There are different species of mites that can infest dogs. Those that inhabit the ear canals are some of the most common. Canine ear mites, creatures that look like tiny crabs, are highly contagious. If one dog in the household has them, then chances are any other will soon be affected.
Stray animals can harbor ear mites. If your pet comes in close contact with one of them, then he can be infected. Any dog can be affected, but they usually cause problems for younger canines since their immune systems aren’t that strong yet.
Ear mites in dogs cause them to shake their heads and scratch at their ears in a vain attempt to dislodge the parasites. A black discharge may also come out of the ear canal, and there will be an excessive amount of earwax produced also. You may even smell an unfamiliar odor if you smell your dog’s ears.
These creatures typically setup shop in the ear canals, but they can also inhabit other areas. If they spread to other areas, then your dog will start itching in those areas as well. Canine ear mites need to be treated in a timely manner. If not, your dog may sustain damage to the ear drums or canals, possibly leaving him deaf in the affected ear.
Shaking of the head or itchy ears isn’t always caused by dog ear mites. Sometimes, a bacterial infection will be the underlying cause. Therefore, the veterinarian will need to determine exactly what is causing your dog’s symptoms. If there really is a mite infestation, then a look with an otoscope will detect their presence. The discharge can also be examined beneath a microscope in order to make a definitive diagnosis.
Your vet can prescribe medication to get rid of canine ear mites relatively easily. First of all though, any accumulation of earwax or debris in the ear canal will need to be cleaned out. Then, the medication can be applied right in the affected ear. If the creatures have spread to the skin, then topical medications will need to be used.
It is common for bacterial infections to occur along with a case of dog ear mites. Your pet may need to take a course of antibiotics to get rid of one. Inflammation in the ear canal can be a concern also, but it can be dealt with using anti-inflammatory medications.
As mentioned earlier, ear mites in dogs are highly contagious. If you have multiple dogs in your household, then you likely need to get them all treated just in case. The parasites can even cause problems for other small animals like cats.