Otodectes cynotis

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live out their life cycle inside the ear canal.
They are common especially in long eared dogs,
and can cause severe irritation and itchiness of the ears.
The most common ear mite of cats and dogs is Otodectes cynotis,
and a infestation with ear mites is called "otodectic mange."

Primary Causes

Ear mites live in the ear canal, where they feed on skin debris.
Their presence causes inflammation,
and can also lead to secondary ear infections.
Eggs are laid in the ear, and it takes about 3 weeks for eggs to hatch
and develop into adult mites that can reproduce.
While ear mites are generally found in the ears,
they can also wander out onto the body,
causing irritation and itchiness of the skin as well although this is rare.

Risk Factors

As mentioned above, long eared dogs are more prone
to this affliction but all dogs and cats can get them
Ear mites are spread mostly by direct contact with
another animal that has ear mites
(they are commonly seen in outdoor cats).
They are especially common in young and older animals.

Signs and Symptoms

Constant head shaking
Repeated scratching at the ears
Dark waxy or crusty discharge from the ears
(looks a bit like coffee grounds)
Sometimes there will be scratching
or irritation of other parts of body
Foul odor from ear canal

Diagnosis of Ear Mites

The diagnosis of ear mites is made after the mites
are found in a sample of the ear discharge under a microscope.
Sometimes the mites can even be seen as little white specks
moving in the ear
(A magnifying glass is used examine the ear).
Confirming the presence of the mites is necessary
to distinguish ear mites from other common ear infections.

Treating Ear Mites

There are several alternatives including over the counter treatments for treating ear mites,
but in this instance we recommend you see a veterinarian
who will recommend a treatment protocol for your pet.
Over the counter medications are often less effective
or require extended treatment times compared to medications
prescribed by your vet, especially the newer
medications that require a single application to be effective.

First, a thorough cleaning of the ears can help clear the discharge
(Refer to our article "Ear Cleaning Solution")
to help calm the irritation and remove some of the mites.
Then your vet will prescribe an appropriate treatment .
All pets in the home should be treated at the same time,
even if they are not showing symptoms.

Human Animals & Earmites
Ear mites do not survive for long on humans so
do not cause long term infections in people.
Rarely, however, they will transiently hang out on humans,
and may cause a short-lived but very itchy rash.

John A Sampson I
K9 Training
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International
Checking dogs ear for mites
Ear Mites In Dogs
Common ear mite in dogs
Possible infection of ear mites
A look at ear mites
Otodectes cynotis (ear mite)
ear mite examined
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