Have you ever seen your dog shaking and scratching its head more than normal? You must be curious why your dog is doing this. If you look closely, you will understand that an invisible insect known as a mite is the cause of this irritation. Gross right? All is not lost, this content should help. This post is all about how to know if your dog has ear mites and how to treat them.
These dog ear mites can cause extreme irritation, and your dog will remain uncomfortable. Ear mites are a common problem in dogs. Mites like to be the inhabitants of the ear because of the oil and wax in the dog’s ear canal.
The bad news is that dog ear mites are contagious, and if your pet has mites, they can also be transferred to your other pets. They can spread too quickly, but they are relatively easy to control.
If you want to know what dog ear mites are, how can they affect your dog? What is the treatment of dog ear mites, and what other diseases are caused by mites? Then you should read this article to the end.
What Are Dog Ear Mites?
Otodectes cynotis is one of the common ear mites in dogs. Otodectes cynotis is a Greek word that means “a beggar of the dog.” According to the American Veterinary Parasitology Association, this ear mite can also affect ferrets, foxes, and cats.
Dog ear mites are very small, but they can be very uncomfortable for dogs. If you inspect the dog’s ear, you will see that the infected dog has pinprick size white spots. Ear mites are classified in the arachnid class along with ticks and spiders.
Dog ear mites have eight legs and cannot be seen with the naked eye. To see them, you need a microscope.
The Life Cycle Of Dog Ear Mites
Dog ear mites can live for up to 2 months and reproduce continuously during this time. It usually takes 3 weeks for the mite to develop from egg to adult. There are a total of 5 stages of the ear mite life cycle.
The entire life cycle of ear mites took place in the host animal because ear mites can only live for a limited time in the outdoor environment.
How Will You Know That Your Dog Has Ear Mites?
Ear mites can cause an unpleasant and irritating sensation in dogs. If your dog suddenly started shaking his head or scratching his ears, mites can be the cause of this. At some point, the irritation can be so strong that dogs start scratching aggressively and causing cuts and crusts around the ear.
Another sign of ear mites is that you will see a crumbly dark color, blood-filled, and foul-smelling substances in your dog’s ear.
How Do Dogs Get Ear Mites?
Dogs generally get mites from other dogs or animals when they go outside for a walk. They are so contagious that if a dog can get ear mites, it will spread to entire pets in no time.
Dog ear mites travel from animal to animal when a dog shakes his head or when a dog lies on the ground. These can be transported from the loose hair of one dog to the other close by. So far, there is no research on how far a mite can travel.
Ear mites can spread so fast that if a dog has only one ear mite, it will develop into a full infestation in no time. A female mite can lay five eggs each day and within four days of hatching from these eggs offspring produced. These young mites are so hungry that they will start feeding on oil or wax in no time.
If your dog scratches his ears and has a history of contact with the dog or cat, it is a clear indication of ear mites. There are some other diseases that have similar signs like ear mites, so before starting treatment, it is better to make a differential diagnosis.
Basically, the diagnosis is made by observing the mite. In laboratories, a microscopic examination of the ear discharge is performed. At some point, the vet examines the pet’s ears with an otoscope.
If your dog’s ears are too inflamed, your vet will sedate your pet first, and then perform proper examination and treatment.
How Can Bad Ear Mites Damage The Dog Ears?
If your dog suffers from a severe case of ear mites, treat your dog immediately because, in long-lasting cases, dogs experience a complete loss of balance and hearing.
Another common and serious problem found in dogs is ear wounds that can occur as a result of an injury caused by aggressive scratching to eliminate itching. Dog’s hind claws are very powerful and can cause painful scratches, so you should clean wounds regularly.
Why Are Dogs At More Risk Of Getting Ear Mites?
Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors are at higher risk for ear mites. Dogs can also get it from cats and from those animals that have a compromised immune system. Dogs that are under stress are also at risk of developing ear mite infection.
If your dog suffers from ear mites, you should visit your vet immediately and request the best treatment for your dog. To do proper treatment, your vet will ask you to bring all pets for a proper check-up and to see if the infestation has been transferred from animal to animal or not.
After that, your vet will start to clean your dog’s ear and remove as many mites as possible. Chances are, you’ll have to spray an anti-parasitic spray on your dog’s ears. In some cases, if the infection is too deep, your vet may also prescribe some antibiotics.
It is not possible to prevent ear mites in dogs because they come from the outside environment, and dogs are very fond of outdoor activities. However, there are a few techniques you can follow to limit the problem.
If your pet has loose hair, it may carry parasites, so it’s best to bathe your puppy every few weeks to get rid of hanging mites. It is also recommended to disinfect the place where your dog lives to reduce the chances of reinfection. Also, clean your dog ears every month, and a trip to the vet for grooming will also lessen the discomfort.
Some vets agree that commercial products work very well for mites, but sometimes mite-suffering dogs have other problems that need treatment. Therefore, it is best to treat your puppy with natural treatment and let commercial products deal with other problems. Begin your dog’s treatment by cleaning his ears with a soothing solution.
If we talk about natural antiseptics, green tea is one of the best natural antiseptics. It is used to clean accumulated black/brown debris in the ear canal. Take some green tea leaves and put it in warm weather for about four to five minutes, and then strain. Let it cool to room temperature and use it daily for a month.
Natural oils can be used to treat earaches. The oils help control inflammation and remove debris from the ear. Oil works by suffocating mites. It has not yet been confirmed which type of oil will work best against mites, but most people recommend olive oil and almond oil.
Should You Treat With Natural Or Commercial Products?
If you are using a commercial product from the pet store for treatment, you should use it twice a week for at least three weeks. However, if you are using natural remedies for mite treatment, use it for a month because the mite egg will continue to hatch for a month, and there is more chance of reinfection.
Your vet will recommend steroids or antibiotics to calm inflammation or to treat bacterial infection. However, the technique for treating your dog is the same in both cases.
Change your clothes and wear old clothes before starting treatment because you are more likely to have stains of oil, tea, or any antiseptic solution on you when your dog shakes his head with irritation.
There are numerous supplies you will need during treatment, such as a clean cloth, an applicator, and treats. Commercial products are easy to use because they come in water bottles. For tea or oil, you can use a travel-size bath bottle or dropper for your convenience.
Keeping the clean cloth next to you will help clean up excess medicine if it spills around the treatment.
If you have a small puppy, you can place it on any counter or table next to your supplies, and for larger dogs, kneel down next to them. If you can get help from an extra pair of hands, it would come in handy to keep your puppy from moving.
Before starting treatment, pet your dog and speak softly to him. Start rubbing his ear and talk to him using words like “poor thing,” “poor baby,” this will help your dog understand that the experience will be unpleasant and that you want him to be patient. Now use your left hand to firmly grasp the pinna and expose the ear opening.
Do not allow your dog to shake his head and try to remove any debris if present before applying the medication because that waxy material will not allow the medicine to get into the ear mites. If you are using a natural treatment, first use a tea solution and then follow the process with oily medications.
Put a few drops of oil or solution on your dog’s ear. If you look at the anatomy of the dog’s ear, you will see that the “L” shaped ear canal, and it will move towards the center of the head. Don’t use anything to poke your dog’s ears.
Put a few drops of oil on them and let gravity move the liquid to its final destination. If you use something to poke your dog’s ears, it will damage the eardrum and hearing.
Begin to massage the base of the ear. It will help the fluid move inside the ear by loosening the debris. You will see that if your puppy does not have pain in the ears, he will like the massage and will lean on his hands with the feeling of enjoyment and tranquility because the oil will help calm the itching.
If your puppy starts to shake his head after pouring the medicine, then duck because by shaking his head, the debris will fly out of his ear. Wipe the visible part of the ear with the cloth and drip the oil again to remove all the remains.
In the end, reward your puppy with a treat for behaving well and start treatment on the other ear. Perform these treatments for a month, and at the end of the month, bathe your puppy to remove that wet head look.
Other diseases caused by mites
Mites can be the cause of many diseases in your dog. Some of the diseases that a mite can cause are
Mange is a condition caused by mites. Canine scabies is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei var canis mite. Also known as canine mange, it is one of the contagious parasites and is found worldwide in all types of canines.
Dogs are the best host for mites, but if a person or any other animal comes into contact with the infected animal, they will also experience an infestation. Mites spend their entire life cycle from 17 to 21 days with dogs. Mites will multiply by making tunnels and laying eggs in them.
Scabies can be easily spread from one animal to another. There is less chance of spreading the infestation through the bedding. The incubation period for mites varies from days to weeks. It depends entirely on the severity of the infestation, the health of the dog, and the number of mites that infect the dog.
Sign and Symptoms
Some of the dogs show no signs when infected with sarcoptic mites. Some dogs usually show intense signs of itching suddenly after infection. The itchy ear of the dog is probably due to the mite’s drooping sensitivity.
At the beginning of the infestation, the skin will erupt with small, solid bumps. The itch will start, and the dog will begin to bite and scratch to relieve the itch as a result of the surrounding area getting damaged and causing thick-crusted sores.
A secondary bacterial or yeast infection can develop on damaged skin. Sores that occur are first seen on the chest, abdomen, elbows, ears, and legs. If the sores are not treated properly, they will spread throughout the body.
Dogs that suffer from scabies over a long period of time can develop severe thickening of the skin, oily dandruff, crusting, wrinkling, and oozing sores. If your puppy suffers from all of these symptoms, he or she may even die.
Another type of scabies condition is known as “scabies incognito,” which means difficult to diagnose mange. If you are bathing your dog regularly and grooming his coat, mites are difficult to find on the dog’s body. Similarly, crusty and scaly signs are also removed by regular bathing.
Mange is diagnosed in dogs by doing a physical examination, collection of skin scraping, and by checking stool samples. In some cases, a blood test is done for the diagnosis of mange.
Mange is diagnosed in dogs by doing a physical exam, collecting by scraping the skin, and checking stool samples. In some cases, a blood test is performed to diagnose mange.
Sometimes mites are not found on the dog body, but if all the signs are suggesting about mites, then trail treatment is done. Manage is a highly contagious condition, and it can be spread by animals to animals and even between different species. You can discuss the condition with your vet to avoid contact with your dog.
Treatment of all animals that remain in contact with your dog should be started. Sometimes your vet will recommend clipping your dog hair.
In the first step of treatment, dirt and dust should be removed with a clean cloth dampened in antiseborrheic and medicated shampoo instead of applying an anti-mites solution to the skin. Lime sulfur is also used as an effective treatment in young animals.
A dog will require several dips before recovery. Oral and topical medication is also effective in many cases. Sometimes mange medications are used to treat the heartworm in dogs, so it is best to screen your dog for the parasite before treatment.
Walking dandruff, also known as Cheyletiellosis. It is caused by Cheyletiella yasguri mites in dogs. The term walking dandruff means that mites move on the dog’s skin. This mite generally remains in a specific host, but infection in other species is also possible.
It is a highly contagious disease found in kennels, catteries, and homes with multiple pets. If you were using insecticide medications regularly against fleas, the good news is that it also has side benefits against mites.
It is highly contagious and can also infect humans. Walking dandruff mites spend most of their lives in their host, but they can also spend 10 days in the environment.
Sign and Symptoms
Scaling of the skin begins along the back of your pet. Itching is the most frequent sign that appears due to walking dandruff. In some cases, pets do not show itchiness, but remain mite carriers and transmit it to other animals and humans.
Walking dandruff is diagnosed by examining animal hair and skin samples with the help of a microscope to detect the presence of mites. Eggs and mites are difficult to identify in animals that bathe too frequently.
In this condition, many vets recommend a topical or body-wide treatment with the help of an insecticide that can kill mites. Also, you need to keep your rugs, bedding, and other areas free of mites.
Thrombiculosis is basically an infestation or rash caused by the larval stage of the Trombiculidae family. Thrombiculsis is also known as chiggers. Nymphs and adults of thrombiculidae look like small spiders and live on decomposing material.
Basically, dogs contract the infestation by walking or running on the ground in suitable habitat. In its early stages, larvae attach it to the host and feed on the host and then leave when they become inflamed.
It is far to the east to identify them because they appear as orange-red, small oval dots and do not move. They are found in groups on the ears, feet, head, and belly.
Signs and Symptoms
The main signs that appear in dogs affected by thrombiculosis are bumps, hair loss, redness, and scabs. Dogs are also itchy and generally persist even after the larvae have left the animal.
It is difficult to diagnose these conditions. Diagnosis is made based on signs and history. Your veterinarian will perform a differential diagnosis to exclude other conditions that cause itching and allergies.
Samples may be taken from the skin scrap and examined under the microscope to confirm the presence of 6-legged mite larvae.
Consult your vet if your dog suffers from thrombiculosis. Treatment is usually the same as for other mite infections. But there is a slight difference in the medication used to kill this type of mite, and it is a little different from other medicines.
So, follow the treatment plan given by your vet. If the itching worsens and spreads, antibiotics are used to treat any secondary infections present in the bite wound.
Your pet can become infested again, so as prevention, keep your pet away from places known as a harbor to mites.
Dog ear mites are the eight-legged crawling insect that can cause a lot of discomfort to your dog. Diagnosing ear mites at the right time, along with the right treatment, will provide your dog with immense relief from irritation. Work with your vet and ask about preventive measures so you can save your pet from these itchy mites.
Kritter Kommunity Contributor
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