Wednesday, 9th March 2011
John Owens graduated from the Veterinary College U.C.D. in 1997. He, along with his wife Susan, recently opened Ani-Pets veterinary clinic in Tramore, which is dedicated to the full time care of all companion animals, including exotic pets. He has a special interest in preventative medicine and nutrition. with John D Owens M.V.B. veterinary surgeon. Riverstown Business Park, Tramore Ph 051 393630 Email: anipetsvetclinicatgmail.com
What are ear mites?
Ear mites are tiny parasites which resemble microscopic ticks and can infest the ear canal of cats and dogs. Their presence in the ear is very irritating to the ear canal, causing vigorous scratching and head shaking. This can lead to secondary bacterial and/or yeast infections, and the possibility of physical damage to the ear. The ear mite is properly called Otodectes cynotis, and is the most common cause of ear infection (otitis) in cats and especially kittens. It also causes problems in dogs, but less commonly.
Ear mites are very contagious, and are easily spread by physical contact, e.g. from a mother animal to her pups or kittens, or between pets within the same household. With advanced infestations, there is usually a thick, black, crusty material resembling coffee grounds which builds up inside the ear. Ear mites feed off this material, which is made up of wax, tissue debris and dried blood. Untreated ear mite infestation can severely damage the ear canals and eardrum and can cause chronically irritated ears or even permanent hearing loss,
It is important to stress that humans cannot catch ear mites from pets. Unlike fleas, as I referred to last week, mites don't survive long off pets so treatment of the house with insecticidal sprays is not necessary to break their life cycle. Ear mite infestations often require veterinary attention and can be difficult to treat successfully. The first step of treatment is a thorough veterinary cleaning of the ears to remove as much debris, and mites, from the area as possible. The breed variation between dogs ears can contribute to accumulation of ear wax and tissue debris, e.g. Cocker Spaniels and Bassett hounds have long, hanging ear flaps, which can make them more prone to ear problems. Once the ear canals are clean, your vet may prescribe medication to be applied once or twice daily. Some cases may need daily treatment for 3-4 weeks before all the mites are eliminated, as the life cycle of the Otodectes mite takes 21 days to complete.
Topical treatments are available from your vet that are simply applied to the back of the pets neck and can be used to treat infestation as well as prevent it. Thorough ear cleaning can still be required to aid successful resolution and relieve irritation and distress to the pet. Severe cases may need another ear cleaning and treatment a month after application.
Because ear mites are so contagious, all pets within the same house will need simultaneous treatment if one pet becomes infested.
A final point - if your pet has inflamed, itchy ears with a discharge, it is not always caused by ear mites, and a veterinary diagnosis is still needed so that appropriate treatment can take place.
Letters to the Editor
- Editorialread more »
Google AlertWhen a company which has it's European Headquarters here in Ireland is called 'evil' and 'immoral' by M.P.s in The House of Commons you tend to sit up and take notice. The particular company that was being referred to was Google and the reason it had enraged M.P.s in London was because even though it has a big operation there and conducts a lot of business there it pays no corporate tax. It does this by having all of its financial transactions finished here in Ireland. And the company here is …
We're delighted to announce the launch of the new-look Waterford Today website. Tell us what new features you would like to see added?
Total votes: 0 Refresh results