One of the major factors often forgotten when getting a dog as a pet is the maintenance and care it will need, especially when it comes to their health. Many dogs are genetically prone to developing certain diseases, and other common issues such as ear infections, which may be adopted along the way. Because of this, it is important to know your dog, and do lots of research before adopting.
Despite the many injuries and illnesses that may be passed down genetically, there are many issues affecting a dog’s health that are developed over time. These issues include but are not limited to numerous infections, irritations and sometimes even pests such as fleas. One of the most common issues that many dogs face is ear mites. In order to protect your pup from this problem, it is important to understand what these ear mites are, and where they come from.
What are ear mites?
Otherwise scientifically known as otodectes cynotis mites, ear mites are a common parasite found in many pets such as cats and dogs, that feed on the wax created by the ear, and cause discomfort and irritation for your pup. These little eight legged pests can also cause infections by contaminating both the internal and external canal, leading to more serious issues in both the ear and skin. Ear mites are not easily seen by the naked eye, which is why regular trips to the veterinarian are a must.
Ear mites can easily be passed from one pet to another very quickly and easily, which increases the likelihood of your dog being infected. Fortunately, these pests only have a three week lifespan, which reduces the risk of your dog being infected if you identify the problem early, or put preventative measures in place. Cats and dogs are the two most common animals prone to getting ear mites and than developing ear infections, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms to look for in your pet.
Signs and symptoms of ear mites in your pup
There are a number of signs and symptoms that you can look for directly to tell if your pup may have contracted ear mites or developed an ear infection caused by ear mites. Many dogs tend to become easily irritated, and can mostly be found scratching at the neck, ears and head. They may also be found excessively shaking their head on a consistent basis, which can result in a hematoma of the ear developing. This condition causes a blood vessel to break, resulting in blood being pulled to the ear.
Other signs and symptoms of ear mites in your pup include an odor or strong scent coming from the ear, and a secretion of a brown or black waxy substance. In this case, it is best to take your dog straight to the veterinarian to be examined and treated for both the ear mites and an ear infection. Some dogs may also have coffee ground like bumps and particles lining the ear canal.
How to treat ear mites in dogs
The first step to treating ear mites or any ear infection is to take your dog directly to a veterinarian for a thorough examination and medicine. At first, the veterinarian should do a full physical examination of the dog’s body to see if they have any other diseases or issues, and than he/she should perform a dermatological exam of your pup. Once these are complete, your vet may examine the ear canals and begin to draw conclusions based on test results and the behaviour of your pup during the ear examination.
While it is important to allow a veterinarian to take a look at your pup and give medical advice, there are treatments and preventative measures that can be taken by your pup especially if the ear mite condition is just developing. Medication can be given, designed to rid your dog of the parasites, but because this condition can be passed from pet to pet, it is important to ensure that all the pets in your household are also given this medication. It’s also important to ensure that the household is thoroughly cleaned to prevent mites from living outside of the pet’s ear.
Preventing your dog from getting ear mites
One of the most overlooked factors when it comes to ear mites is the preventative measures that can be put in place to reduce the likelihood of your dog ever developing this condition. These include but are not limited to:
- Consistent cleaning of the ears – Most parasites need a moist and warm environment to live and breed, which makes a dog’s ear the perfect space. In order to disrupt the environment and reduce the likelihood of mites ever dwelling there, ensure you clean your dog’s ear on a consistent basis, preferably weekly or biweekly. To do this, simply use a damp cloth to wipe around the dog’s ear, making sure to get rid of any excessive dust or buildup that is present. Never clean inside the ear canal, as this is dangerous and may cause irritation to your pup.
- Professional cleaning may also be necessary – If you are unsatisfied or unable to clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis, it would be ideal to bring them to a dog cleaner to get a through cleanse. They may also use professional canine cleaning equipment to ensure that around the dog’s sensitive organs such as the ear and eye are kept cleaned. You may do this procedure as needed, depending on how frequently your dog is cleaned.
- Keep their environment parasite free – The best way to prevent your dog from contracting ear mites is to prevent them from meeting the parasites in the first place. The best way to do this is to ensure that their environment is kept clean on a regular basis. This may be difficult, especially if your pup plays with other animals in the neighbourhood, but a good clean environment will help to reduce the chance of your dog having ear mites.
Ear mites are a common problem that can be overlooked as a rite of passage for dogs, but they do not have to suffer as long as the right mechanisms are put in place for their safety. Now that you know the harm ear mites will cause, put steps in place to make sure your pup doesn’t become a statistic.