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Ear Mites

Ear Mites

Herbal remedies to help eliminate ear mites and mite infestation in dogs and cats. 

Nutrition plays a major role in bone, teeth, skin and coat health and is the result of a well-functioning, synchronized effort by the immune systems and tissues and organs in the body. Plant botanicals support the process of free radical scavenging, the skin’s ability to withstand the effects of environmental exposure to toxins, antigens and microorganisms by maintaining proper liver, adrenal, immune, and intestinal function; protect the skin and connective tissues in the joints, reduce inflammation in the joints, acidify urine, improve immune function and build resistance to allergies.

Ear mites are very common crab-like parasites that infest both dogs and cats. Ear mites can live anywhere on your pet’s body, so it’s important to treat your pet’s entire body, not just the infested ear. Ear mites are also often one of the primary causes of ear infections and inflammation and a leading cause of vet visits.

Ear mites concentrate on the surface of the skin of the ear canals, head, neck and even the bodies of pets. They feed on the tissue debris and secretions caused by mite waste products and resemble coffee grounds. The mites cause your pet to itch profusely and much discomfort, and ear mite symptoms usually involves frequent scratching of the ear and shaking of the head it is something that should not be ignored.

They are extremely contagious and frequently spread to other pets within the household. Untreated, ear mites can cause serious ear inflammation and infection and can even cause permanent damage to the ear canal or ear drum, resulting in hearing loss. Ear mites can affect pets of any age, but occur most commonly in young animals. 

Ear mites are caused by a tiny mite called Otodectes cynotis that lives on the surface of the skin on the ear canal and on the debris of tissue and secretions from the ear canal. As these ear mites feed off and move about the ear canal, severe irritation and inflammation is caused.

It can also affect the other areas of the body including the tail, neck and back. They are highly contagious and can easily spread to other pets within the household. Mother animals often transmit ear mites to their young. Mites seldom infest humans.

Many pet owners mistake ear mite infestations for ear infections and embark on a lengthy treatment program using over-the-counter treatments to no avail.

Common symptoms of ear mites include:

Shaking their heads

Scratching the ears

Abnormal odor from the ears

Buildup of earwax

Thick, crusty brownish to black discharge that resembles coffee granules

Fresh blood in the ear canals

Dried blood in the ear canals

Black or dark brown discharge from the ears (this may resemble ground coffee beans)

Sores or hair loss around the ear

Herbal Remedies:

Herbal remedies that are used to clean ears and help to rid of ear mites; to treat ear infections; to soothe itchy ears and the ear passages; to maintain and support ear health; to act as a natural deterrent for fleas, mites and other parasites; to guard against ear infections after a mite infestation; to treat skin irritations and to support healthy skin.

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Garlic is used by many herbal practitioners as a natural deterrent for fleas, mites and other parasites. In addition, garlic acts as a natural antibiotic which can help guard against ear infections after a mite infestation. Vulgare (Life’s An Itch!) is also very beneficial when treating pets for mites and has been used for centuries as a natural pesticide and insect repellant.

Herbs such as Neem and Lemongrass have also shown excellent natural repellant properties, and both have the ability to treat skin irritations and support healthy skin.

Other suggestions:

Clean inside your pet’s ears regularly using cotton wool or soft gauze and some cleaning solution

Dry your pet’s ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming

Check your pet’s ears for foreign objects

Start cleaning your puppy or kitten’s ears at an early so that they can get used to the idea of having their ears handled

Have excess hair plucked out of your pet’s ear flaps by your vet or a grooming service

Insert a few drops of olive oil or vegetable oil into the ear using an eye dropper to smother the mites

Feed your pet a natural, well balanced diet that is free of colorants and preservatives to boost his immune system

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of ear mites is based on the symptoms as a thorough examination of the ear. Your veterinarian will use an otoscope (lighted) that magnifies and draws the ear mites out of the ear wax. A microscopic examination of ear discharge may also have to be performed if the ear mites are not visible on the otoscopic examination.

It is important to treat ear mites immediately as they are a major cause of ear infection. A number of commercial products containing insecticide such as pyrethrin are available in the form of dips, sprays and shampoos and have proven to be quite effective in treating ear mites that live all over the body, but may be very hard on the body, particularly kittens, puppies as well as senior and immune compromised animals. 

Your vet will first clean out your pet’s ears and may also prescribe ear preparations as well as topical medications such as Fipronil (Frontline), selamectin (Revolution) or Ivermectin to treat the skin. Treatment may need to be used for two to four weeks for all the mites to be killed.

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