In an ongoing series on the four types of mange in dogs today we will look at Otodectic Mange. Also referred to as ear mites, the creature’s scientific name is Otodectes cynotis.Easily the most overdiagnosed condition in the history of animalkind, ear mites are the actual cause of ear problems in only a small percentage of pets presented for that problem to our hospital.
Generally speaking, ear mites are a condition of young dogs living in outdoor conditions and cats of all ages living indoors and outdoors. Like any rule, there are exceptions, but if you have an adult indoor dog with ear problems he probably has a problem other than ear mites.
Ear mites cause pets problems because they irritate the ears, leading to increased production of cerumen (ear wax), which then clogs the ear canal and holds moisture. Scratching can be incredibly intense, which can then lead to the patient making sores on the ears or in the ear canals. The worst-case scenario is production of auricular hematoma, a condition which results from trauma to the pinna (ear flap) leading to blood and fluid collection in the pinna. Auricular hematoma requires surgical repair in most cases.
Like the other four types of mange in dogs, Otodectic Mange can be treated in a variety of ways. Regardless of the medication used, the ears must be cleaned first so as to remove debris for adequate medication penetration. Failure to clean ears regularly is one of the most common causes of ear mite treatment failure.
Another common cause of failure is not treating the entire animal. Despite their name, ear mites don’t live only in the ears. They also like to reside on the tip of the pinna and the base of the tail. Use of Revolution or a insecticidal dip or flea spray that will kill ear mites is crucial for success, lest the mites simply reinfest the ears.
Yet another common cause of treatment failure is using over-the-counter (OTC) ear mite treatments. They can work well if treatment is preceded with cleaning, and if one recognizes that they aren’t licensed to contain ingredients that kill the pre-adult mites. That means you must treat for a time period, then re-treat at a later date when egg and pre-adult stages have matured, allowing the medication to work again.
We recommend prescription medications to avoid that complication. They contain an ingredient that will take care of the pre-adult stages of ear mites.
Regardless of what form of treatment your pet’s doctor prescribes, clean the ears first, then follow his instructions exactly, then continue to clean your pet’s ears at least weekly, and after every bath.
To read about Demodicosis (red mange), click here.
To read about Sarcoptic mange, click here.
To read about Cheyletiella (Walking Dandruff), click here.