Ear mites are external parasites that can infect dogs, cats and in some cases, humans. Otodectes cynotis is the most common mite that can infect pets and can cause a condition called otodectic mange - a persistent and contagious disease of the skin that causes inflammation, itching and loss of hair in dogs, cats, and other carnivores.
The otodectes cynotis mite can live its complete life cycle in the ear of a dog, or on the skin at times, as it feeds on the epidural wastes of the host. These mites can be large enough to be seen by the naked eye, and they are almost always easily visible under the magnifying glass. To examine and assess whether your dog has ear mites, scrape some wax from the ear and examine it closely.
It takes about 3 weeks for a mite egg to develop into an adult. Adult mites are very mobile and can be fairly contagious. They can travel from one pet to another and back again. The presence of mites in dogs can be determined by certain symptoms that an infected dog is likely to show. These symptoms include excessive shaking of the head, itching and the presence of a blackish waxy messy substance in the ear canals. Some dogs scratch at their ears and rub their face to such an extent that they cause bleeding that can lead to painful sores.
Dog ear mites and cat ear mites also cause dark brown or black debris to accumulate in the ears. Secondary infection can follow an ear mite infection since the probability of contacting a bacteria or yeast infection increases. The presence of such infections also complicates the process of diagnosis.
If you are an informed person and do diagnose the likely presence of ear mites in your dog, don’t use over the counter products. At times, these products can actually increase the discomfort of your pet. Incorrect administration of medicines can also lead to further complications.
Since there are various classifications of ear infections that a dog can suffer from, it is best to have your dog examined by a veterinarian. You should also evaluate home remedies for dog ear mites and provide comfort for your dog before the infection worsens.