Ear mites in German Shepherds are not uncommon. Even with their ears perked up, German Shepherds can still pick up these pesky microscopic mites.
Ear mites are scientifically known as Otodectes Cynotis mites. They can be found in different animals such as ferrets, cats, and dogs. Ear mite infestation can be very contagious but the good news is it is fairly easy to treat. However, despite being treatable, complications may still occur especially if the infested dog’s body has an immune hypersensitivity reaction to it, and this can lead to severe irritation of the ear.
These tiny mites live in the surface of the skin lining of the ear canal and feed on the host’s skin. The bites of these mites cause the dog’s ears to get itchy, irritated, and inflamed. Severe casescan lead to bacterial infections and worse, deafness.
Symptoms of Ear Mites in German Shepherds
- Intense itching of the ears,
- Excessive head shakes,
- Reddish and inflamed ears,
- Reddish to brownish ear discharge,
- Foul smelling ear discharge.
Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear mites and infections but that doesn’t mean German Shepherds cannot get them. Because ear mites are really, really tiny, their bites can be very, very itchy as well and this leads to host dog to shake his head and scratch his ears excessively. The excessive shaking and scratching may also lead to the rupture of the blood vessels found in the ears and even ear hematoma.
Treatment for Ear Mites
Before recommending a treatment, your veterinarian will first do a test to confirm if your German Shepherd’s ear problem is caused by ear mites or other issues. The veterinarian will get a sample of the ear wax and look at it under the microscope.If ear mites are seen, your veterinarian will then prescribe medical treatment for ear mites.
Medical Treatment of Ear Mites in Dogs
Cleaning the ears
When treating ear mites and infections, cleaning the ears is an important thing to do. This helps remove build-up of dirt, wax, and discharge, and curb infections. There are many ear cleaners designed for this in the market.
Killing the mites
There are medications containing pyrethrins and thiabendazole as the active ingredients. These treatments are arguably the best way to get rid of ear mites.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe medications or spot-on products that contain Ivermectin, Fipronil (ex. Frontline), and Selamectin (ex. Revolution). Another spot-on treatment that is known to kill ear mites is Advocate.
In some cases – especially severe ones – veterinarians may prescribe oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to manage the swelling and infection of the ears
Ear mite drops
There are also many ear drops in the market that are designed to relieve ear itching and the other symptoms associated with ear mites.
Preventing Ear Mites
Cleaning your German Shepherd’s ears weekly can help prevent infestation of ear mites in your German Shepherd. Keeping your German Shepherd healthy as well as keeping his worming/heartworm preventatives up to date keep the ear mites away.