Black Particles in the Ear Canal

Any black particles or discharge coming from the ears may be a sign of ear mites, which can be treated at home. In case of a yellow to green, smelly discharge coming from the ears, it might be an ear infection. In this case is it advised to consult a veterinarian. It is important to clean the ears of your cat or dog, as it may get infected. Some breeds, especially the water-loving kind, are susceptible for ear infections.

Black Particles in the Ear Canal

How to Recognize

If you are observing black particles that resemble coffee grinds in your pet’s ear, you are likely seeing the evidence of ear mites. These highly contagious parasites need to be eradicated in order to prevent damage to the eardrum and to relieve your furry friend’s misery. A healthy dog or cat ear should be pink and clean, and no debris should be visible. It is easy to see the black particles in a cat’s ears or in a dog’s ears that stand erect. The particles are dark brown to black in color, and they look like coffee grinds. They may be visible in the folds and crevices of the outer ear, and they can be seen at the entrance to the ear canal. For dogs that have hanging earflaps, you will need to lift the ear to peer inside.

Causes

Dogs and cats contract ear mites through casual contact with other infected animals. Ear mites are a common finding among dogs and cats that are acquired from pet shops, shelters and kennels that house a high volume of pets that are housed in close proximity. Cats that venture outdoors can also contract ear mites from other cats, and dogs can exchange ear mites through playful contact in dog parks. Ear mites that affect dogs and cats typically do not affect human ears.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian can confirm a diagnosis of ear mites in one of two ways. A swab may be taken of the ear to collect the debris for inspection under a microscope. Alternately, many veterinarians now have digital otoscopes in their clinics. These otoscopes project the magnified image on a display monitor, exhibiting the colony of tiny white mites crawling along the ear canal.

Similar Symptoms

Ear mites cause intense itchiness in your pet’s ears. Imagine how miserable you might feel to have a colony of tiny bugs crawling inside your ears. If your dog or cat has ear mites, you will likely witness pawing and scratching at the ears, and there may be a whole lot of head shaking going on. Your dog may rub his ears on the carpet in an attempt to relieve the itch. You may notice tiny scratches on your cat’s head or face near the ears.

Possible Conditions

Black debris in the ear canal does not always resemble particles. Dark brown waxy debris can signal the start of an ear infection, and this debris can also be dark yellow in color. Untreated ear mite infestations result in ear infections, but not all ear infections are caused by ear mites. Untreated ear infections, regardless of the cause, can result in damage to your pet’s eardrum. Additional signs of ear infection include red and inflamed ears, scratching of the ears, shaking of the head and a foul odor to the ears.

Treatments

Ear mite infestations are easy to treat with drops that your veterinarian will prescribe. Some of these treatments are formulated to treat the problem with a single application, while others require multiple applications. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an ear-cleaning regimen to be carried out at home. If your cat goes outdoors, your veterinarian may recommend a flea control product that also protects your cat against ear mites. If your pet has been diagnosed with an ear infection, your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic ointment for you to apply to your pet’s ears. If you have multiple pets, it will be necessary to treat all pets in the household for an ear mite infestation in order to break the cycle of transmission.

Black Particles in the Ear Canal Affects

  • Dogs
  • Cats

Similar Symptoms

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