Otodecic mange: what is it and how to treat it?

By ganerationlmn 6 Min Read
Otodecic mange: what is it and how to treat it?

To begin with, what is otodecic mange? Also called otoacariasis, this is a disease caused by the mite Otodectes cynotis. It is a very common parasitic disease in cats, responsible for half of the cases of otitis in the species. However, it is considered rare in dogs and men.

Getting to know Otodectes cynotis

This mite is the type that does not burrow into the pet’s skin. However, it is very active, which is why it causes its host to itch a lot. Its entire life cycle is inside the animal’s ear canal.

It is very active and eager to feed on blood, lymph, and skin debris. Thus, it causes a lot of inflammation and itching, which ends up irritating the pet a lot and scratches.

In attempts to feed, the mite damages the skin of the ear canal and inflames the glands that produce ear wax. This inflammation causes increased production of earwax, forming brown plaques.

Otodectes cynotis is larger than other mites, so it is possible to see it with the naked eye. It is a small white structure that moves amidst the cerumen mixed with inflammatory secretions.

Transmission of ear scabies

Otodecic mange can be transmitted directly through contact between infected animals and healthy animals. Another form of transmission is through fomites, which are inanimate objects that carry microorganisms, thus being a source of disease infection.

All it takes is for an infected animal to lie down somewhere to transmit the disease to another that lies down in the same place. In places where pets are crowded, the degree of infestation is high.

Animals that are weak due to malnutrition or concomitant diseases present otodectic mange more easily and have an abundant population of mites.

Common symptoms of ear scabies

Ear scabies cause extremely itchy otitis externa. By scratching, the animal injures the ear and the region behind it. Excess wax associated with wounds and inflammatory secretions predisposes to secondary infections by other microorganisms.

These infections can be bacterial or fungal and worsen the animal’s health. The odor given off by the infection is strong and foul. It is common for cats to shake their head due to itching and discomfort.

In chronic cases of ear scabies infestation, other signs may appear, such as hair loss in the ears and otohematoma. Otohematoma is the accumulation of fluids between the cartilage and the skin in the region.

The ear becomes very swollen, abruptly. Due to the weight, it leaves the ear hanging. This causes the animal a lot of discomfort, causing it to shake its head even more, worsening the otohematoma.

Diagnosis of otodecic mange

The owner is generally unaware of the presence of the mite until the infestation is large enough to bother the animal and cause itching. In most cases, you only take your pet to the veterinarian when the disease worsens.

It is important that the owner does not try homemade solutions or solutions recommended on the internet to treat ear scabies in cats, as the use of some medications can poison the animal.

Another great tip is not to clean your animal’s ears before taking them to the vet. Cleaning can make it difficult to see the mite and hinder the diagnosis and treatment of ear scabies.

Otoacariasis treatment

Treatment for otodecic mange involves cleaning the ears and using topical acaricidal medications, which can last up to a month. Cleanliness is a key factor in the successful treatment of this disease.

The accumulation of dirt causes the proliferation of other microorganisms. Furthermore, it prevents the medication from reaching the skin, which drastically reduces its effect on mites.

This cleaning must be carried out with specific products for this purpose and for veterinary use, as the pH of animal skin is different from that seen in human skin. This product softens and degrades wax and dirt, making it easier to remove.

How to clean

  • If ear cleaning is not carried out correctly, ear scabies treatment may take longer. Therefore, take care at this stage of the treatment with our tips:
  • Add the amount of product recommended by your veterinarian. No one deserves to have cold liquid poured into their ear!
  • after placing the recommended dose in your ears, massage the area well so that the liquid mixes with the wax;
  • wait around half an hour before starting to clean. This is the minimum time for the product to take effect;
  • start cleaning from the inside out, with the help of gauze around your index finger. No need to keep poking your ear with the flexible cotton swabs!

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