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Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs and Cats

Symptoms of pets with ear mites
  • Head shaking
  • Scratches on the ear & head
  • Odor
  • Intense itching (pruritus)
  • Dark ear discharge

Cat and dog ear mites usually cause intense itching. Inside the ear you'll notice a dark red-brown or black, crusty and crumbly discharge. Dog ear mites or cat ear mites will cause your pet to shake their head and scratch their ears. The scratching can become so vigorous that your pet scratches their eyes and the first thing you notice is a tearing, squinting, painful eye. As the pet scratches, bacteria and yeast are rubbed into the skin and your pet develops secondary bacterial and yeast infections. The ear discharge will become stinky and full of pus.

How are pets diagnosed with ear mites?

Ear mites in cats and ear mites in dogs are diagnosed by taking a sample of the discharge in the ear and examining it under the microscope. Ear mites and their eggs are easily seen under low power magnification. Under higher power magnification, bacteria and yeast are visible.

Pet owners should not diagnose ear mite infection without their veterinarian's help. If you mistakenly believe that ear mites are present when the problem is bacterial or fungal, you will be using a medication on your pet that will not clear up the infection. Instead, the wrong medication may make the problem worse.