may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Fractures of the First and Second Phalanx, Demodectic mites feed in between the hair shaft and the epidermis within the hair follicles, Dermanyssid and trombiculid mites pierce the skin with feeding tubes to feed, Psoroptic mites feed superficially on the surface of the skin; the most common psoroptic mites to affect horses and livestock include psoroptes cuniculi, psoroptes equi, and psoroptes ovis, Sarcoptic mites feed by burrowing into the layers of the epidermis. The bites of these gnats, known as buffalo gnats or humpies, are known to be highly allergenic for equines and can cause severe itching that can lead to dangerous infections if left untreated. Further tests, including x-rays, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neurologic tests, or electronic tests, may be needed to confirm certain conditions. The most common prescription medication against parasites that affect equines, such as tapeworms, pinworms, and psoroptes, is ivermectin. Other signs to watch for are sensitivity and reluctance to having the ears touched, which can signal pain, excessive scratching or digging at the ears, or rubbing the ears against the ground or furniture. Ear mites are not as common an occurrence for horses as they are for dogs and cats, but they can be quite distressing when they do occur. The outer ear includes the pinna (the part you see that is made of cartilage and covered by skin, fur, or hair) and the ear canal. The Veterinary Manual was first published in 1955 as a service to the community. Although ear mites are usually not a problem for horses, occasionally a species of mange mite, Psoroptes equi, may target the ears of the horse. Begin at the tip of the ear and cover the entire ear when dispensing the medication for more effective management of the mites. We do not control or have responsibility for the content of any third-party site. If you notice what appears to be excessive wax in the ears, use a cotton ball to wipe the wax out of the ear and then take a look in the ear. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. They can cause severe itching and can be quite contagious. The middle ear includes the eardrum and a small, air-filled chamber that contains 3 tiny bones: the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. Racing Thoroughbreds perform high-intensity exercise for short durations and are at risk of developing exertional heat illness. Aside from breed, pets with allergies may have excessive wax buildup due to swelling in the ear canals, and dogs that swim or spend time in water are more likely to develop excessive earwax. These mites generally cause a great deal of itching and discomfort, and you may see your horse shaking its head or rubbing its ears against objects like fence posts. If there is any odor to the ear, or if the ear is red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, or looks different than the other ear, there is a high likelihood that your pet has an external ear infection. Natural Treatments for Ear Infections in Dogs. Infections are most commonly caused by bacteria or parasites. Please confirm that you are a health care professional. Different categories of mites attack different areas with differing methods: Psoroptes equi and psoroptes ovis are mites that can affect horses, but Psoroptes equi is rarely found outside of England and psoroptes ovis tends to infest the legs, feet, and base of the tail more than the ears. Last full review/revision Aug 2019 | Content last modified Aug 2019, © 2020 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA), Disorders of the Rectum and Anus in Horses, © 2020 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA. If the ear appears normal and healthy on exam and there is no sign of infection, then there is no reason to clean the ear. A common question asked by pet parents is how much earwax is too much, and if they see earwax, if they should clean it from their pets’ ears. The inner ear is a complex structure that includes the cochlea (the organ of hearing) and the vestibular system (the organ of balance). Once the liquid has had a chance to penetrate the ear, you will want to be careful when releasing the horse’s ear. Sometimes dirt in the ear can look like excessive wax and fake you out. If an ear problem is suspected, he or she will then use an instrument called an otoscope to view the ear canal and, if possible, the eardrum. Infections of the ear and other ear disorders are less common in horses than in dogs or cats. Most of the time, ear plaque isn't harmful and is just a cosmetic issue. If your pet has normal ears, you can leave them alone. If your veterinarian has noted excessive earwax, anatomical features in the ear that can predispose a pet to excessive earwax, or if your pet suffers from recurrent ear infections, talk with your vet about routine biweekly cleaning of the ears as part of healthy dog ear care and cat ear care. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. It consists of the outer, middle, and inner ear. Your veterinarian will examine your horse’s ears at every routine checkup. If there is any odor to the ear, or if the ear is red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, or looks different than the other ear, there is a high likelihood that your pet has an external ear infection. Treatment of psoroptes is usually in a topical solution that is applied directly to the ear. Ear mites are a decidedly contagious infestation in horses that can cause severe itching and discomfort, but it is less common in horses than in dogs or cats. Your veterinarian can either prescribe or recommend specific pet ear meds made for removing excessive wax, drying the ear, and balancing the pH of the ear. Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as MSD outside of the US and Canada) is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Some of the flea and tick remedies such as that are available for cats and dogs will also work on ear mites in the horse when mixed with mineral oil, although some animals are so resistant to having their ears handled that sedation may be required to complete the procedure. Cerumen, what we call earwax, is a normal, natural component of all dog ears. Most of the mites that affect the ears of horses belong to the Psoroptes species, a species of mite that feeds on the surface of the skin. Earwax then slides and glides its way slowly out of the ear canal, carrying all the unwanted items with it and cleaning the ear naturally. All of these conditions can predispose pets to painful recurrent ear infections, antibiotic resistant ear infections, chronic changes in the ear, and loss of hearing.