Ear mites, or otoacariasis, is an animal skin disease. In dogs and cats, it is most commonly caused by Otodectes cynotis, a parasitic mite of the Epidermoptidae family that lives on the skin and feeds on epidermal waste and earwax. As its name implies, you'll normally find it in the ear canal. In rabbits, ear mites are caused by a closely related species, Psoroptes cuniculi.
Several of these symptoms can also result from other ear infections or allergies, so the best course of action is always to have your pet examined by your vet to get a proper diagnosis.
Pets will usually catch ear mites from direct physical contact with other animals or from the environment, so you'll need to treat all animals in a multi-pet household. It's also important to remember that ear mites are not species-specific; dogs can spread ear mites to cats and vice versa.
Once ear mite eggs are laid it takes them about 4 days to hatch and approximately 3 weeks total to reach the adult stage. Adults can live for 2 months, and during that time they will be constantly reproducing.
Prescription products offered through your veterinarian are very effective at treating ear mites. It is important to always follow the veterinarian’s treatment recommendations so your pet can heal quickly. Your vet may also recommend cleaning your pet's ears to help remove some of the discharge, which in turn helps reduce the irritation associated with mites.
Luckily, humans are highly unlikely to be infected by these parasites. On very rare occasions, however, some sensitive individuals may develop skin rashes if their pet is affected by ear mites.
We hope this article has proved informative! Please contact the team at Wellesley if you have any further questions or concerns about ear mites in pets. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment, please contact us at 416-966-1830.
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