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Wait…. Is That Coffee??

Categories: Cats, Dogs

Does your pet ever shake their head and scratch their ears incessantly? Do their ears look like they’re full of coffee grounds or crusty scabs? Is there a strong smell coming from the ears? If you answered yes to any of those questions, your loved one may be suffering from ear mites.

Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canal of dogs and cats; they feed off of the wax and oils found inside the ear. Outdoor cats and rabbits are at a higher risk of contracting them and, since they spread through direct contact, may bring them home to infest your dog as well. Unfortunately, dogs in a cat-less homes are not out of the woods. They can still get them from meeting other dogs while out and about.

For most owners, the head shaking or scratching of the ears is what tips them off that something is not right. It’s usually then that they will investigate a little further and notice the scabs or dark, coffee ground-looking substance in their pets’ ears.

Once your furry friend is brought in to see us at Clearbrook Animal Hospital, we will do an ear swab to determine if it is simply an ear infection or if it is, in fact, ear mites. A swab of the inner ear will be taken and placed on a slide to be viewed under a microscope; the mites are very small and to the naked eye, the swab doesn’t look like much of anything. Under the microscope, however, those little guys will be motoring. The video below is from an extreme case we saw here at Clearbrook Animal Hospital last month.


If diagnosed with ear mites, the veterinarian will prescribe drops to be put into the ear once a day to help kill off the infestation.  It’s important to do a follow up ear swab once the medicine is finished to be sure all mites are gone.

As with any parasite, prevention is always best. Preventing ear mites saves your pet a lot of discomfort and helps your wallet stay full. Revolution is product that helps prevent the infestation of ear mites and also helps treat it. I know we’ve mentioned it before, but Revolution is a monthly product that will also protect your pet from fleas, ticks, heartworms and roundworms. It is very easy to administer and your dog or cat will thank you for helping them stay parasite free.

Until next time,                                                                                           Clearbrook Animal Hospital Team


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