Ear mites are incredibly small parasitic insects that you can't even see with the naked eye. In spite of their size, they can be quite a serious problem for dogs, leading to intense ear pain and itching. If your dog develops an ear mite infestation, they must see the vet. Keep reading to learn the signs of ear mites and also how vets treat them.

Signs of Ear Mites

Generally, the most obvious sign of ear mites is itchy, irritated ears. The dog may start rubbing their ears on furniture and even on the carpet. They may scratch their ears, seemingly incessantly, with their hind paws. 

If you look at your dog's ears closely, you may notice that they are quite red and find hair falling off in patches. Some dogs develop crusty, scabby skin around the edges of their ears. It may look like the dog has scraped their ear on something, but actually, these scabs are the result of the dog itching and mite bites. As such, if you do not address an ear mite infection promptly, the dog may develop a secondary bacterial ear infection. This can lead to excessive discharge, which means you may see white or yellow pus inside the ear.

Overall, ear mites will not go away on their own, so you need to take your dog to the vet if your pet displays any of the signs above.

Treating Ear Mites

A vet can easily confirm whether your dog has ear mites by taking a swab of your pet's ear and looking at it under a microscope. With magnification, the mites are easy to see. As such, if your dog does have ear mites, the vet will begin by applying a liquid or cream that contains ivermectin, a medication that kills ear mites and other parasites. They will also give you some of this product to take home, and they'll show you how to put it in your dog's ears. You may be told to administer another treatment a week or two later, and sometimes a third treatment after that.

If your dog has a secondary bacterial infection, the vet will also prescribe antibiotics to help their body fight off the bacteria. They may also give your dog a soothing or numbing cream to ease the itching in their ears. Some vets prescribe steroids for this purpose.

Ear mites are small, but they are a big problem. Reach out to your vet immediately if you think your dog may be affected by these parasites. For more information, contact a clinic like Johnstown Veterinary Associates.