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Treatment for Ear Mites in Dogs

Updated on July 9, 2012

Help your Dog to Get rid of Ear Mites

Ear Mites In Dogs

There are a number of mites that may reside in your pet’s ear, with the commonly occurring ones being otodectes cynotis—microscopic, 8-legged parasites feeding on the oils and wax in a dog’s ear canal. The life cycle of each ear mite is 3-weeks and they can cause considerable amount of itching.

Ear mites cause intense infection and inflammation of the inner and outer ear canal, and if not treated, can result in more severe skin/ear infections. Ear mite infection produces a typical dark discharge; in certain instances, the ear canal of a dog can become totally blocked by dark, crusty debris.

Ear Mite Causes

Extremely contagious, ear mites commonly occur in outdoor cats, which then infect canines. They are usually transmitted from one pet to the other through minimal contact inside or outside the home.

Ear Mite Symptoms

· Excessive scratching & rubbing of ears , neck and head

· Constant head shaking

  • Thick black or red-brown waxy secretion
  • Bad odor
  • Intense Inflammation
  • Scratches and abrasions behind the ears
  • Crusting on the rump, tail and neck
  • Blockage of ear canal with a waxy, coffee ground-like secretion

Ear Mite Complications

Apart from causing skin infections, parasitic ear mites can lead to rupture of blood vessels inside your dog’s ear flap brought on by its intense scratching & violent shaking of its head. This will lead to a swollen and painful ear flap or hematoma, requiring surgery.


If you suspect your dog of having ear mite infection, it’s important to take it to a veterinarian for correct diagnosis.

Your dog will undergo a complete physical examination, including routine lab tests like complete blood count, chemical blood profile, urinalysis & an electrolyte panel to rule out the possibility of your dog having other diseases.

The vet will perform a comprehensive dermatologic exam. Skin scrapings will be taken for lab analysis. The vet will microscopically study an ear discharge sample to confirm it’s ear mite infection.

Ear Mite Treatment:

  • The vet may prescribe medications to be directly applied in the dog’s ear or on its skin.
  • Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to cure infections.
  • After cleaning, use a vet-prescribed miticide ear preparation to medicate the dog’s ear. Most preparations have thiabendazole and pyrethrins. Nolvamite, Mitox, Cerumite, Tresaderm and Acarex are commonly used ones.
  • In the course of treatment, mites leave the ear canals and take up temporary residence elsewhere on your dog’s body, resulting in itching and scratching. Your dog should be treated every week for 4 weeks with a shampoo/flea powder that’s pyrethrin-based.
  • Revolution is a product that controls fleas and works equally well against ear mites & is recommended for treating and preventing them. For severe ear mite infections, Ivermectin could be used.
  • If the dog’s ears are infected or there is an accumulation of cellular debris, gentle cleaning using cotton & a dog ear cleaner is needed. Sedation may be required based on the temperament of the dog and the degree of accumulation.
  • As soon as treatments commence, your dog will begin to get relief but remember to complete the whole treatment cycle. If treatment is abruptly stopped, your dog will be prone to fresh mite reinfestation.

Ear Mite Prevention

Regular ear cleaning monthly once to minimize wax build-up can control ear mite presence. During cleaning, check for any kind of indications of ear mite infection.

Ensure your pet’s bedding is thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas where your pet spends a good deal of time if it has just recovered from ear mite infection.

Ensure your dog stays away from other animals that reveal ear mite symptoms.

Thoroughly dry your pet's ears using a towel or cotton ball after swimming/bathing or let it dry itself out in the sun. However, refrain from using a cotton swab to clean its year if you detect signs of discharge/infection because this will only push the infection further into its ear canal.

Examine your other household pets for ear mite infection.


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    • debsmultz profile image

      debra 4 years ago from nebraska

      I have a story actually.

      My dog Sam was with me during my travels and I though okay everything is going to be fine, he's not going to catch anything. I was terribly mistaken, the animals I met in India were apparently infected with mites and know one knew how to get rid of it, I mean it's India know one really cared about the animals. As I am an animal protector and lover, I went to the vet and the shelters their where some of the infected animals were kept to heal or something. know one was using any kind of natural treatment, there was just stabbing the cats and dogs with needles filled with god knows what. As I was in India because of the animal I searches for a natural alternative to this and a cheap alternative. I found many, but they were all so expensive. I told them about it and they said that the owners didn't care how much they cost (?) and I didnt care either because the love of my life my Dog, was also diagnosed with mites and Demodex, I haven't known about it for months so It was a severe infection. I ordered this natural Chinese product that kills the mites but didn't get rid of the infection and puss. I looked deeper and I found a product by Ovante and decided to try it. And boy thank God I found that, my love was suffering so much and this American Ovante cream/medicine really fought those pests and week by week got rid of the infection. I gave it to the other individuals as a tester and they went crazy! I was so happy that my baby Sam was okay again (good as new). I am telling this story because It seriously changed my life and how i see things, seeing those poor animals suffer like that...

    • debsmultz profile image

      debra 4 years ago from nebraska

      uhh even hearing about this... makes me want to cure all the poor little dogs