cleaner and medicated drops that are used topically. Ears are cleaned out first before medicated drops are used then after 30 minutes to 1 hour the medicate drops are put into the ears. It is crucial to put a decent amount of drops in the ears; a drop or two will not be sufficient. Prolonged treatment for up to three weeks may be needed since topical drugs will not kill ear mite eggs.

The medications are reasonably cheap and very effective. After 1 week of treatment your pet will need a recheck to make sure the treatment is working.

Is there a way of protecting my pet in future from ear mites?

There are products called top spots which can be used in prevention and treatment of ear mites. Advocate and some other products will eliminate ear mites rapidly but ears still have to be cleaned with an ear cleaner.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Vets4Pets practice.