What are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are small parasites that affect most pets and animals. They are commonly found in the ear drum of dogs, cats, ferrets and even rabbits. Ear mites are also known as Otodectes cyanotis which is the latin word meaning “picker of the ear”.
Ear mites look like tiny crabs and reside within the ear canals and head of pets. They remain in the ear canal and surface of the pet’s skin, and mites feed on both the debris and fluids of the animal’s tissue. Ear mites do not suck on the pet’s blood nor do they pierce the animal’s skin. Thousands of mites can enter and live in your animal’s ear at one period at a time making it extremely uncomfortable and annoying for your pet.
Ear mites do not go deep down in an animal’s ear, rather they tend to live in the ear canal area. Usually transmitted from animal to animal, research has proven that most dogs, cats and fox are carriers of the ear mites. If left untreated, ear mites can eventually be detrimental to your pet. Not only can an untreated ear mite case cause secondary bacteria and yeast infections, but in worst case scenarios these parasites can also rupture your animal’s ear drum which may lead up to your pet either experiencing deafness or seizures. Although you may be constantly around your pet, an ear mites infestation isn’t an infection a human being can get, nor can they pass it on to a pet.
What Happens When Mites get Inside your Pet’s Ear?
Ear mites crawl into a pet’s ear and they are on the hunt for ear wax or cerumen. The mites then irritate the ear to the point that the lining would produce serum, which is actually a form of clear blood. When the serum mixes with the cerumen and the ear mite’s fluid, they form a black or brown substance. The substance is so thick, it sometimes can close of your pet’s ear canal. The result of this blockage can eventually cause serious bacterial or fungal infections.
Signs and Symptoms of Ear Mites
There are many ways in which one can tell if an animal is infected with ear mites. One of the first signs of ear mites is your pet shaking his head, gesturing as if he is trying to get the ear mites out. Puppies and kittens usually shake their heads when they are itching from the mites and they also scratch around their ears as well. It is unfortunate that the more the animal moves to try to get rid of the itch, the more the itch intensifies.
In the case of cats, they react differently when they are infested with mites. Although some cats can itch a lot when there is a small amount of mites present in their ears, others have may have built up a resistance against it. Some cats do not react to ear mite attacks, even if large numbers of mites are present. Cats showing signs of being affected by the ear mites are experiencing a reaction to the saliva from the mites. But eventually even those cats that are sensitive to the mites can usually build up immunity overtime. Ear mites of course realize this and that’s why they choose to attack the kittens or younger cats than they do the older ones.
When your pets are infested badly by ear mites, their ear canals will eventually bleed and it would be easy for the pet owner to spot fresh or dried blood inside the ear canal. The dried blood looks brown and crusty and is caused by a build up of serum, evident on the lining of the animal’s ear. In addition, if there are small white dots in the buildup, this is confirmation that ear mites exist in your animal’s ear.
Also, keep in mind the symptoms of ear mites bear a very close resemblance to that of other ear diseases in your pet. A yeast infection might also produce a black discharge on the ear’s lining as well. So it may be imperative that you check with your vet to confirm an ear mite infestation.
The Life Cycle of Ear Mites
The entire life cycle of an ear mite can be spent on your animal. The life cycle of an ear mite commences when the adult mites mate and lay eggs, usually on the ear canals of the animal, or its surrounding fur. As an adult, the female mites can lay close to five eggs per day. In four days time the eggs hatch and larvae form. The larvae then feed for four days before resting for a day, and then molt to become nymphs. There are two stages of nymphs. The nymphs feed for five days, rest and then molt into the adult stage. By the time the mites get to adult stage, they appear white in color and are visible to the naked eye.
How are Ear Mites Treated?
There are a few precautionary measures that one must take in order treat your pet’s skin ravaged by ear mites. It is important to fully complete an treatment regimen, even if signs of ear mites are no longer present, usually about a month. This time period would represent the three week life cycle of the ear mites. Failure to complete the full course can cause the nymphs to develop into adulthood and later multiply. This is a method known as interrupting the ear mite’s cycle.
If you have multiple pets, the best thing to do when you discover that one of them has developed an ear mite infection, is check, and treat them all. As stated before, ear mites are never confined to the animal’s ear. As a matter of fact it isn’t unusual for them to be found on the neck and other parts of your animal. To treat your pet’s skin, other than their ears, you should use the Medicated Pet Wash on your pet.
Do-It-Yourself Treatment from PetsBestRx.com
There are a few safe things that you can do to alleviate your pet’s skin ravaged by ear mites. Pets’BestRx™ products are available and can treat and eradicate symptoms associated with pet ear mite problems. Ear mites can also be prevented by making regular checks inside of your pet’s ear to see if there is anything unusual in it. If you think they are infected, visit our Pets’BestRx™ Ear Mites page for effective treatment options.