Ear mites are small parasites related to spiders, which may infest the ear canal of mammals. Cats and dogs are frequently affected.
The lining of the auditory canal is irritated, reddened and swollen. The cause for this are mites. There is an increase in ear wax produced and the outer ear is crusty and takes on a brownish color. In early stages of the disease larger quantities of reddish to brownish ear wax can be noticed. In general the symptoms are similar to a common bacterial ear infection. The animal will start scratching its ears or rub its head against objects like carpets or the legs of a table. Often the dog will merely constantly shake its head. The infection usually only affects one ear but can also in some cases be transmitted to the other ear.
The mites are transferred by direct contact with an infested animal. Mainly, these are other dogs, but also cats, rabbits or hedgehogs can be carriers. Particularly often straying animals are infested by ear mites.
For eliminating mites the ear should at first be cleaned by a veterinarian from dirt and mites. Subsequently, medication must be applied in the ears for several days which completely kills the parasites.
As preventive measure it should be observed that the animal will be treated at least every three months with a preparation against skin parasites which also includes ear mites. In case of a disease any dogs, if possible all dogs that had contact with the patient should also be treated.