Recently my dog ended up getting ear mites, and I must admit, I had no idea that she had them. I watched her as she kept scratching at her ear and made this grunting noise of hers, and when I looked in her ear I saw that there was a bunch of reddish/brownish ear wax and debris in there.
I thought that maybe she was rough-housing too much with one of our friends dog’s and ended up getting a scratch in her ear that she just kept scratching at. It almost looked like dried up blood to be honest, but in fact, she had ear mites. I never had ear mites in my dog’s and so I didn’t understand the symptoms she was going through.
For those of you out there that have been in this same situation, I’m going to tell you Atlas’ story so that you can hopefully treat your dog’s as well with some inexpensive over the counter (OTC) medicine.
What Are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are simply very small mites that take up nesting in your dog’s ear or ears. They don’t feed on blood or anything like fleas and ticks, but they do feed on the ear wax that your dog produces. Once the mites start feeding on the wax, it disrupts the internal workings of the dog’s ear and causes itching and discomfort to their ear. The stuff I saw in her ear was a combination of blood, wax and the mites themselves in that stuff.
They’re very small and usually can only be seen with an otoscope from a vet clinic, but since I started looking into what this reddish/brown stuff was in her ear, I knew right away that she had the mites.
Are Mites Contagious?
I found out through extensive research that ear mites are spread very easily from pet to pet and even in some rare cases a human can get them as well. Kind of scary to think my dog can give me mites, but there it is.
I also found out that they spread especially easily to cats in the house, so I just treated the whole fur family when I noticed she had them. I really didn’t want them spreading to any other part of the family, so in order to be sure I was eradicating them, I made sure to get lots of OTC medicine.
Other Symptoms Besides Yucky Wax.
I didn’t let Atlas get worse, of course as soon as I noticed this gross wax, I looked into it and bought the medicine she needed, but if you wait on treating these mites, the gross stuff they leave behind can block their ear and cause them to go deaf eventually.
Infections can also occur from the constant scratching and blockage in the canal, so be sure you treat as soon as possible.
How Long To Treat And What To Use.
I noticed a huge difference within just a couple of days of treatment. I bought the solution 3 nights ago, gave her her first dose that night, then again the next morning and repeated this twice a day for only 3 days. I’ve noticed that the debris is much less already, but I do think I need to treat for the life cycle of the mites.
In looking into it, the life cycle is a month between being fully grown mites and laying eggs to hatching. So, a month of treatment it is.
I bought a basic ear mite medication from Pet Smart, nothing special really, but there are at home remedies as well. Some oils mentioned were olive oil and almond oil. I do know that my dog’s ear is bothering her very badly, so I may look into the medications that have aloe in them to help soothe her ear.
I attempted to clean it out with an ear cleaning solution since her ear seems to be giving her a lot of discomfort, even after the treatment, but she really didn’t want me squirting the cleaning solution in there either. I noticed that her ear looks 100 times better, but it’s still red compared to her other ear and slightly more warm as well.
The cleaning solution seemed to help calm the redness, but it just shows that the mites can cause their ear pain within just days of seeing that they have them.
In The End, Vet Help May Be Best.
We may not always know when something is wrong with our dog’s, so paying attention to their behavior is important to their health. I must admit, I knew she was bothered by her ear a few days prior to learning of the mites, but when I took her to the vet for lumps on her stomach and the vet said the bill would be about $300 for lap work, her ear bothering her fled my mind.
Thankfully, the lumps were simply swollen lymphs, which I’ll write about that soon as well, but now her ear is the main concern on my mind, though the OTC is working, so they’ll be gone in a matter of weeks.
Had I not been able to find what was truly wrong with her ear, yes, I would take her to the vet in a heartbeat. But now that I know what’s wrong and how to treat it, I’m doing it at home instead. Do I recommend this to my readers? No – seek a vet’s advice and not mine.
This article is not serving as advice over a vet’s on treatment of mites or anything else, it’s simply a personal experience that I’m having right now with my dog that I wanted my readers to be able to relate to their dog’s symptoms if they’re experiencing the same. I will note that if her ear doesn’t look 100% better in another 2 weeks, then a vet visit is a must. I would imagine that the skin color and the temperature of her ear should go back to normal fairly quickly. If not, then that would cause more concern to me and I wouldn’t hesitate.
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Hopefully this article has helped any dog owners out there and if so, feel free to share this with others so they can know as well!