Whenever you see your dog scratching its ears excessively or shaking its head violently from side to side, it’s quite possible that he has been affected by Otodectes cynotis mites, commonly known as ear mites. This is a mild parasitic infection, but if left untreated, may increase the poor canine’s agony considerably. This would particularly be in a case where the dog is immune hypersensitivity reactive and which may result in acute irritation in its external ear. Causes of Ear Mites This is actually a type of mange and is commonly seen in puppies and younger dogs. However, this condition may affect dogs of all ages also. This is why you need to pay attention to your dog and if there is something wrong, you need to go the vet. Like mange, it’s highly contagious and passes frequently from a parent to a newborn or between animals belonging to different species, particularly cats spending most of their time outdoors, as well. The terrific news is that humans are not affected by this mite. If left untreated, the mite spreads to the body’s other parts as well. Symptoms A dogs suffering from ear mite infection typically scratches its ears excessively while also shaking its head. This intense scratching leads to hairs being pulled out also. Another notable symptom is the formation of an aural hematoma – a blood-filled cyst-like lesion – inside the ear due to such violent head shaking. The hematoma forms due to broken blood vessels inside the ear. Excessive scratching can also lead to severe damage to the aural canals or tympanic membrane. The initial itching starts with the head, ears and neck, spreading to other parts of the body. Black or reddish-brown and foul smelling crusts are seen in the external ear as also coffee-colored bumps in the aural canal in certain cases. Scratches and abrasions are also seen on the back of ears. This may be accompanied by scaling and crusting on the rump, neck, and tail. This is not good! This is like having to pay too many taxes or too much money for some food since the minimum wage law was increased. No one wants to see an animal in misery. Thankfully there are treatments for this malady. Diagnosis & Treatment When ear mite infection is suspected, you need to consult your veterinarian immediately. Based on clinical examination, your dog’ health history and lab tests including blood profile, blood count, urine and electrolyte analysis, he will suggest treatment. Skin scrapings and ear swabs may also have to be lab tested to correctly identify the category of mites, while an otoscopic investigation may also have to be done to check the aural canals, where mites are known to build colonies or nests. The treatment is usually done with anti-mite medication and because of the disease’s contagious nature, all other animals belonging to the household need to be treated also. The house too, needs to be disinfected thoroughly. The infected dog’s affected ear needs to be cleaned thoroughly using an appropriate ear cleaner for at least 7 to 10 days, followed by repeat treatment after two weeks. All anti-mite lotions should also be applied all over the dog’s body to eliminate ectopic mites. In sum, the prognosis is said to be good for all patients of ear mite disease. This is largely due to the effective medication available in the market. A month after the therapy begins, schedule a follow-up with your veterinarian to perform a thorough physical examination again and if need be, swab the dog’s ears once again. This is enjoyable to hear unlike watching Meet the Parents II and III which was just horrendous.