Our pets sometimes become infested with ear mites. This is a guide about treating ear mites.
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Ear mites are disgusting and painful. Cats and kittens get them all the time. Dogs do sometimes also.
The vets often prescribe Acarexx. It is an ear mite treatment for cats and kittens. It contains 0.01% ivermectin. Ivomec is a 1% ivermectin injectable solution which can be bought without a prescription. It is used for cattle and swine. The one percent ivermectin is available online, and at Tractor Supply in the form of Ivomec. Like Acarexx, Ivomec contains 1% ivomectin. Rescuers and wildlife rehabbers frequently use this to treat ear mites. They use ivomec 1% solution topically in the ears.
After I learned that a bottle could last for about 33 years, I figured it would be a nice thing to research. I did some reading and I am sharing this information with you. I am not a vet nor have I had any medical training. I am sharing what other rescues and rehabbers do to help their animals. (Believe me, they are not in it for the money.)
What we do with the Ivomec is make a soluton to swab the ears of kittens and cats. For kittens, the amount of Ivomec is so small that it must be diluted with mineral oil. One part 1% ivomectin or Ivomec to 3 parts mineral oil.
Mix well, shake well, and the dosage for kittens as young as 4 weeks is as follows: 1 drop per pound of kitten. Most four week old kittens are one pound in weight. Adult cats get 0.1 ml for massaging in the ears. The adult cat dosage does not have to be diluted.
In wild and domestic rescues, it is not feasible to go to the vets and pay for each and every cat, dog, or other animal that comes through the door having ear mites.. There could be hundreds of animals a year that come through their doors. This is also used to prevent heartworm, but we can discuss that later, so as not to get things mixed up.
You will need to have a diabetic syringe (minus the needle) to measure the correct amount of Ivomec. First, carefully clean off any ear wax and gunk that is built up.
Do not attempt to clean your dog's ears or check for ear mites using cotton swabs, such as Q-tips, or other pointed objects. The inside of a dog's ear is delicate, and you may damage the eardrum by inserting a cotton swab too deeply. Then massage in the ivermectin as follows:
I suggest trimming the very tips of the cats claws first. If not, get someone else who knows how to restrain a cat to hold him or her for you. This can be tricky.
For an adult cat, the dosage is 0.1 ml slowly squirted and massaged into the cats ear canals, undiluted. Don't do it quickly where the squirt from the syringe minus the needle makes a noise. Cats do not like sudden noises. Soft and gentle and quickly is the key.
Putting a towel over the cat's head like an umbrella is a trick I learned too, but it most likely won't get shaken out since it is so thick.
For kittens the amount is too small to measure, so it must be diluted with mineral oil.
Dilute 1 part 1% invermectin with 3 parts of mineral oil. Once the Ivomec is diluted this way then they would get 0.05 ml per pound or one drop per pound of kitten. This is to be massaged into the ear, not given orally.
Repeat in three weeks to kill any mites that were not killed the first time around.
It's very important to verify with your vet that your dog has an ear mite infection before using this treatment. Ear mites are relatively uncommon in dogs and they are much more common in cats. It would be dangerous to treat for mites if the eardrum was not intact or in one piece from an infection.
Using a 1 cc syringe minus the needle, you administer .25 for each ear. Invermectin is very easily absorbed through the skin.
You may also dilute the dog's dosage in the following way.
Add 1 cc invermectin or Ivomec 1% solution to a 2 fluid ounce (60 ml) bottle. Then fill the bottle with mineral oil. Shake well before using to mix the ivermectin evenly. Apply 0.3 cc/ml to each ear and massage in. Repeat in two weeks if needed.
There are about 30 ml in 1 fluid ounce, and 10,000 mcg ivermectin in 1 cc of 1% solution, so you end up with 60 ml containing 10,000 mcg ivermectin, the same dosage as Acarexx. This will be enough to treat 100 dogs (200 ears).
Note that this dosage may not be high enough for larger dogs. Also it's unclear what acarexx is mixed with. Mineral oil is safe for use in ears, but ivermectin may not mix thoroughly with it, meaning that the dosage would not be the same throughout the mixture.
Propylene glycol could be used to mix with instead of the mineral oil. It would distribute the amount of ivermectin evenly. If propylene glycol is put in the ears of a dog that has a ruptured eardrum from an ear infection, it could cause deafness. That is why in dogs, it is better to get a vet to make sure the dog has ear mites. I have seen lots of rescues vouch for the mineral oil mixture, so I would probably trust it more than the propylen glycol. It is your call.
I hope this has given you something to think about regarding the health of your pets, and a most common problem, ear mites.
Other uses of Ivomectin include heartworm prevention, as in Hartgard and a certain type of mange, and also intestinal worms.
The dosages for intestinal worms and mange would be around thirty time the dosage for heartworm prevention. There are some dogs who are sensitive to this high a dose because of a genetic abnormality. That is why I will discuss these uses in a different article.
Blessings, and enjoy a happy and healthy life with your pets.
By Robyn Federspiel from Tri-Cities, TN
To eliminate ear mites, all it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.
Source: From my daughter's vet
By JodiT from Aurora, CO
Take the cotton balls out and stand back a bit because your pet will shake their head immediately! I use another clean cotton ball to dry around the opening to the ear. It will be yucky! Do the same for the second ear.
Follow this routine once a day for a week and then once a week from then on to prevent mites from invading your pet's ears again. Works wonderful!
A note: Boric acid is available from your pharmacist. No prescription needed, by law they have to keep it behind the counter, just ask. It runs under $3 for a container that would last forever. Share with a friend!
Source: Our Vet gave us this recipe.
By Pattie from Bridgton, ME
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Here are questions related to Treating Ear Mites.
My dog has had ear mites for a while and we have tried many remedies and in store products to get rid of them. Now she has bumps on top of her head under her skin; is it mites? If so, how is it gonna effect her?
By Sherri 04/19/2013
I have been a Veterinary Technician for over 20 years. Over the counter ear mite medication DOES NOT work. Please take your fur baby to the Veterinarian. Your Vet will prescribe the correct medication to rid your poor baby of ear mites. Please have this done ASAP, as there could be an underlying problem with the "bumps".... good luck
In your home recipe for ear mites one of the ingredients is tea tree oil. Where can I buy it?
By Nadine R
By Tess Vowels 04/05/2013
Even Walmart carries Tea Tree Oil, and most pharmacies, too.
How do I get rid of dog ear mites?
By NEWFIEGIRL 11/26/2012
The answer to your question is simple. The only person with qualifications to diagnose this problem correctly is your Veterinarian. Good luck.
My cat has ear mites and I can't afford a vet. I need a good home remedy. Is garlic and olive oil best to use and how do I do it?
Does anyone have a homemade recipe to use for ear mites?
By Lizzyanny 07/05/2014
Ear mites are hard to get rid of. You will need the Vet. Revolution flea treatment gets rid of them. But you need to get it from the Vet. Ear mites can progress to where they effect you cats brain, and then you are really in trouble. Fix it while you can.
I am wanting to use Ivermectin for my barn cats. I have 12 of them and I noticed they are having serious ear issues. Could you please explain a little better how to mix the solution with mineral oil? I am not understanding the 1% to so many parts. I want to mix a bottle so I can treat them on a regular basis. Can this also be used on the back of the neck for fleas?
By Dinah Ackerson 05/19/2014
You must know exactly what the the ear problems are to be able to treat them correctly. All 12 may not have the same condition and may require different medications. Some of the cats and kittens may have sensitivities to Ivermectin and this can result in additional medical problems and even death.
Ivermectin is also used in veterinary medicine. It is sometimes administered in combination with other medications to treat a broad spectrum of animal parasites. Affected animals are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of ivermectin. Clinical evidence suggests kittens are susceptible to ivermectin toxicity. A 0.01% ivermectin topical preparation for treating ear mites in cats (Acarexx) is available.
Re flea problems, you must be sure that Ivermectin is the proper treatment for fleas before using it for cat fleas. Only a vet can evaluate the cats and suggest the correct flea treatment medication.
Please take your cats to a vet for the correct diagnosis and treatment. Perhaps an examination of one of the cats will help all 12. However, all 12 may not have the same problem.
My dog has ear mites that the vet diagnosed. I'm treating him with drops. I have two questions; first, how and what do I clean to make sure they are all gone from the house? Second, is it wise to for him to be in bed with me at all ever again? I love my little guy and he cries now that I put him on the floor.
I have 2 cats that have been suffering from ear mites for quite sometime now, because the vet doesn't seem to know how to cure ear mites in a cat! So for all you that say, take the cat to the vet, I did already, twice, to 2 different doctors. Neither of them could kill the ear mites. My cats don't go outside, so there is no reason for them to have ear mites after getting them treated and paying around $200.00 each time for an office call, ear mite medicine, and then secondary infection medicine.
I feel very ripped off and then I call the vet and he wants me to bring both of my cats in before he will treat them for ear mites, even knowing that is what they have. I'm so mad that I spent all this money that I don't have to begin with only to be in the same situation months later!
Now I will have to start from square 1 again and try to get rid of them on my own. I shouldn't have to be doing this. I don't want to hurt my cats in any way by putting the wrong thing in their ears. I'm so frustrated from cleaning their ears with mineral oil, then my 1 cat cries while I'm massaging it into his ears and I feel so bad and hopeless! Any ideas? Please don't tell me to take them to another vet. How many vets does it take to get rid of ear mites? I've lost all faith in vets.
By Patricia w from Milwaukee, WI
Our cat had ear mites, the vet said to use revolution it is a flea and tick liquid med that you use on them it also helps with a number of worms, keeps them from getting them. It seemed to help our cat you might give it a try. Hope this helps some.
I know of a dog who is being treated (home remedy) for ear mites because the family cannot afford a vet appointment. What home remedies have worked? This is a German Shepherd stray that was found in a northern state.
By Connie E.
By Lana Kutynsky 10/28/2011
Equal portions of Olive Oil and Vitamin E Oil mixed. Dip the Q-tip/Cotton ball in mixture and clean the animals ears. Once completed put one drop of mixture into each ear every 3 days until mites are gone. Make sure to clean his ears every 3 days as well.
Lana B. Des Plaines, IL
Is there any way to clean ear mites at home? My dog is allergic to the meds I got from the vet. Help!
By sbobo from Tacoma, WA
By sbobo 08/27/2011
Vet called and said that he doesn't have ear mites, but a nasty fungal infection. And thanks for the olive oil tip, been using for 2 days and I cant believe how well it works!
How can I treat ear mites in kitten? He is only 5 weeks old. What is OK to do at home?
By Aubrey L.
By NEWFIEGIRL 08/29/2011
With no disrespect the answer to your question is called a Veterinarian.
My cat has mites in its ears. What can I do?
By Dorothy from SA
I know that everyone is saying take your kitty to the vet and I do agree with that! It is the best and safest option if you have the means. However personally when my kitty had ear mites I used "Lambert Kay EAR-RITE MITICIDE" for cats and kittens. I got it @ Petco for about $8. I'm sure your local petstore has something similar. It worked great! My kitty hasnt had mites since! I used damp gauze to clean out my cats ears. Obviously never EVER use Q-tips. You can also check out some videos on youtube or ehow.com on how to clean your cats ears. I found those very helpful. Hope that helps!
How will I know if my dog has ear mites, or a yeast infection, or just very dirty waxy ears? I clean his ears with Ear Cleanse at least twice a week, but the wax build-up is still very bad.
He shakes his head all the time, but scratches his ears only a very small amount. The wax is black/brown, very sticky, and very thick. Some parts are very dry, and some parts are very oily.
By David from Mooresville, NC
By NEWFIEGIRL 08/29/2011
You never stated what your Veterinarian's diagnosis was.
Can an alcohol swab kill ear mites on a dog?
By harleygirl1211 from Red Bay, AL
By Paula Jo C. 07/13/2009
No it will not work and will harm the animals ears. Order some "Happy Jack" ear mite medicine and use it. It is not costly if it was then I wouldn't have been able to buy it myself. You can also purchase it at a Farm Supply if you have one (we don't). Keep us informed on what you do!
Can I poor peroxide in my dogs ear to get rid of ear mites?
Kali from Panama City, FL
No! Go to a local vet and purchase an ear mite solution. You squeeze some in the ears , hold it closed, let your dog shake is head around, then gently use a few q-tips and cotton swabs to remove the mites and the dirt they create. If you use peroxide, you will burn the tender area within the dog's ear. After one week, repeat process just in case any eggs that you didn't get the first time will die. Many dogs and cats are born with ear mites. If left untreated, the animal can go deaf and cause permanent hearing loss.
I have found several 'cures' for ear mites - but what causes them in the first place? Contagion, air borne, outside like ticks, etc.? My furry friend is normally extremely affectionate, but it took me almost a week to figure out what was bothering him because he was keeping to himself and didn't want anyone anywhere near his head/ears. I got OTC meds, and his relief was immediate! I want to avoid ever having him suffer like that again.
doodles from Jersey
By Chris Ellyson 03/21/2008
Discusses more of the causes and environmental treatment.
Google answers sooooo many questions !!
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I need tips/home remedies to treat ear mites in cats. Thanks.
By momof4Ks from MO
By Robyn Fed
The next day a lot of the symptoms were gone, so I started placing a small bit on my finger and massaging it inside of her ears. After a few days they were gone and her hair had started growing back. You must be careful that they cannot lick this, but since it was in her ears I did not expect her to.
I also can confirm that a friend of mine tried this after I persuaded her to, and her cat's mites were cleared after a few days. (09/09/2009)
Mix equal parts of olive oil or sweet oil with hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol (70% only). 1 oz. oil, 1 oz. hydrogen peroxide, 1 oz. alcohol. Use a cotton ball to do the cleaning, but if the cat has ear mites, you might need to apply it with a dropper, and massage it deep into the ears. Don't try to put anything sharp down into the ears. That would hurt and possibly injure the cat. Apply this medication at least twice a day for a week or more. Afterward, keep a close watch on the ears to make sure the mites are no longer there, leaving their black "dirt" around.
Ear Mites can be one of the most painful and irritating things that can happen to our pets, and we can help. I never got anything from a vet that helped at all. An old lady told me about it, and I've been using it now for about 40 years. It works and works without doing any damage.
Just plain old olive oil helps keep the ears nice and clean when rubbed on and into the ears with a cotton ball. Good luck. You are a good person to care about the poor cat and be willing to help her/him. One day people are going to be very sorry at the way we are allowing our animals to be treated. What goes around, comes around. All the best to you.
Julia in Coconut Creek, FL (09/09/2009)
We used it on 5 of the strays (and had some left in the bottle) and their ear mites were taken care of. I heard about this from our local vet. I am sure that if you do not have local ACE Hardware store there, you could buy it on line. Goggle it (Happy Jack mitex pesticidal) you may be surprised. Good luck and keep us in the know on the ear mite situation and what you do do. (09/09/2009)
By Paula Jo
Jennifer from Northern VA (09/16/2009)
Is there a home treatment for ear mites in kittens (11 weeks old)? I recently adopted a kitten and just checked her ears and noticed they are very black with ear wax.
I cleaned them as good as I could, but they still need more cleaning. Is there any kind of home remedy for ear mites?
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
After a few hours wash out the kitten's ears with ear cleaner solution or warm water. Do not use a Q-tip, but wrap your pinkie finger with a Kleenex to clean our the ears. A lot of junk will come up. I use the garlic olive oil all the time on my dogs whenever they start scratching their ears or shaking their head. It works great and saves me money. (11/28/2009)