Ear Mites in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson goes over a common condition seen in pets, ear mites! Find out what signs to look out for that may indicate your dog has them and what the general treatment options are for ear mites in dogs.

Otodectic Mange

Does your dog have otodectic mange? Not sure what that is? Otodectic mange is the technical term for an infestation of ear mites in dogs, those caused by a mite known as Otodectes cynotis. Otodectic means that something relates to a mite of the genus Otodectes and mange is a word for a disorder caused by mites.

Should you, as your dog's owner, be afraid of catching these mites from your pup too? Well, let's learn a bit about this condition, its signs, and treatments and find out in the process!

A Bit About Otodectic Mange

Again, otodectic mange is caused by a mite known as Otodectes cynotis. This mite can actually affect plenty of other animals, including cats, foxes, and ferrets. These ear mites are very contagious between animals! This is important to remember for later.

But should you be worried, as a person? Well, technically, Otodectes cynotis is zoonotic. That is to say, these mites can be passed on from an animal and cause a problem in a person. That being said, this isn't a common occurrence, and the infestations are usually temporary in people and might not require any treatment. But you should always see a doctor just in case.


Regardless, though, you'd want to avoid being infested by disgusting mites, right? In that case, it's important to spot the potential signs of ear mites in dogs and get your pet treated right away!

Some of the potential signs of otodectic mange may appear alone or in any combination of the following, depending on circumstances:

  • Head shaking.
  • Pruritus, or itching of the ear or area around the ear.
  • A hematoma, or pocket of blood, in the ear.
  • Red ears.
  • Scratches by the entrance to the ear canal.
  • Tender ears, namely obvious when they are touched.
  • A dark and waxy discharge in the ears. It may look like coffee grounds.
  • Hair loss, crusting, redness, and/or pimple-like bumps around the area of the ear.
  • Circling. As in, the dog moves around in a circle.
  • A twisting of the neck.

In some cases, it is possible that the animal will not have any obvious signs of the presence of ear mites. Again, keep that in mind for the next section.


It's important that you always consult a veterinarian prior to treating ear mites on your own. That's because an ear mite infestation might lead to the rupture of the animal's ear drum. In this instance, if the wrong medication is poured into the dog's ear, the pain will be unbearable, and the dog may permanently lose its hearing. That's why a veterinarian will check to make sure the ear drum is intact prior to prescribing or using any medication.

That being said, treatment of otodectic mange consists of several possible options, depending on exactly what the veterinarian finds:

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