When your pet have been scratching their ears or shaking their head relentlessly, it may not be because they can’t get to the itch (Or maybe that’s the reason. I would go nuts if my fingers became stumps and couldn’t reach where the itch is.) but rather, it may be a case of ear mite infestation, dermatitis, fungal or bacterial infection. Imagine an itch that NEVER goes away. Today I’ll talk a little on the more common ear problem: Ear mite infestations and how you can get rid of it quickly.
Ear mites are biting insects that are almost naked to the human eye which lives on the bodies of animals, even humans, and feeds by sucking blood in the ear canal. They are most active and tends to multiply faster in warm and humid places especially when the immune system of the host is impaired. The result of the feeding would cause dark brown ear wax, severe itching and inflammation or redness of the ear. Left unchecked, it may lead to nasty ear infections.
How to test for ear mites
1. Smear some ear wax on a black surface and spot for white specks, the size of a pin head, moving around.
2. You can also try smearing some ear wax on a paper towel and apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on to it. If some of it smudges and turns reddish brown, it’s a sign of dried blood, indicating that ear mites are feeding.
Unfortunate, but it ain’t all that bad
What differs from animals and humans is that get ear mites infestations rather easily, especially if the ears are not kept dry or when they come in physical contact with other animals with ear mites. The worse part is that ear mites don’t go away by themselves, torturing your pets with constant itching and secondary infections.
However from personal experience, it’s a problem easily treated at the onset of spotting the symptoms.
So when you find that your pets ears are getting dirty and a tad red from inflammation, do try some of these tips to see if it clears up:
- Ear mites don’t just stay inside the ear. Hence you may discover that even though the ear might clear up after a few days of treatment, you’ll find that the redness and brown debris would sometimes soon find it’s way back. If that’s the case, you might want to try treating the rest of the body with an anti-parasitic spray or spot on treatment. Look for ingredients like moxidectin, selamectin or ivermectin, but if you already have flea and ticks spray at home, you can try that as well.
- Get a bottle of ear mite treatment or a.k.a ear canker drops for the shop. After cleaning your pet’s ears, apply it twice daily and the ear should clear up in 7-14 days. Some ear cleaning solution like Earriffic has properties to treat ear mites and they are a great compliment to ear canker drops.
- The next thing you should have in your house is a bottle of ear powder. Pet groomers use it to help them remove hairs inside dogs’ ears (which should be an important part of your weekly grooming schedule at home), but apart from that, ear powder keeps your pets’ ears dry, which prevents bacterial growth. Also, most ear powder contains boric acid which acts as an antiseptic and insecticide, working together to treat ear mite infestations. Use it after baths or daily when the ear drops has dried.
- If you have multiple pets at home, treat all of them, because ear mites spreads easily through physical contact.
When to seek medical attention
- If your pets’ ears shows no sign of improvement after 2 weeks.
- The condition worsens after 2 weeks.
- Green or yellow discharge/pus in the ear canal, a sign indicating a serious infection.
Be it bacterial infection or ear mite infestation it’s caused by excess moisture in the ear and poor immune system. As a preventive measure, always clean your pets’ ears with a ear cleaner after their bath and/or dry their ears thoroughly, especially floppy eared breeds. If they refuse to let you dry their ears with a hair dryer, use ear powder instead. It’s okay to apply liberally as they will shake off the excess.
If you like this article, why not share me share it? Also, please let me know if you have any questions about grooming, health, behavior that you may want me to answer.