Ear Mites


Ear Mites

Ear mites are highly contagious parasites that live inside and around ear canals. The dog ear mite belongs to the Psoroptidae family, which is a group of parasitic mites that live on the surface of the skin rather than burrowing into it, as some types of mites do.

Their scientific name is Otodectes cynotis. They tend to be less than half of a millimeter long and can be seen best under a microscope.

These mites affect various species, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and occasionally livestock.

Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs:

Ear mites cause an intense itch. The most common symptoms of a dog ear mite infection include:

  • Scratching and rubbing at the ears
  • Shaking the head
  • Dark discharge from the ears
  • Hair loss, skin lesions, and secondary skin infections, which can develop around the ears, head, and neck from all the scratching and rubbing.

Bacterial and yeast ear infections can look like ear mite infestations.
If you suspect something is up with your dog’s ears, contact your veterinarian for an exam.

Causes of Ear Mites in Dogs

Dogs get ear mites by being around other animals that are infested with these parasites. To understand how dogs get ear mites, it’s important to understand the mite life cycle. Adult mites lay eggs that mature into larvae, grow through two stages of nymphs, and then become adults. It takes about three weeks for an egg to become a full-grown ear mite. Adult mites can live for approximately two months. The mites feed on your dog’s ear and skin surface debris, which causes inflammation and irritation. The mite is transmitted from one animal to another through physical contact.

Because ear mites are so contagious, you must treat all susceptible animals in your home simultaneously to eliminate them, even if just one pet is diagnosed.

Making a diagnosis allows for appropriate medication for treatment.
Using the wrong medication can be dangerous and/or cause discomfort to your pet—plus, it’s a waste of time and money. And if
your dog’s eardrum is ruptured, only certain medications can be used, which is why seeing the vet is oh-so-important.

For an official diagnosis, your veterinarian will typically look in your dog’s ears with an otoscope and take an ear swab to look for both mite eggs and adult mites under a microscope. Your vet may also run an ear cytology to rule out secondary or concurrent bacterial or yeast infections. Sometimes a skin scrape will also reveal the mite.


Medication for ear mites can include:

  • A topical product for inside the ear
  • A topical product applied to your dog’s skin and absorbed throughout their body
  • An oral pill
  • Injections

Most dogs make a relatively quick, uneventful recovery from ear mites, although some dogs might have an ongoing battle with the pesky mites. Veterinarians may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that a dog’s ears are back to normal. If they’re not, the vet will provide additional treatments.

Source: English & French Bulldog Rescue SA


Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.