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November 27, 2006


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Hi there, I've got a cat, Sam, that has ear mites. The vet gave him one melbemite treatment, and also one dose of the heartworm medication on his back. I went home with Malacetic Otic as well as Tresaderm. I've been cleaning the ears twice a day, and adding one tresaderm drop to each ear afterwards. But, I forgot to refrigerate the Tresaderm, so its useless now. I was wondering if I still need use that, since it seems the mites are gone, and there is no yeast infection. The vet says I need to buy another Tresaderm, but I'd would rather not if its not really necessary. It would be great to get your opinion, I find your blog very useful. Thanks so much!


The packaging for Tresaderm says to store in a refrigerator at 36 to 46 degrees fahrenheit. HOWEVER, if you call Merial (the manufacturer), they will tell you that normal room temperature is okay. If it gets really hot (up above 80 very much), it does lose potency and quit working. They always ship it on ice. If you have kept it out of direct sunlight and in a room temperature at 78 or less, it's probably just fine.

I'd rather spend the money on having your doctor recheck the ears with an otoscope and see if they are okay, rather than just buying another bottle of Tresaderm.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Julie LaPine

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful I found this site to be - It reminds me of "All Creatures Great and Small" and having access to someone that just "tells it like it is."


i have just used my third dose of revolution on my cat obviously at four week intervals and have been cleaning her ears and using and using drops for ear mites that i bought from the pet shop and my cat still has ear mites any ideas how i can get rid of them?


Hello, Kerry,

It is possible to get re-infested if exposed (by direct physical, head-to-head contact) to other cats (or dogs) who are carrying the parasite. Revolution usually prevents this re-exposure, however.

Since Revolution is excreted in all the skin oils (including the ear wax), it should also deal with the problem of ear mites residing on the skin outside the ear (temporarily) or on the tail tip (since cats can sleep curled up with tail near ears).

In years past, we would sometimes have to dip the cat in lime-sulfur dip to deal with the mites that were outside the ear, but I haven't done that in a long time.

I am wondering if your cat's ear problems are truly a persistent ear mite infestation. Has your veterinarian actually continued to demonstrate the presence of mites with a microscopic examination of the ear swab?

If not, it is possible that there is some other problem. Yeast infections can develop, especially secondary to a bad mite infestation. This is why I like to use Tresaderm drops after cleansing the ears of debris. The cortisone in it relieves the irritation, and the thiabendazole generally controls the secondary yeast infection, as well as killing mites.

If it has been a while since the ears were examined with an otoscope, this should be repeated. There may be stubborn debris deep in the ear canal that will not be removed by simple flushing.

You cannot clean the deeper parts of the canal with a cotton swab ("Q-tip"). You just pack things down and make it worse.

The fact that you mention "pet shop ear mite meds" makes me think that the ears have not been examined by your veterinarian recently. That's what needs to happen.

Good luck.


I am really glad to find your site. I treated all three of my cats four times each with Revolution and it did not cure their ear mites. We are now trying Tresaderm, I am hoping that will work better.

Pet Store

Ew! Reading your blog made my ear itchy. Haha. Anyway, very, VERY good information. :) I like your blog very much.


I found your blog when I was searching for information about aural hematomas. My Scottish Terrier had ear mites when we first got him as a puppy; he is 8 years old now. I never knew about the mites digging tunnels below the surface of the skin. Do you think there could be a connection between the tunnels of the ear mites and him getting the hematoma? This is the second time he has had it, but it is on the other ear. Thanks for all of the helpful information!


Dogs with ear mites may shake or scratch their ears hard enough to produce a hematoma. However, the mites do their burrowing deep in the ear canals, not on the flap (pinna). Therefore, they would not directly cause the hematoma.

pauline dodd

today i carried my calico cat to the vet for ear mites ..this is the second time in 2 months .. he gave transaderm to use for 10 days .. i clean my cats ears every ni8ght .. i do not like my pets to be unhealthy love your site ..keep up the good work ..pauline dodd


Hello, Pauline,

Tresaderm usually works well for my patients. Be sure to put the drops into the ear as deeply as you can, and massage the ear before you let go, so that the cat doesn't shake out the medicine.

It's a good idea to do a couple of follow-up treatments, too. One dose on day 20 and one one day 30.

If you keep having his problem, you might ask your veterinarian about Revolution, as it will usually prevent re-infection.


I took my two male cats in to get nuetered and when I went to pick them up the vet told me they had ear mites. I have three other cats at home so I am sure this is going to get expensive! How long do I need to treat them to be sure that this doesn't come back? Would using a combination of the tresaderm drops and the revolution be my best bet? Only one of the cats seems to have irritation in his ear and I am pretty sure he is the one that brought them into the house. The rest of the cats don't really show any symptoms of having ear mites but I was told I needed to treat them anyways.


Hello, Jennifer,

If you don't treat all the cats, they will almost certainly just keep passing the mites back and forth.

The good news is that the mites can't live off the animal for any significant length of time. Therefore, you don't have to treat your home, they way you would for a flea infestation.

Revolution is a pretty good preventive for ear mites, but I have not had a lot of luck treating clinical cases with it.

Milbemite otic is a one-dose treatment that is effective in many cats.

I have had the best luck by removing all the crust and waxy debris from the ear, then treating once daily with Tresaderm for 10 days. This clears up secondary yeast infections, and the cortisone in it makes the cat feel better. The ten days is to catch newly hatching mites.

If I am also using Revolution at this time, then I don't usually need any more follow-up. If not, I like to treat again on day 20 and day 30 to catch any late hatching mites.

Good luck.


hi. Can you get tresaderm over the counter? I was given ivermectin but my foster group and told to treat once and then repeat in 3 weeks. I was told 2.5 cc's per ear... since they are kittens. 1 of them has a hematoma on the outside and I'm guessing it is from scratching? It is raw and bleeding too. my other 2 cats showed no signs. but I only have enough ivermectin for the 2 little ones. I have another medicine that I fought over the counter that contains pyrethrin as the active ingredient. When I cleaned their ears I put the qtips in the canal and probably made it worse since I had not read your blog first. I remember when my oldest cat had it a couple of years ago, and I used the pyrethrin, and you said every other day for a month but in the end, I had to buy a different product and I don't remember what it was called. I may have to use the treatment on the other animals as a preventative. But pyrethrin requires every other day use until the problem is gone, and the cats are uncooperative. where can I purchase the tresaderm, and can I use neosporin for the hematoma on the outside of the ear? thank you!

Maggie McLaughlin

How helpful is Cerumite 3X for earmites and/or infection? My vet says use it 4 days straight, then a week off, then repeat this process for 4 weeks. What do you think?


Hello, Maggie,

The product and schedule should be effective for ear mites. Different veterinarians prefer different schedules for treatment. The idea is to kill the new mites that are hatching out later from the eggs they have laid in their tunnels.

If the pet has a yeast or bacterial infection, I would not expect the product to be helpful. It contains insecticides only. There is nothing for inflammation or to kill germs.

Animals with ear problems should have the ears examined by a veterinarian using an otoscope to look deep within the canal. A swab is usually taken for microscopic examination of the debris to determine the cause of the problem.

Many ear problems will require cleaning of the ear by flushing to remove the debris. In painful or uncooperative animals, than can require sedation or even general anesthesia.

The veterinarian who is seeing your pet is the person who is best equipped to advise you. I can only give general information without seeing your pet.


Hello. I have 5 cats and the last one a kitten got November 13. 3 days ago I noticed the kitten has ear mites. I have been cleaning her ears out with vegetable oil and then tresaderm 2x a day. The tresaderm was a left over from my dog who had a yeast infection 6 Months ago. We have a vet appointment in 2 days for her second set of shots and I have already spoke with the vet and she is giving me revolution. My question is: how many months should I treat all 5 cats with tresaderm. All cats range in weight from 3-16 lbs and that would be several different doses there. I already treat my dig monthly with her flea/tick and heartwarming medication and my other 4 cats even high have been exposed to kitten since day 1 knock on wood please have no ear mites but I still want to treat them. How many months should I treat them all? 5 cats ranging in weight can get very expensive and I'm all about treating my animals with what's right. It's just that I've had these cats for 1-3 years and have never had a case if ear mites. Thanks.


I mean revolution. Sorry typo. I
Meant to ask how
Many months should I treat with revolution?


Hello, Candice,

In my experience, Revolution is really good as a preventive, but I haven't been as successful using it to clear an active infection.

I do think it is very good as a follow-up,just in case you have some late hatchers. The mites do lay eggs in their tunnels. Ordinarily these hatch within 10 days. Sometimes they hatch later, and the Revolution should kill those larvae when they emerge.

I would probably use mineral oil instead of vegetable oil to loosen the debris in the ear.

Also, after several days, I would just use the Tresaderm. I don't think that the oil will be helping anymore at that point.

Ask your veterinarian what she thinks, but if the kitten is cleared, I would think that two months of Revolution would be plenty to "mop up" any small exposures.

If this were a flea infestation, I would go much longer, as fleas infest the environment. Ear mites do not infest the environment. They live only on the animals.

Treating all the animals with Revolution for two months should be more than enough.

Your veterinarian is more familiar with your pets and your situation. She is in the best position to advise you. I can only give general information.

Amanda W.

My cat has been seen by a vet and has mites. We are cleaning his ears with an ear cleaner prescribed to us and using Tresaderm. The vet told us to put the ear cleaner on q-tips and clean out the ear. You are saying not to use q-tips because it packs things down and makes it worse. What do you suggest we use instead to clean his ears before putting the medicine in?


Hello, Amanda,

You can use the Q-tips to lift out debris that you can see. You do have to be careful not to push stuff down.

Your veterinarian has prescribed an ear cleanser. I am assuming that this is a liquid. You would put a pretty good squirt of stuff in the ear and massage it to work it down into the canal and loosen the debris.

The cat will then shake its head, and junk will come out where you can see it. Use the Q-tips to remove it.

Usually you get most of the debris out in just a few cleanings, and can then continue with the Tresadrerm as prescribed.

I think that your veterinarian has given you a good program, but there wasn't a full communication of what he/she intended for you to do.

When something doesn't seem right to you, you should always ask questions. So many times we think we have explained things very thoroughly, but the the other person doesn't have our same point of view. It doesn't mean that they aren't smart, they just aren't seeing things from the same perspective.

Don't be afraid to call your veterinarian and ask questions. He/she wants to help.


I have 4 Yorkies !! I used tresaderm & my vet put something on their backs for heart worm , ear mites & all types of worm about 3 weeks ago. I used tresaderm on them all for 3 days like my vet told me to . She told me to put more in their ears after 2 weeks , I didn't. Max has ear mites again , poor baby shakes bad . I didn't refrigerate the tresaderm , will it still work on them ? I just called my vet for new medicine !! Ewwww I cean their ears & get a lot of brown stuff out , is that ear mite poop ? I feel like such a bad mom !!


Hello, Rhonda,

The brown junk is ear wax, dead skin, dead mites, and so forth.

The Tresaderm is okay out of the refrigerator for a few days, but not for weeks.

I have best results if I clean the ears thoroughly first. How this is done depends on the amount an nature of the debris. Sometimes it is as simple as filling the ears with some mineral oil and massaging it deep, then letting the dog shake out the stuff. Sometimes it requires more sophisticated cleaning agents and flushing, and even suctioning out the ears.

The ears need to be pretty clean, or the medicine can't get to the skin and the mites and their tunnels.

Once the ears are clean, I like to use the Tresadrem once daily for 10 days. This should kill the newly hatched mites as they come out, relieve the inflammation in the ear canal, and clear up any secondary yeast infection (very common with mites).

Then I do a single treatment on day 20 and another on day 30 to catch late-hatching mites.

If Revolution or AdvantageMulti have been applied, that will really help with follow-up, but not so great for initial treatment.


One more thing I've noticed is that after I applied Revolution, my cats have stop scratching their ears and shaking heads, except when I applied the cleaning solution, but I guess that's because they want to take off the liquid inside.


Hi, my name is Nuria.
Looks like my first message disappeared from the web!
Well, my question is: I have two cats infested with ear mites. One was infested more than one month ago and started being treated one month ago. The little one was infested by the first one and start being treated at the same time. I went first to the vet and he made the diagnose for ear mites then gave me Oridermyl to put in my cat's ears for one week. After one week, it didn't get better, and as I read the instructions and searched on line I realised that the medicine should be applied for 21 days, so I did. After that time, still didn't get better, so I search on line again for better medicines. I live in China, and vets are not particularly reliable here, so I decided to try myself. The only recommended medicine I could find here is Revolution (no tresaderm or milbemite anywhere) so I bought it. I applied it to them one week ago, and it seems like now they don't shake heads or scratch their ears anymore, but still they have a lot of dirt coming out from their ears. At the beginning, big, round and dry grounds, now just wet flat pieces, bigger and smaller, and what appears to be dead mites, together with a lot of brown wax. I clean every day and everyday seems to be the same amount of dirt there was the day before. Is this normal? How long is going to take to eliminate the dirt from their ears? Seems to be a bit better than before, and less painful for them, but I'm still afraid there is something wrong and that's why it doesn't really get clean. Are the mites really dead or not? It is possible all that dirt was accumulating there for so long time and just need to get it out or it is new dirt? Because it's really a lot! Should I apply a second dose of Revolution after one month of after 21 days, to avoid eggs for opening? If the second dose cannot get rid of the mites, what can I do? I wish I could find a good vet and the proper medicines here, but I'm afraid it's going to be difficult :(
Thank you!


Hello, Nuria,

To assist in clearing the debris from the era canals, I would instill a small amount (1/2 ml to 1.0 ml) of mineral oil in each ear canal. Massage this thoroughly for 5 to 10 seconds and let the cat shake out the debris on his own.

I would do this daily for several days, at which time, the amount of debris present should be minimal.

I would repeat the Revolution at 2-week intervals. The Revolution is absorbed into the skin, circulates in the bloodstream (which is when it kills baby heartworms and does the deworming). Then it is excreted from the body in the skin oils, including the ear wax.

Removing the excess debris from the ear will reduce the amount of work the Revolution has to do. It would not achieve any concentration in all the wax and crust, only in the newly produced wax at the skin surface.


Thank you very much!
That is the method I was using to clean them, as I read in previous post that should be done like this and it really works! I'll try applying Revolution at two week time after the first dose and see what happens. I hope it will work!


I recently got a kitten and learned the next day when I took her to the vet that she had ear mites. The vet cleaned her ears in the office and gave her the first treatment of tresaderm. I asked her if I would need to clean the ears while giving my kitten the medication and she said I shouldn't have too. Should I be?
She said to give the tresaderm twice daily (every 12 hrs) for 7 days then once daily for 14 days. This is the last day of the first seven days and my kitten is still scratching. I also have another 5 year old cat that I have been treating because she has been in contact with the kitten. I have noticed that she is scratching her ears as well. Is this normal?
Also, tonight when I gave the kitten the tresaderm, there was red on the tip of the bottle when taking it out of her ear, but when I looked in her ear I didn't see any noticible bleeding; however, here was dark brown kind of dark red specks. Would this be dried blood? Is this normal? Her ears don't appear to be red like he medication is irritating them. How long does it take for he meds to work?
Sorry for all the questions, I just worry because you just never know!
Thank you!


Hello, Chelsey,

Tresaderm is my preferred product for treating ear mites. I would not expect it to cause irritation. It contains some cortisone, so should actually help calm down any irritation.

Ordinarily, if the ears are cleaned thoroughly when you start, additional cleaning is not necessary. Sometimes it may be. If the kitten is not doing well, I would certainly ask your veterinarian to take another look at it.

If the two cats had been in contact for some time, then the other cat could certainly have become infected. All cats in direct contact should be treated for the ear mites.

I find that I usually get best results when I treat daily for 10 days (mite eggs hatch out 10 days after they are laid, so I want to catch all the new ones). I also like to give a single treatment on day 20 and day 30, in case there are any late hatching eggs.

If the cats are not responding to treatment as expected, then they really need to be re-examined by your veterinarian.

Nancy Mascarenhas

I do a lot of research whenever my cat or dog has health issues. We are faithful visitors to our vet. (a little too often $$). After proper diagnosis I like to read more indebt info, both to better understand & prevent future episodes. Your site by far is the Best and Most Informative I have ever come across. My poor senior rescue kitty has multiple polyps in his ears w/frequent infections. Poor guy is deaf also. THANK YOU for sharing your professional knowledge.


Hello, Nancy,
Thank you for your kind words. I wish there were a simple answer for these polyps. Regular cleaning sometimes helps to clear the debris that the polyps either produce or keep from being eliminated in the normal fashion.

There are some veterinary surgeons who are equipped to use a laser through a video otoscope, and this can be successful.

Conventional surgery is very tough, often requiring the surgical removal of the entire ear canal (total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy, TECABO). This is a radical surgery.

This is just tough, unfortunately.


Hi there, great blog! I wonder if you can help me with something a little different, I have 7 dogs I want to treat, they dont have infection but their ears seem to be itchy...my problem is, how on earth do I get them to hold still, they freak out whenever I come near their ears, 6 Yorkies and a staffie... if only I can get them to hold still I can treat the ears... any suggestions? :-) Thanks!


Hello, Zelne,

If these dogs are truly freaking out when you get near their ears, I would be concerned that they are painful, and not just itchy.

If that is the case, it may require sedation to get a good examination of the ears.

I wouldn't expect all 7 dogs to have an ear infection, while mites could definitely affect the whole crew.

The only way to know for a fact it is ear mites is that they have had a good otoscopic exam by your veterinarian and they have had an ear swab checked under the microscope.

If one of them has been definitively diagnosed, then they probably all do have ear mites.

If they are really that freaked out, you may have to ask your veterinarian to give you a sedative for them. Milbemite Otic costs more than over-the-counter insecticide drops, but it's a one-time treatment. That's what I'd be going for.

When there is also ear infection and inflammation, I prefer daily treatment with Tresaderm.

Roger Racine

My kitten had earmites when we took him to get neutered and the vet gave me some Tresaderm to treat them. Since the neutering, he's been sleeping a lot more than usual. Is this because of the neutering or the Tresaderm?


Hello, Roger,
I would not expect this to be the result of the Tresaderm. I also wouldn't expect it after the neutering. Sometimes we send home pain medication that can make them drowsy.

Let your veterinarian know about this.


My cat (newly adopted stray) has ear mites, the vet prescribed cleaning followed by surolan for 3 weeks, we had already started Advocate spot on. However the mites persisted so yet another 3 weeks of surolan. Again no luck so we tried frontline spot on and in ears (much less scratching, little head shaking and scratching persisted when ears were touched). I took her back to the vet (saw a different one) she has given stronghold (revolution), which I applied yesterday. Still scratching/shaking head when ears are touched. I'm just worried after reading your previous posts, that it could be a yeast infection (ears do not smell at all), the vet smelt them, however she used a cotton bud in ears and pulled out loose brown/black liquid type wax. She suggested stronghold and regular cleaning, which I'm doing. Also my other cat (11 years old, doesn't have mites (according to the vet) why is this if they are so contagious? I have given her stronghold instead of her usual Advocate just in case! I also worry about the amount of strong stuff the stray has had over the past 5 months. Thank you


Hello, Eva,

Surolan should be very helpful if there is a yeast infection.

Stronghold (selamectin) is secreted in the ear wax, and is a good preventive for ear mites. I don't find that it will usually clear an active infection of ear mites.

The moxidectin in Advocate would certainly kill ear mites if it reached them, but I don't believe it gets secreted in the ear wax.

I think that cleaning the ears of debris with a flushing solution is very important.

I find that I have good results with Tresaderm. The thiabendazole in it usually kills the ear mites without difficulty.

You usually need something directly in the ear that kills mites.


Hello again,

Thank you very much for your reply,

Can you tell me if I can by Tresaderm without a prescription (I have been back and forth to the vets so many times now!), if not is there anything similar I can buy over the counter (we live in the UK)

Many thanks


Hello, Eva,

I do not believe that you can purchase Tresaderm over the counter.

Most OTC ear mite medications contain only an insecticide in an oily base.

I am sorry that I cannot give you a specific recommendation.

The only thing that strikes me in the history you have given me is that there doesn't seem to be anything to kill mites applied directly into the ear canal. I have usually found this to be a necessary part of the treatment.


Thank you for your suggestions, and for responding so quickly. I will go back to the vet and request tresaderm.


All of our seven cats got chiggers this fall. We were give a pyrethrin medicine, ADL brand, from the vet and treated them as prescribed. We were cleaning the ears prior to treatment as instructed. However, the bugs were tenacious and didn’t seem to be going away on two of the cats, so the vet gave them Milbemite at the office. It worked on one of the younger cats, but the other cat, perhaps being older, took to her bed and became lethargic, hair loss on stomach, feet and claws became infected. She still shook her head occasionally (as if the bugs were still there), and when walking would shake her legs as if to get off a sticky paper or water. She had blood work done for thyroid and kidneys, which came out normal. She was previously a healthy active cat with no issues.
Vet put her on antibiotics and prednisone, which seem to help a bit, but she still went downhill, lost much more hair – stomach almost bald, and rarely got out of bed. She eventually was put to sleep.. 2 months and 2 weeks after given ADL and less than 2 months after being given Milbemite. If not for the antibiotic and prednisone, she probably would have been gone much sooner.
The other cats got rid of their bugs, they had chiggers two years previously, usually got ear mites, and the treatments worked. This is the first time we tried Milbemite. Also, although the two meds were not given at exactly the same time, could there have been an overlapping effect? Both the drugs are neurotoxins, esp. the Milbemite. I realize that she was 14 years old, but a very healthy one as I said. Another one of our cats is the same age and was NOT given Milbemite, as the ADL was working for him. The vet had no answers, unless I wanted to get a biopsy, which was not a good idea due to her rapidly declining health. Maybe it was her immune system. Whatever it was, it was NO coincidence. Any thoughts?
Thank you.


Hello, Barbara,

The Milbemite Otic pretty much just sits in the ear. It's in a vehicle that allows it to work its way into the ear mite tunnels and kill the eggs. It is unlikely to get into the bloodstream, though.

That being said, we have seen a patient that developed vomiting problems and a very bad skin eruption after treatment with Advantage II, when she tolerated plain Advantage just fine.

Weird stuff happens.


My cat has a bad case of ear mites. My vet gave me Tresaderm and told me 10 drops in each ear daily until the bottle is gone. However I have two questions.

1. He never said anything about cleaning her ears so is that something I should do?
2. I just started today and am bringing her back in 2 weeks, but he didn't say anything about reapplying it or give me anything for the rest of the body. Should I be concerned or bring this up?

Thank you for your time.


Hello, Joshua,

If your doctor didn't feel that the ears needed to be cleaned, there may not have been a lot of debris in there.

10 drops is quite a bit, so it will probably loosen up debris and the cat will shake it out. Be sure to put the medicine in as deep as you can, and massage the ear canal to work it down inside. Hold on to the ear while you are doing it so that she doesn't shake it out before you get it worked down in there.

You don't need to treat the rest of the body, except in VERY rare cases.

If you use Revolution, that would treat the whole body, and take care of late hatchers ( the ear mites lay eggs in their tunnels in the ear canal lining).

I like to treat for a full ten days, since the eggs hatch out about 10 days after they are laid.


So I have a kitten who is four months old and a cat who is 8-10 (adopted) and when I took the kitten in for shots they found ear mites. Gave me a cleaning solution and her ears are all clearing up nicely. However my adult cat went in yesterday and got his ears flushed out. And I can see debris in his ear. The vet didn't give me any cleaning solution for his ears or comment any further. He also is so angry he won't let me at his ears. Is the debris anything I need to be concerned with?


Hello, Ashley,

If the infected kitten was in direct contact with the older cat for any length of time, it is possible that the older cat has become infected with ear mites.

I would ask your veterinarian if treatment to kill the mites has been prescribed. There is a one-dose treatment called Milbemite Otic, and you don't have to clean the ears before you apply it.

Revolution and Advantage Multi (NOT plain Advatage) will usually prevent ear mite infestation when used regularly each month.

You should give your veterinarian this feedback on what you are seeing, and ask what was done, and what still needs to be done. The doctor may think that he/she has answered all your questions. Let him/her know that you need more information.


Do you know how long it takes for a bad case of ear mites to no longer be contagious if treated with ivermectin? I am going to be fostering a puppy with a bad case of mites and I do not want to bring him home if he will infect my entire household....


Hello, Angel,

If you are applying the ivermectin directly into the ear canals, I would expect things to stop being contagious within a few days. I would still recommend treating for the full 10 day period, plus a follow up at day 20 and day 30. I do not usually treat the ears with that product, but it should work. Tresaderm is my favorite.


I have a nursing cat, can she be treated for ear mites? Or do I have to wait till she done nursing?


Hello, Amy,

I would go ahead and treat. There is unlikely to be any systemic absorption from local treatment of the ear canals. If you don't, she'll infect the kittens, too (if it hasn't happened already).


Hi, I have a cat that has had ear mites for a few months. I tried OTC medication at first, then Revolution, and now one dose of Milbemite. I gave him the dose day before yesterday. I see brown stuff in his ears today. Should I clean them out with oil? Thank you.


Hello, J.,

The time to clean out the ears would have been BEFORE you put the Milbemite otic in there.

I have seen pretty good results putting Milbemite in dirty ears. It's good stuff.

It is not a preventive medication.

Revolution isn't all that great at treating an active infection, but is very good at preventing re-infestations.

If you use Milbemite OTic, and follow-up with monthly Revolution, you should be good.

If not, you may have some other kind of ear problem that is not mites in the first place.


My poor kitty has ear mites, and I tried baby oil to loosen up the debris. Her poor ear is red now. I'm hoping it's from the extra shaking and itching she's been doing, and not from the baby oil. Any suggestions?

Rhonda Scott

I have a feral cat living on my porch. My vet gave me a vial of revolution because the cat has ear mites (i think) one ear is collapsed and the other looks squishy and the skin is whiteish and balding around the ears. He will not let me touch him. I can touch his back end briefly but getting to his neck is hard without spooking him. I wanted to give him the first dose and then trap him for the 2nd dose because I was told to get rid of we really need 2 doses. I know I will spook him after I trap him and he may not return for awhile. He left for approx 9 months after i neutered him. Finally the question.....Will revolution work if I can put it on his back closer to his tail???? Thanks


Hello, Lizz,

The baby oil should certainly loosen up the debris, but it wouldn't do much to kill the mites or their eggs (in the tunnels they've dug in the ear canal skin).

You need to follow up with something to kill the mites. Milbemite Otic is a one-dose treatment. Most need to be used daily for 10 days, and I like to do a follow-up at day 20 and day 30 in case there are any late hatchers.

All cats and dogs that are in direct contact need to be treated.


Hello, Rhonda,

Revolution has to be applied beneath the hair, directly on the skin. It is absorbed into the skin, like water going into a sponge. In two hours, it is in the cat's bloodstream, rather than on the skin.

It is put between the shoulders or on the neck so that the cat cannot reach it to lick it off. It won't hurt the cat, but it doesn't work if you eat it.

Most drugs leave the body in the wastes. Revolution (selamectin) leaves in the skin oils, including ear wax.

This usually prevents infection with ear mites. If the infection is well established, it may not be totally effective in handling a severe infestation.


I notice my dog had some brown debris then began to dry through the outer , I began cleaning his ear(only one ear seems to have that) I cleaned it with olive oil, then I bought an over the counter medicine "Petarmor". I been using that for a whole week and a half, the debris seems to decrease but atheres days he had less or some moe and still looks red, is there any other medications over the counter? Also how long is this going to take to treat? I clean his poor ear everyday twice a day, please help! I don't want it to get worse.


Also how can I distinguish if my dig has an ear infection or ear mites?

Layla Zack

My male cat who is nearly 2 years old has what i think is a bad case of ear mites. I'm currently struggling to find a job and am pretty much broke. Is there any sort of plan that vets have for people like me? I don't want my cat to suffer, and I now he needs to be treated before it gets worse. ( I'm getting rather sick of hearing that I shouldn't even be owing a pet with my lack of finances...I lost my job unexpectedly >.< )
Also....do mites get affected by high temperatures? Because I've noticed on cooler days his ears don't bother him, but on hotter days he's not a happy kitty.

Layla Zack

Sorry, typo I meant that i know he needs treatment


Hello, Esme,

Examining the debris under a microscope is the only way to tell whether you have yeast, bacteria, mites, or what. There is no one medicine that treats them all.

It is also possible to have a foreign object deep in the ear canal. This is more likely in cases that have only one ear affected, as your dog does.

The dog needs to have your veterinarian scope his ear and get a diagnosis so that proper treatment can be done. Throwing one medicine after another into the ear is not the right thing to do.


Hello, Layla,

I understand about the finances. I'm not sure what to tell you in regard to over the counter treatments, as there are multiple potential causes.

I would be surprised if the outdoor temperature had much effect on ear mites. It's already 101 inside the ear in a normal cat.

If there is an allergic component to the problem, I could see how that might be better on cooler days.

As to a plan to help people who are without funds, there are some humane society clinics that do provide that type of service. For my own clients, if I have had a working relationship with them already, then I do try to work with them until they get on their feet.

It's a little hard to work for free. Your help expect to get paid, your suppliers expect to get paid, the utility company expects to get paid, the phone company expects to get paid. Even if I wanted to work for nothing myself, it still costs me about $38,000 per month to run the place. And I'm not a big hospital.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions I hav . I will make an appointment to my dogs Vet, for now I will continue to clean his ear, is it okay if I still clean it twice a day? Also he likes to cuddle with me in bed or living room, will that be any harm for myself?


Hello, Esme,
It won't hurt to keep cleaning the outer portion of his ear. It is unlikely to be contagious to you in any way.


Thank you again!!! I appreciate it very much.


We recently adopted a 4 month old kitten who was given a first ear more treatment (not known what type) when examined by vet for shelter. We took him to our vet who confirmed ear mites under microscope and gave him advantage multi. We have another cat in house but vet recommended keeping kitten sequestered for a week in separate room to reduce chances of our other cat getting mites. My question is how do we know if kitten is truly not contagious anymore? We weren't told anything about cleaning out his ears and definitely can see gunk still in his ears. With this being 2nd treatment in month and after a week since last treatment, would you consider it safe to expose our other cat to him? Please advise. Thanks so much!


Hello, Jasmine,

I haven't used Advantage Multi to treat ear mites, and cannot give you specific advice. My experience with other treatments has been that a follow-up in 2 weeks is a good idea.

You should probably be okay, but you should ask your doctor what he/she thinks.


Hi Doc,

I brought home a 10 week old kitten last week with ear mites. The vet gave me an aloe based cleaning solution to use everyday & Otomite Plus Ear Miticide to use twice a week. I have a 10 year old cat in the house that I've kept 100% away from the kitten. They have not been in direct contact with each other or even in the same area of the house but they have both been in direct contact with me. Can I transfer the ear mites from one cat to the other (via clothing, skin, hair, etc)? The drops make my kitten so uncomfortable, I really don't want to treat my other cat if she doesn't need it.

Thank you!!!


Hello, TNT,

Transmission of the ear mites usually requires pretty direct contact between the cats. It is unlikely that you would transfer it indirectly between the cats.

Lola and Ollie

Hi, I love this blog it is awesome and provides 10xs more info than the "geniuses" at Petco, anyway I have two kittens one is 6 weeks old, him I just got and he had ear mites when I got him and the other is 12 weeks, I knew that the younger one had ear mites, he was shaking his head and scratching at his ears and had the "coffee grounds" in his ears. There is no irritation on his ears, no cuts or bleeding or soreness. I was wondering if revolution is OK to give to the both of them? I noticed that my older one is shaking her head and scratching also but doesn't have the coffee grounds but they have only been together for 4 days. Thank you so much!! Your site will now be recommended by me


Hello, Lola and Ollie,

Revolution should be okay for the older cat who doesn't have a lot of crud in his ears.

I believe Revolution says "8 weeks and older", though, so (even though probably safe) probably should use Tresaderm or Milbemite Otic or some other ear mite preparation for the younger cat.

Also, when the ears are really cruddy, I haven't had as much success with using Revolution alone. It's great as a preventive, and with early infections.


hey! My kitten margo has had several treatments of revolution and one dose of milbemite which the vets said would cure the ear mites after one use. its been 2 weeks since that dose and she still has ear mites really bad. shes gotten to the point where she has scratched her ears so much she has scratched off the fur on both sides of her face and she just looks so pitiful. she has been getting quite a few fevers i just dont know what to do. please help!!!


Hello, Victoria,

The treatments you have described would usually eliminate an ear-mite problem.

If there is no continuing exposure to other cats as a source of re-infection, then I would suspect that your cat has some additional problem besides ear mites.

Time for a recheck appointment.


Hi there.

My two cats have earmites. I am having them treated but my question is, can earmites travel? I just recently moved into my parents and my two cats stay downstairs. THEY NEVER GO UPSTAIRS. and my parents have one dog and one cat who NEVER GO DOWNSTAIRS. are my parents animals at risk of getting them even though they NEVER come into contact with mine?


Hello, Nichole,

Ear mites are not like bed-bugs. They are transmitted by direct, body-to-body (usually head to head) contact.

I do not anticipate any problems in your situation.


Hey! I have a 4 months old tabby cat , we got her from a pet store when she was 2 months old , my husband and me noticed she has a little bit of black dots in her ears we noticed she was scratching her ear with her feet frecuently I thought it was just ear wax it didn't seem she got more than she already had after 2 motnhs later .I bought "Sentry Earmite Free Ear Miticide for Cats" from the pet store i been trying to put some in the ear since four days ago twice a day it's pretty hard thoguh it seems she get more in her fur, tonight we just cleaned her ears with a Q-tip dipped in ear miticide and cleaned up some blood now her ears looks clean i wonder if what we are doing is correct and good for my kitten and also if this sounds like ear mites or something else . thank you beforehand i appreciate your help since right now i can't take her to the vet


Hello, Marge,

The most common cause of ear problems in a kitten like this would certainly be ear mites. However, it is also possible to have an ear infection. Your ear mite medicine will kill the bugs, but not bacteria or yeast, if the ear is infected.

Sometimes you have mites and infections at the same time.

Please do not dig around in the ears with a Q-tip. You tend to pack things down instead of lifting them out. It is okay to use the Q-tip to clean up junk that you can see on the outside.

It would certainly be better to take your kitten to a veterinarian.

If this is absolutely not possible, then I would put a few drops of mineral oil into each ear and massage it. Do this for 3 or 4 days. This will loosen up the wax and debris, and the kitten will shake it out.

Then start putting your ear mite medicine drops in the ear. I would do this daily for 10 days, and repeat on day 20 and day 30 to catch any late hatching mites.



I just found out my kitten has ear mites and my vet did give me medicine and she actually did the first dose for me today. Now my kitten is very irritated in her ears and keeps meowing. Do you think it is just because of the mites freaking out because of the medicine or could she be having a reaction to the medicine?



Hello, Haley,
I hope that by now your kitten is feeling better. Generally, the mites just die, rather than "freaking out" and causing more irritation. Some cats do get upset just because their ears are full of medicine, even though the medicine is not really irritating (like having your ears full of water). It is possible to be allergic to virtually anything. If your kitten is still having problems, I hope that you have contacted your veterinarian to let them know what is going on. In a situation like this, a recheck exam with the doctor who has seen your cat would be the best thing to do.


Hello. My 17 year old cat is in her 2nd week of treatment for mites. My vet says they most likely are a result of her weakened immune system. (diabetes plus chronic Prednisolone use for IBD. My question is, since she will most likely always have a weakened immune system, will the mites keep coming back, or worse yet, will they even go away at all? :(


Hello, Amy,

Ear mites don't come out of the sky. They are only acquired by direct contact, skin to skin, with an infected cat.

It is certainly true that a cat with a weakened immune system could take longer to recover. You would think that if you are using insecticide-like chemicals to kill bugs, it wouldn't matter what the cat's immune system was doing. It does, though. The body's defenses do make a contribution, along with the medicines. An immunosuppressed patient could certainly be more challenging to treat, requiring a longer course of therapy.

In a case like this, I would be adding Revolution (selamectin), in case the mites are being harbored just outside the ears where your topical treatment wouldn't necessarily reach. In years past, I have been told by the parasitiologist to dip the cat, as the mites might be temporarily just outside the ear. They also have noted that some cats sleep with their tails curled around them, and the mites could get on the tail tip temporarily.

Instead of dipping, Revolution is much more effective, as the selamectin is secreted in all the skin oil glands ( and the ear-wax, too).

The doctor who is seeing your pet is the best person to advise you. Let him/her now that you still have questions about the treatment plan.


We are fostering a small cat/kitten (?) She cried at our doorstep one night and we couldn't turn her away. Problem is she has fleas and ear mites. I am unemployed and can't afford vet bills. Family and friends have donated food and treatment products. I don't know if they will work. We used Hartz ultra guard flea and tick prevention drops and ear mite treatment. Are these products harmful to her if ingested? She seems to be licking residual medication as she grooms herself. Please advise.


Hello, Terri,
If the product label says it is approved for kittens, then they have had to consider that cats groom themselves when testing it for safety.

It is always possible to have a bad reaction to something, but if the label states it is approved for kittens, then it will probably be okay.



I have a 6 month old kitten which we got from a barn. When we got her she had ear mites - the people we got her from said they gave her one dose of medication and the vet prescribed us 2 doses of revolution which we applied. The last dose was applied at the beginning of July. I've recently noticed that she is scratching every once and a while and shaking her head, not all the time but enough that I am noticing it. However her ears look clean, when we first got her the vet showed us how brown they were but never cleaned them out or actually swabbed to double check after her last treatment. I think she might still have a mild case? Can I potentially just re-treat her without a check up and what meds would you recommend or should I bring her to the vet just to be sure? Trying to avoid an unnecessary cost if possible.


Hello, Kieri,

My experience has been that Revolution is great as a preventive for ear mites, and really good as follow-up to treatment to prevent recurrence as the eggs hatch out. Also good if I suspect exposure, but ears are not funky.

Sometimes if ear is full of crud, there is also secondary ear infection which needs to be treated.

It is also possible to be re-infected if exposed to other cats.

In a case like that, if the cat had been doing well, I probably would have stayed with Revolution on a monthly basis to prevent re-infection from other cats and from weird late-hatching eggs.

That might take care of things, but I often have to treat daily for a while with something like Tresaderm.

Best would be to get the ears rechecked by your veterinarian. It could be something entirely different.


My kitten was treated for ear mites at the vet the day after we brought him home. She told me that his treatment should kill all live mites within 30 minutes. She also used a solution and some q-tips to gently clean the gunk out of his ears. However, it's 2 weeks later and he's still itching and there's still a bit of that brown residue left in his ears. I gently cleaned the the outermost parts of the inside of his ear, but I don't feel confident going any deeper. Is it possible he still has mites? Or is it common for this residue to stay without mites present? Any advice on how to better clean his ears? He was only about 5 weeks old when rescued, so he's still too young for preventative treatment. He's scheduled to go to the vet in 2 weeks for his first shots so I plan to ask the vet soon too for her opinion.


Hello, Livi,

I'm not sure what your veterinarian has used to treat the ears. There is a product called Milbemite Otic that is advertised to be a one-dose treatment, and you don't even have to clean the ears. I tested this with a household full of cats once and it worked as advertised.

However, I have treated the occasional cat with it and found that I still needed to do follow-up treatment. This may be because it didn't fully penetrate the debris, or perhaps because some eggs in the tunnels were not inactivated.

It is certainly possible that follow-up treatment will be needed. I might not wait two more weeks on this. I would recommend that you contact the veterinarian who treated the cat and let her know your concerns.


Thank you so much for your advice! I'll give the vet a call today and see if she wants me to bring him earlier. I just don't want it to spread through the house. :)


Hello, Livi,
Fortunately, ear mites really cannot live long off the animal. They don't infest your home the way fleas do.


I've searched the internet for quite some time trying to find help with ear mites. Cats have seen the vet, given medication and nothing has worked. I have to say there is more good information, explanations and common sense on your website than 100 other pages. You are to be commended for your work and your thoughtful responses. Thank you, I think we'll get this under control..finally.


Hello, Caren,
Thanks for your kind words.

My first concern would be whether or not you are dealing with an ear infection or mites (or both). If you have been working that hard to control the mites, and you are still having problems, I'd be concerned that there is some additional factor.

It is important to treat all the cats at the same time. In addition to treating the ears with Milbemite, or Tresaderm (my two favorites), I would want to treat with Revolution, as this would help with follow-up in late hatching eggs in the ear, plus deal with any mites that might be living just outside the ear canal temporarily. There are even reports of cats who sleep with tail curled around their face, and the tail temporarily harbors the mites.

If the cats go outside, they can be re-infected by outside cats. The Revolution would prevent that from happening.

Fortunately, they do not live off the host in the environment for any significant length of time. You don't have to worry about spraying the home, as you would with flea problems.

Nikki DesChamps

Wonderful blog....."Thank You!"


Hello, Nikki,
Thanks for your kind words.


My kitten was prescribed ottomite for her ears. I used as directed and finished her first round last Tuesday. Here ears are now dry and cracked and even losing fur. I read about otomite this morning but can't find anything on this reaction. Also, the directions for ottomite plus was to use not more than once a week. My prescription was not for plus and it was to be used for 7 days straight. I am start another round next week

1. Should I be concerned about this dryness? Or is it a common reaction?
2. How do I help my kitten get her ears back to normal.


Hello, Janet,

I would say that this is not a common side effect of the medication. I would be concerned that there is some additional problem, possibly a fungal infection of the area.

You really should contact your veterinarain about this development.


I gave my cats an over the counter ear mite solution, now their ears are soooo red, like an Allergic reaction. Any ideas to relieve it? I'm throwing to bottle away too


Hello, Amy,

It should be safe to rub the areas you can reach with a hydrocortisone cream, but don't pack it into the ear canals.

See your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Thank you


Hello, I adopted my kitten from the pound about a month ago and when I brought her to the vet they told me she has ear mites. They prescribed me ear cleaning solution, tresaderm, and an antibiotic and I've been cleaning her ears once a day and giving her tresaderm ear drops, 4 in each ear, twice a day. I give her the antibiotics twice a day, it says to give it with food but I've been giving her food then waiting about half an hour to give her the medicine so she can digest the food a little because the first time I did it right after she ate, she threw up. I've also noticed that since I've been giving her the antibiotics she's been making this wet purring/growling/breathing sound, and she's been heaving as if she wants to throw up. Is this normal? She had not done either before i started giving her medication. The receptionist at the vet told me to stop giving her the antibiotic. We have a drop off appointment scheduled for Tuesday and a check up appointment for the mites on Friday. My other question is about how long could it take for her to be cured of the mites? I have been giving her tresaderm since last Friday. I am going across the country to spend the holidays with my family on Saturday, but I can't board her around other animals if she has ear mites. Please get back to me, thanks so much!


Hello, Carlie,

You should really talk with the doctor who is seeing your pet. It is certainly possible that the cat could be made nauseated by the antibiotic, but that's not the only possible cause of the vomiting.

Usually, I feel that the cat will be non-contagious after 10 days of treatment, though I do like to do one follow-up treatment on day 20 and day 30. This is to catch any eggs that have hatched out at a later time than the usual ten days after the mite laid them in their tunnels.

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