Ear mites, also known as otoacariasis, is a skin infection present in animals. In both cats and dogs, it’s normally brought about by Otodectes cynotis, a parasitic mite from the Epidermoptidae family. This parasite lives on the skin in the ear canal and takes advantage of the wax and epidermal waste there. Another closely related species, Psoroptes cuniculi, is the ear mite that attacks rabbits.
The most common and recognizable sign is ear scratching and head shaking. Scratching is so intense that it may cause skin lacerations around the ears. Another is ear discharge, mostly dark in colour, both waxy or dry and usually resembles coffee grounds.
Inflammation can also be present. Scratching can cause injuries in and around the ear, which results in swelling and redness.
Many of these symptoms may also be brought on by allergies and other types of infections, so this is why we always recommend a veterinary check-up for a more precise diagnosis and before undertaking any type of treatment.
Generally, pets will get infected with ear mites either through direct contact with other pets or their surroundings, this means multi-pet homes will need to treat all animals sharing the same space. Do take into account that these parasites are not limited to one species; they can be spread among both dogs and cats.
Adult mites will live for about two months and continuously reproduce the entire time. Once an adult mite lays eggs, it will take them around four days to hatch and more or less three weeks to grow into adulthood.
There are prescription medications that veterinarians offer and are extremely effective when treating otoacariasis. It’s essential that you strictly follow your vet’s treatment guidelines if you want a swift recovery for your pet. Your vet may also recommend ear cleaning to help eliminate some discharge and lessen the soreness and irritation brought by the mites.
Fortunately, humans are not likely to be affected by ear mites. In extremely uncommon cases, people with pets infected these parasites can be susceptible and present skin rashes.
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