Ear mites are tiny parasites that live on the surface of the skin in the ear canal. These parasites are commonly diagnosed in the ear canal of cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and foxes.
Ear mites feed by piercing the skin and sucking body fluid. This causes a hypersensitivity reaction, resulting in severe scratching or rubbing of the ears.
Ear mites are highly contagious parasites. In a multipet household, if one pet is infected, all the other animals should carefully be examined. Often, all or most of the animals in a multipet household are infected.
In an infected animal, the severity of clinical signs (scratching and rubbing) does not always reflect the number of ear mites present. Some animals are highly infected and show few clinical symptoms while other animals are only slightly infected and show severe symptoms.
Animals with ear mites usually have a brown, crusty, granular material in the ear canal. In severe infections, this material can easily be seen. In most instances however, diagnosis of ear mites is made by otoscopic exam of the ear canal.
Ear mites are primarily found in the ear canal of animals. On occasion, they crawl to other parts of the body. The mites are often responsible for allergic reactions occurring on the base of the tail and the back of the body.
Ear mites are highly resistant to medication. Long term treatment plus regular otoscopic examinations of the ears, are often necessary to achieve a cure.
Your veterinarian can recommend a treatment that is specific for your pet.