Ear Mites

Pet Care Can Treat Ear Mites

Pets that shake their heads frequently or have a rash or scratches in the ear could mean that they are suffering from an ear mite infestation. While ear mites are a common problem in domesticated animals, they can cause severe medical issues if left untreated. Your pet needs veterinary care from Valley Veterinary Hospital of Helena if they have an infestation. Here’s what you need to know about ear mites.  


What Are Ear Mites?  

Otodectes cynotis is a mite that preys on dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets. While it’s generally found inside the ear canal, it can also thrive on the skin. They are highly contagious and are spread through direct contact with another infected animal. Essential pet care needs to be taken to keep pets away from an animal known to have ear mites. Mites are hard to see, but may appear as a white speck moving against a dark background.   

Ear Mite’s Life Cycle

It takes a mite three weeks to develop from egg to adult, after going through five stages. An adult ear mite lives for approximately two months, while continually reproducing. The entire life cycle usually

Signs of an Ear Mite Infestation  

While ear mites are commonly the cause of an ear infection, other ear conditions can cause similar symptoms. Signs of infestation may vary and can include combinations of:  

  • A dark, crusty, or waxy discharge from the ear 
  • A crusted rash near or in the ear 
  • Ear irritation resulting in head-shaking or scratching at the ears 
  • Hair loss in areas of the body due to trauma caused by scratching or excessive grooming  
  • A hematoma (large blood blister) in the ear, typically occurs from scratching at the ears and rupturing small blood vessels between the skin and ear cartilage   

How Is It Diagnosed?  

Diagnosis is first made by identifying and observing a mite, which can be done by using an otoscope to visually examine the pet’s ears, or by a microscopic investigation of ear discharge. If your pet has sore ears, he or she may need to be sedated to allow the ears to be examined.

Ear Mite Infestation Treatment

After making a diagnosis, your veterinarian will advise you about which medications are best suited for your animal. Because some medicine can’t penetrate the eggs or pupae, treatment is aimed at eradicating the adult and larval forms.

Does Your Pet Have Ear Mites? Take Your Furry Friend to Our Animal Hospital

If you suspect your pet has ear mites, call our veterinarians at Valley Veterinary Hospital of Helena at (406) 442-0188 today to schedule an appointment for an examination and treatment.