What are Mites?
Mites are arthropods that live naturally on dogs and cats alike, however they can cause a problem to the animal in large enough quantities. There’s many different species of mites that can affect a range of animals and prefer a range of conditions. A common species of mites for dogs and cats is otidectes cynotis, one of the more typical species of ear mites. Despite their name they can actually live anywhere on your pets body and can be the cause of a range of symptoms. If you believe your pet has ear mites you should take them to the vets to be checked over for mites – you should also bring all your pets as if one pet has them it’s likely that they all do. If left untreated it can eventually result in permanent ear damage and even deafness.
How are Mites Transmitted?
They’re highly contagious and are transmitted by direct contact from infected pets or from the outdoors in general. Mites can also be picked up from bedding, grooming equipment and even toys. Anywhere your pet sleeps and roams should be thoroughly cleaned and treated to help decrease the likeliness of your pet from getting mites.
What are the symptoms of Ear Mites?
Some bacterial infections can mimic the symptoms of ear mites, so it’s best to visit your vet to get an accurate diagnosis rather than self-diagnosing. The symptoms of Ear Mites in both cats and dogs are similar to one another and can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hair loss and dermatitis
- Strong odor
- Scratches or scabs near ear
- Inflammation of the ear
- Black or brown waxy secretion
- Excessive scratching and rubbing of ears
- Head shaking
- Obstruction of ear canal with coffee ground-like debris
How do you prevent Mites?
Ear mites live by eating the debris in your pets ears and the dirt in their fur. Keeping your pets ear clean from any debris by using cotton and a pet-specific ear cleaner (dog ear cleaner, cat ear cleaner) can help decrease the likelihood of an ear mite living there. Also regularly cleaning/grooming your pet with clean grooming equipment and cleaning all of their bedding and toys regularly will help prevent ear mites from moving in as general uncleanliness is a common cause of ear mites.
As different species of mites live off different things (i.e. blood, dust, dirt, etc.) the symptoms, transmission and prevention listed in this blog cannot be applied to all kinds of mites. If you believe your pet is infected with mites then please consult your local vet to get the best advice for the species of mite your pet may have.