Ear Mites

Ear Mites (Otodectes cynotis) are very common ectoparasites which can cause inflammation of the external ear canal. 

Mites can be transmitted very easily between dogs and cats so all pets in a home should be treated irrespective of presence of clinical signs.

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  • Some pets may not show any signs but still remain a source of re-infestation for other pets. Other pets have intense pruritis (itchiness) and/or massive amounts of ear discharge. The discharge is usually brown and waxy, and often described to look like coffee grounds. One or both ears may be affected. Secondary infections with bacteria and yeasts may occur which can cause even more severe clinical signs.

    In very heavy infestations mites may leave the ear canal and migrate to other parts of the body.

  • The presence of the brown waxy discharge is often suggestive of infestation. Your vet may also see mites by examining the external ear canal with an otoscope or by looking at an ear swab under a microscope.

    ear mites from ear swab

  • Your vet may prescribe a topical ointment to apply to the ears one to two times daily. Alternatively there are monthly treatments which may be applied to the skin or given orally.

    In contact pets should always be treated irrespective of whether they are showing clinical signs. Ask your veterinary surgeon for the option which best suits your needs.

  • Prevention of ear mites and clinical signs is best achieved by treating all pets with a flea product which also is licensed to treat ear mites.