Ear mites are very common in ferrets, especially in multiple pet households. These mites are too small to be easily visible with the naked eye, but can easily be diagnosed by a veterinarian with an otoscope. The ear mite which affects ferrets is Otodectes cyanotis, and it can affect other pets in the household as well. These mites live in the ear canals and do not burrow under the skin, or live for extended periods of time away from the ear.

Symptoms of ear mite infection include a dark waxy exudate in the ears, and redness and itching of the ear canal. In many cases no signs are visible at all, and the mites are an incidental finding on a physical examination.

Treatment of ear mites used to involve the frequent administration of liquid insecticides into the ears, but now most veterinarians use the drug ivermectin, and repeat the dose two weeks later.

If you have any questions or comments about the information above, feel free to send a message to Dr. Suzanne Lee, D.V.M. at SLeeDVM@aol.com.

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