Treating Ticks on Dogs' Ears

Ticks on dogs can cause various diseases, from bacterial and viral infections to a neurological condition. There are several types of ticks which can attach to your dog’s body when he goes for walks in the park or when he plays in bushes and tall grass. The ticks can attach to various parts of the body and feed on the dog’s blood. Sometimes, they enter the dog’s ears causing otitis. There is a particular species of ticks, the spinous ear tick, which invades dog’s ears causing a series of problems in the area.

Dog Spinous Ear Tick

The spinous ear tick (otobius megnini) is a species of ticks which enters the external auditory canal in dogs causing acute otitis. This condition will manifest through violent shaking of the head, scratching, pain and even neurological manifestations such as convulsions.

The tick, is only parasitic when it reaches the larval and nymph stage. The nymph stage has 4 pairs of yellow legs and is blue-grayish in color. In the larvae stage, the tick has only got 3 pairs of legs.

The spinous ear tick is a soft shell tick and has a leathery cover. Ear ticks can live in the ear canal up to seven months before they turn into adults. When they do not feed, they can stay hidden in the cervices inside the ear and they are difficult to spot. Given that ticks generally cause severe medical conditions in dogs, it is important to spot and remove the tick and treat whatever disease it caused as soon as possible.

Treating Ticks on Dogs' Ears

The treatment of ticks on the dog’s ears will consist of several steps:

  • Identifying the tick
  • Removing the tick
  • Cleaning the area
  • Treating any diseases caused by the tick
  • Cleaning the ears
  • Getting tick preventive solutions

The first step in treating ticks in dog’s ears is the identification and the removal of the tick. The ticks usually stay hidden in the ear’s crevices. They only get out when they need to feed. This is why in most cases they are difficult to spot, so you might see the first symptoms appear before you spot the tick.

When removing the tick, make sure not to squeeze it, as it can release more toxins into the dog’s bloodstream.

Use special tweezers and grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Usually tick bites cause small size irritations of the skin which disappear in about a week after the bite. This reaction is a result of immediate local hyper-sensitivity.

Even if the tick bite in itself is not such a big problem, the diseases they cause are much more serious. In case of ear infections and external otitis caused by ticks located in the ear, your dog might need treatment based on corticosteroids and antibiotics applied locally on the external auditory tract. You can also use some tick preventatives to control any further infestation. To make sure you get the best treatment, consult your veterinarian.