How to Treat Ear Mites – A Vet Approved Approach

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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ear mites

One of the potential complications of caring for your pet is ensuring they get appropriate treatment for the various conditions that may eventually arise. Ear mites (otodectescynotis mites) are parasitic insect infestations that can impact the health of your pet. Today, we will help you learn how to treat ear mites in the event that they arise, or if you suspect your pet has them.

Detecting Ear Mites

The first thing you should always do when you suspect your pet has a problem is contact our vet. We will ensure you take the correct course of action to improve your pet’s health. In this case, you may be given instructions on how to detect ear mites at home.

First, you will likely observe behavioral changes in your pet that indicate a problem in and around the ear area. These symptoms can look like:

  • Excessive scratching around the ears, neck, and head.
  • Excessive head shaking
  • Dark, waxy discharge from the ear
  • Unusual, and often foul, odor from the ear

If any of these are present, take the next step. Gently extract a chunk of the dark waxy substance and place it on a dark background. Get a magnifying glass (or reading glasses perhaps) and look for tiny white specks that are moving around. These are ear mites. Even if you don’t see them in your sample, they may still be in the ear in another area. If you are unsure, visit the vet.

Treating Ear Mites

The most effective approach for treating ear mites is actively collaborating with our veterinarian when treating ear mites. However, if you are unable to get to the vet immediately, an over-the-counter solution may be available for you.

Some of the medications available can treat ear mites over the course of ten to thirty days. It is vitally important that you thoroughly read the label. Medications meant for cats can hurt a dog and vice versa. Also, make sure never to miss a treatment. If you miss one or two, you may not effectively treat the issue, and the mites will still come back shortly after.

At Care Animal Hospital, we will administer a topical medication that will kill the mites in one treatment. This is only available via a veterinary prescription and not available over the counter.

Important Information To Note

When your pet is infested with ear mites, other pets are at risk as well. Ear mites are highly contagious and can spread easily from pet to pet. Make sure to treat all pets at the same time making sure to treat each animal according to their species (cats, rabbits, dogs, etc. all require a different medication).

​​​​​​​Clean the entire environment where your pets have been. This is to ensure repeat exposure will not occur. Dispose of cleaning materials like vacuum bags, sponges, and other cleaning utensils to ensure cross-contamination does not occur.

Now that you have an overview of how to treat ear mites you can rest at ease that you are equipped for the task. Even so, it cannot be stressed enough that directly consulting our veterinarian or clinic is the first line of defense when it comes to all things pet health related. If you think your pet has ear mites, call Care Animal Hospital today at 951-676-4690.