Treating a Puppy's Ear Mites and Mange Mites - dummies

Treating a Puppy’s Ear Mites and Mange Mites

By Sarah Hodgson

Ear mites and mange mites can be found on your puppy’s skin or in their coat. Before treating for these parasites, get a diagnosis from your vet to ensure the treatment is parasite-specific (infections can cause some of the same symptoms).

Ear mites

Ear mites crawl into your puppy’s skin to reproduce. These eight-legged buggers nestle in your dog’s ear and feed on the outer layer of skin. The first sign of ear mites is your puppy’s behavior — she’ll scratch her ear intently, shake her head, and walk funny.

You can check for ear mites by examining your dog’s ear canal. If the canal is filled with brown wax and is crusty around the edge, take your pup to the vet. Your veterinarian can determine whether mites or another sort of infection is the problem. After your puppy gets a professional flushing from her doctor, you need to follow up with drops and cleaning procedures.

Mange mites

Mange mites are nasty little creatures that are related to ear mites. However, they’re more free-ranging than ear mites and often localize along the spine, legs, head, or underside of your puppy.

Here are the three different types of mange mites (talk to your vet for a diagnosis and treatment):

  • Cheyletiella or walking dandruff: These critters hang out along your puppy’s spine and create a lot of flaking as they munch the skin. The surest sign is intense scratching and nibble-biting along the spine.

  • Demodectic mange: Demodex mites, which are noncontagious, are usually transferred from a mother dog to her pups during nursing. Under normal conditions, these mites exist at a harmonious level. However, if a puppy gets stressed or is malnourished, they can multiply and create either a localized infection (the infected area loses hair and becomes itchy, red, and bald) or a widespread infection (creating large, inflamed, bald patches).

  • Sarcoptic mange: Otherwise known as scabies, these contagious crab-shaped bugs burrow into your puppy’s skin to lay eggs and sip blood. Their favorite spots are the head region, legs, and underside. The surest sign is a dog who literally can’t stop itching all over.

As much as you want to control your puppy’s itch with anti-inflammatories, don’t. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as cortisone, lower an already weakened immune system.