Ear Mites

These troublesome pests are unpleasant for pet and owner alike.

Pets Most Often Affected

Ear mites affect both dogs and cats of any age, although they seem to be involved more frequently in feline ear infections. However, they can still be a problem for dogs and can be spread from animal to animal and even from dogs to cats. Ear mites feed on the lining of the ear and cause inflammation, redness and discomfort. Dogs may rub or scratch their ears and you may even notice mild hair loss or scratches at the base of the ears. Dogs and cats may shake their heads and scratch so vigorously due to the irritation the mites cause that it results in ruptured blood vessels within the ear flap. A bloodsac or otheamatoma forms within the ear flap which then needs surgical intervention. Bacterial infections may also result from the damage to the ears caused by the mites. Topical treatment is also highly effective against the parasite that causes ear mites (Otodectes cynotis). Some animals may harbour mites, but have no clinical signs of infestation, therefore, all animals within a household should be treated, not just the visibly affected dog.

What You Should Know

Ear mites are highly contagious and pass easily from pet to pet. Otodectes cynotis, the ear mite of dogs, accounts for 5–10 percent of otitis externa cases in dogs. Otitis externa, an inflammation of the external ear, results in frequent head shaking and pawing, an unpleasant odour, and discharge.
Ear mites are easily transmitted among animals and are spread by direct contact. These oval mites are fairly large, and look like coffee grounds in the dog’s ear. These troublesome pests do not burrow in the ear; rather, they live on the ear’s surface.


  • Ear infection
  • Intense scratching or head shaking
  • Red-brown or waxy ear discharge
  • Itching skin around ears, head, neck
  • Thick crust around outer ear
  • Possible crust and scales on neck, rump, and tail

What You Can Do to Help

Your veterinarian can recommend preventive treatment.

Disclaimer: Zoetis takes no responsibility for any claims that may arise from information contained in this information sheet. Individual situations may vary from location to location and it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before any management or treatment decisions are implemented.

Vrywaring: Zoetis neem geen verantwoordelikheid vir enige eise wat mag voortspruit uit inligting vervat in hierdie inligtingsdokument. Individuele situasies varieer van plek tot plek en dit word voorgestel dat u eers u veearts kontak alvorens enige bestuurs- of behandelingsbesluite geïmplementeer word.