Ear Mites (EM) or Otodectes cynotis are the parasitic insects that most commonly live in the ear canal and on the skin of cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. Among all the said animals EM are most commonly seen in the ear canals of the cat. The entire life cycle of these mites is on the body of the host animal although these mites are capable of living off the host body for a short period of time. The full life cycle from egg to an adult mite is 3 weeks.
The most common signs of this parasitic problem is itchy ears which manifest in constant head shaking , scratching the ears and formation of secondary lesions such as scabbed spots in the ear canal, areas of hair loss around the ears, abrasions and bleeding of the skin due to self trauma resulting from scratching.
Also, accumulation of dark color waxy debris in the ear canals is an important sign which is easily detected by the veterinarian.
EM are highly contagious among the host animal species and spread easily through direct contact between them. EM usually do not infest human skin or ears, however, if present on one of your pets, your environment may become infested with the mites (short period of time but in cycles).
The diagnosis is straight forward and usually is done with inspection of the ear canals and microscopic evaluation of the swabs taken.
The treatment should take at least 3 weeks to cover the entire life stage of the mites.
One of the most effective treatments available is topical application of Selamectin at a dose and frequency determined by the veterinarian.
Please, call us for an appointment and evaluation of your cat’s/dog’s ear canals should you notice your pet having any kind of discomfort with their ears.
Remember, we are her to help!
Dr. Dave Bonab