What are ear mites?
Ear mite infestations can also affect rabbits and some other pets. All pets in the household that could get ear mites should be treated for ear mites if one pet gets ear mites. Otherwise, the ear mite infestation may be passed back and forth among the household pets.
Even though ear mites live in the ear canals of cats and dogs, ear mites can also be present in the home in areas where the pets sleep or spend time. The other pets in the household can acquire ear mites from the environment or through direct contact.
Dogs and cats with ear mites will often scratched their ears and shake their heads. Many cats do not show any signs of an ear mite infestation, but the cat owner may notice black or dark brown discharge in the cat's ears.
Ear mites can be diagnosed by a veterinarian by the characteristics of the discharge from the infected ear. The ear discharge caused by ear mites is often described as resembling coffee grounds. The ear mites themselves are microscopic and burrow into the skin inside the pet's ear, so they cannot be easily seen.
Many pet owners mistakenly think that cleaning the dog's or cat's ears is sufficient for treating an ear mite infection. However, a medication is necessary to kill the ear mites. The veterinarian may provide a topical solution to treat the current ear mite infestation and prevent future infestation.
After the medication has been administered for the prescribed amount of time which is usually seven to ten days, the veterinarian may want to examine the pet to ensure that the ear mites have been successfully eradicated. Many veterinarians schedule another examination a few weeks after treatment to check for re-infestation.
Some dogs and cats sustained minor cuts on their ears due to their scratching. These small cuts may be treated with antibiotic ointment.
Having ear mites can lead to skin disease and ear infections. Extreme cases of ear mite infestation can cause complications such as a ruptured eardrum.