Pet Ear Mites (Otodectes Cynotis) by Caitlin Donsberger, RVT

Written by Caitlin Donsberger, RVT

Otodectes cynotis are mites that commonly live in the ears of dogs and cats, but can also be found on other areas of the body.  They are mostly found on the tail and head regions as an animal will typically curl up while sleeping. Ear mites are spread by direct contact and feed on the debris and cells found within the ear canals. Usually ear mites are found bilaterally (in both ears).  Most of the time owners will bring their pet in due to scratching their ears or shaking their heads thinking it is an ear infection.  Depending on the severity of the mites it can cause bacterial infections inside the ears, aural hematomas (from constantly shaking their heads), head tilting, circling or convulsions.

Ear mites are diagnosed by taking an ear swab and placing the sample onto a microscope slide, staining it and viewing the sample under the microscope.  This can also help determine if there is a bacterial infection beginning.  Sometimes it is possible to see these mites using an otoscope or magnifying glass, but this can be difficult.

The average life cycle of an ear mite is 18-21 days.  Therefore the treatment is prolonged to ensure all of the eggs and adults are killed.  A thorough ear cleaning is done to remove all debris before any medication is started.  Then applying Advantage Multi to the back of the neck will help to get rid of the ear mites.  Depending if there is a bacterial infection the veterinarian may want to send additional medication home to help with the irritation (pain medication or ear medication).  A follow up exam and ear swab should be done one month later to confirm that the ear mites are gone or are dying off.

If you suspect your pet may have irritation in their ears, please contact our Brampton animal hospital as soon as possible. The team at North Town Veterinary Hospital is here to help!