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Has your dog been scratching his ears a lot lately? It might be time to take a closer look at his ears, and consider the possibility that he has ear mites.
So what are ear mites anyways?
Well, ear mites are microscopic parasites that survive off of the skin cells inside your dog's ears. Their tentacles can irritate your dog's ear canal, and if left untreated, can cause serious bacterial and fungal infections.
Ear mites are extremely contagious.
If you have more than one dog in your home, or your dog frequently comes in contact with other dogs, he may be at risk. Ear mites have a tendency to frequently meander away from your dog's ear and onto his coat. Eventually, the ear mites will find their way into another dog's ear, if given the opportunity. Puppies are at an even greater risk because ear mites can easily transfer from the mother's ear to her young. Hence, ear mites are responsible for the majority of ear infections in puppies and young dogs.
So what are the symptoms of ear mites?
If you happen to notice your dog scratching his ear excessively, shaking his head, or constantly rubbing his ear against a wall or various other objects, then it's time to check his ears. Tell tale signs of ear mites include a waxy, dark colored discharge and ears that are dark, crusty and emit an unusual odor.
Uh oh, my dog has all these symptoms! What should I do?
Relax, this is a common problem with dogs. First things first, take your dog to the vet at your earliest convenience. It is crucial that you seek early treatment in order to prevent a more serious ear infection later. Once the diagnosis of ear mites has been established, your vet will prescribe a treatment for you to continue at home. This usually involves cleaning out the debris with an insecticidal solution that will wipe out the parasites. All in all, the ear mite treatment should be completed in about three weeks if all goes well.
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