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All About Ear Mites
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Ear mites are tiny microscopic parasites that resemble ticks. They can barely be seen with the naked eye and are usually found when the vet examines your pet's earwax with a microscope. Ear mites can cause severe itch and they produce a black discharge in the ears.

Ear mites live off the wax and secretions of your pet's skin. It takes about three weeks for them to develop and mature into adult mites. And they can survive upwards of two months, living most of their lives in the ear canal. Although some will migrate outward on to the face and neck area of your pet.

Ear mites can be transmitted from pet to pet through direct contact. If your pet has developed a case of ear mites, she most likely got them from another pet that she came in contact with.

Although they are very irritating, ear mites normally cause only local irritation problems. So an infested pet will normally shake his head, scratch his ears, and dig at his ears. If the mites have migrated out to the skin, your pet may scratch and dig at his face.

The good news about ear mites is that there are many treatments available to get rid of them. Some medications require pet owners to use them for three weeks, while others require only ten days. There are even some single dose treatments for ear mites. Whichever treatment you and your veterinarian decide is best, make sure you use it correctly. Also remember that, if you have multiple pets, you will need to treat them all to make sure you get rid of the ear mites for good.

In instances where the treatment doesn't seem to work, consider the following steps:
1. Make sure your pet truly has ear mites, and not another infection with similar symptoms, such as a yeast or bacterial infection.
2. Make sure all the wax is removed from your pet's ears. Ear mites can survive in the ear wax if it is not removed.
3. Be sure to treat all the pets in your home at the same time. Although you may clear the infection in one pet, if another pet is infested, the cured pet could easily become re-infested.
4. Speak with your vet to consider trying a different kind of treatment.

Has your pet ever been affected by ear mites? What symptoms did he/ she show? How did you address the infestation? Share your experience with the Community.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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