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Treating Ear Mites

Our pets sometimes become infested with ear mites. This is a guide about treating ear mites.

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Treating Ear Mites
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March 14, 2012 Flag

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.

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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:

For Cats:

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.

For Dogs:

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).

Considerations:

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.

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By Robyn Federspiel from Tri-Cities, TN

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January 15, 2016 Flag
1 found this helpful

What do I do?

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    January 20, 20160 found this helpful

    I have used a Q-tip dipped in apple cider vinegar to clean my dog and cat's ears before. You can try this. Otherwise see your vet and get a cream for this. You might even be able to find a cream at your local market.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    January 13, 2011 Flag

    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.

    Comment On This PostMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    June 14, 2012 Flag
    1 found this helpful

    In your home recipe for ear mites one of the ingredients is tea tree oil. Where can I buy it?

    By Nadine R

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    June 25, 20160 found this helpful

    Melaleuca also known as tea tree oil is VERY toxic and deadly for cats in any form of applications! Please do not use this on your cats their liver cannot process it.

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    March 18, 2009 Flag

    Put ingredients into a glass jar and shake to mix well. Using a couple of cotton balls, dip them into the solution and place the cotton ball(s) into your pet's ear, one ear at a time.

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    October 3, 2010 Flag
    1 found this helpful

    I have a Basset hound and the symptoms are: a lot of little scabs on him, itchy skin, and bad smelling ears, very smelly. Do you know the best treatment for him?

    By Paul

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    November 21, 20110 found this helpful

    Sounds like ear mites, but please take your dog to the vet and have it diagnosed correctly. If it is mites, using alcohol in the ears, as someone suggested, would be very painful on the bites.

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    June 9, 2008 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    Can I poor peroxide in my dogs ear to get rid of ear mites?

    Kali from Panama City, FL

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    November 28, 20090 found this helpful

    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.

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    April 17, 2013 Flag
    1 found this helpful

    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 TE

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    March 11, 20150 found this helpful

    I purchased drops from the vet used as instructed for 2 months then took the poor cat to another vet who sold me Revolution which also didn't work. just because you got it at the vet doesn't mean it's always perfect.

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    May 17, 2014 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    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 Vickie

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    May 26, 20150 found this helpful

    You'll be using your own best judgement, of course, but I had a bottle of 1% Ivermectin. Acarexx is a solution of that in ethyl alcohol - here's their page and the package insert is a PDF right there http://www.acarexx.com/.

    I had to use several different types and measurements of syringes (had these for diabetes). You have to be sure you know the meaning of volume for each syringe (See link #1 below). This one was key for me: 1 cc = 1 mL. You will want to check and double check your understanding before proceeding to each next step.

    I used this calculator

    http://www.physiologyweb.com/calcul ... on_calculator_molarity_percent.html. You enter info to 3 of the 4 fields and it calculate the fourth. From top to bottom, looking at the label of the ivermectin that you already have, you know that you enter 1 and click % in the field 'Stock concentration'. Skip the 'Volume from stock' field. 'Final concentration' (to match Acarexx) we want to put .01 and click %. 'Final solution volume' (Acarexx dosage is 0.5mL per ear for cats). You can pre-mix and store if your container has a good seal. For this example, we'll mix up 5.0mL so you enter 5 and leave it on the default mL.

    Click 'calculate' and it tells us the answer for 'Volume from stock' - how much of the Stock concentration we'll need.

    What you want to do next is not solved for you by this calculator -subtract the number it calculated 'Volume from stock' from the 'Final solution volume'. That's because the final solution volume is just that, the *total* volume.

    Here's a working example to mix down 1% ivermectin to a dose to administer topically to cats' ears: 0.05 mL of 1% ivermectin plus 4.95 mL of grain alcohol. Swirl it together for a minute. Draw up 1 mL in a *needleless* syringe or eyedropper-- Half in one ear, Half in the other. Hold your cat's head and massage it around a bit before letting them go. With our example, there is enough for five doses.

    Acarexx uses ethyl alcohol as a carrier. I've tried both mineral oil and now ethyl alcohol (use grain alcohol or vodka) and prefer the alcohol. The cats did not continue to be bothered by the sensation of something in their ears they way they were with the oil.

    I've dosed them a couple of times over a couple of months and plan to begin doing it monthly during the summer months because of the side benefit of killing any small heartworms--mosquitoes carry the heartworm larvae. It's not widely known but cats can get ill from heartworms that go into their lungs. Ivermectin is known to affect ear mites and various worms including heartworms (link #2 below). BTW, it wasn't proved to me by everything I read online that ivermectin does much for fleas.

    ---

    (1) http://health.prenhall.com/olsen/pdf/Olsen_ch7.pdf

    (2) http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/roundworms

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    June 6, 2010 Flag

    How do I get rid of dog ear mites?

    By Marilyn

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    November 26, 20120 found this helpful

    The answer to your question is simple. The only person with qualifications to diagnose this problem correctly is your Veterinarian. Good luck.

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    July 9, 2009 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    Can an alcohol swab kill ear mites on a dog?

    By harleygirl1211 from Red Bay, AL

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    July 13, 20090 found this helpful

    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!

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    October 20, 2013 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    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

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    October 23, 20130 found this helpful

    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.

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    January 30, 2010 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    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

    Answer This QuestionWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    August 29, 20110 found this helpful

    You never stated what your Veterinarian's diagnosis was.

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    August 9, 2014 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    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?

    By Mary

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    December 1, 20140 found this helpful

    http://cats.lovetoknow.com/Home_Remedies_for_Cat_Ear_Mites

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    July 3, 2014 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    Does anyone have a homemade recipe to use for ear mites?

    By Patty

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    July 5, 20140 found this helpful

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    June 6, 2010 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    My cat has mites in its ears. What can I do?

    Answer This QuestionMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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