Treating Ear Mites

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

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.


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).


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

August 18, 20160 found this helpful

IS THE DOSE OF 0.1 ML per ear? It is such a small amount for both ears.

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October 28, 20160 found this helpful

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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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

May 26, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

All over the internet, people strongly warn about dangers associated with putting any kind of essential oil in or on a cat. It wasn't mentioned here, and each person will use their own best judgement about what's best for their beloved friend(s), but thought it deserved mention.

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June 25, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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September 12, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

The darker pill bottles with the screw on top keep Ivermectin solution ready to use. We have a lot of kittens this summer looking for homes. I found that it was easier to mix up the topical formula and keep it ready for use in a dark pill bottle.

brown prescription bottle

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January 15, 2016 Flag
1 found this helpful

What do I do?

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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.

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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

January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Paul, this could be a very bad mite and inner ear infection. Go to Walmart or Kmart and in the animal section get a cat/dog ear cleaner. This cleans the inner ears, kills mites which can deafen your pet and takes out moisture which can cause bad infections. If you do not see results in a couple of days please take your dog to the vet or local humane society which is very reasonable and have his or her ears checked. We all know what ear infections feel like and this could be serious.

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November 21, 20110 found this helpful

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?


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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Anonymous Flag
November 29, 20150 found this helpful

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

July 9, 20090 found this helpful

Ear mites are very very easy to kill, The aftermath of an infestation can be awful though. If your dog had bloody ears from scratching use peroxide to clean the bloody ears, but do not put it inside the ear canal. for inside the ear use plain mineral oil injected into the ear canal (use a needle less 3cc syringe) until the ear is full of mineral oil. close the ear flap over the ear canal and massage under the ear pushing upwards towards the opening for at least 5 minutes (this will sound squishy). Turn your dogs head over onto a paper towel to drain the mineral oil out. along with the mineral oil you will see stuff that is dark and sorta looks like coffee grounds. repeat this process Until the draining reveals no more stuff coming out with the mineral oil. Now do the other ear.

Now that the ears are cleared of the nasty stuff use an ear mite medication per directions. not finished yet though ... Ultra important to now bathe your dog with a good non expired flea and tic shampoo. Be careful not to get it in the dogs eyes, but you must lather from right above the eyes to the tip of the dogs tail. This bath is important because the ear mites travel on the head ear to ear. The dog may continue to scratch at its ears afterward. if this continues more than a week you may have another aftereffect which is a yeast infection. you can tell by smelling your dogs ears. A yeast infection has a very distinctive odor. You can either give it a pill, or ask your mom for monostat the monostat will bring near immediate relief. Good luck sweetie

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November 28, 20090 found this helpful

June 6, 2010 Flag

How do I get rid of dog ear mites?

By Marilyn

Anonymous Flag
June 8, 20100 found this helpful

Take your baby to the vet! If they are ear mites it's nothing to mess with and there is no home remedy. Ear mites can eventually cause deafness, among other issues, so please take this seriously!

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November 26, 20120 found this helpful

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

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May 19, 20140 found this helpful

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.

Wikipedia Information:

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.[26] Clinical evidence suggests kittens are susceptible to ivermectin toxicity.[27] 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.

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July 9, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

Can an alcohol swab kill ear mites on a dog?

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