Treating Your Cat's or Dog's Ear Infection

Treating Your Cat's or Dog's Ear Infection
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If your pet has been diagnosed with an ear infection, you'll need to start treatment. Learn which kinds of treatment are appropriate for your pet's ear infection here.

Once the veterinarian has diagnosed your cat or dog with an ear infection, there are a few approaches to treatment from which to choose. Depending on the cause of the infection, treatment can be as simple as a good ear flush or cleaning, or may include steroids and antibiotics. If the cause of the infection stems from tumors or cancer, surgery may be necessary.

Steroids and Antibiotics

A common treatment cat or dog ear infections medicine is a combination of topical or systemic corticosteroids and topical or oral antibiotics. The corticosteroids work to reduce swelling in the afflicted area, relieving pain and possibly reducing hearing loss due to inflammation blockage. The antibiotics, like mometamax or Tresaderm, are used to fight the bacterial growth in the infection. Some common topical antibiotics prescribed for ear infections are Mometamax, Otomax ointment, and Tresaderm, while commonly prescribed oral antibiotics include Amoxicillin, Clindamycin, and Baytril Otic drops.


If the veterinarian determines the cause of the ear infection is fungus or yeast, a fungicide medication may be prescribed. Itraconazole and Ketoconazole are commonly prescribed fungicides, and are very effective at clearing up excessive fungus or yeast.

Treatment of Parasites

Ear mites, fleas, and ticks can be eradicated by thoroughly cleaning the ear, and using an oral or topical anti-parasitic medication, such as Revolution. It may be necessary to use in addition to antibiotics, if a secondary infection is bacterial.

Homeopathic and Allergy Treatment

If the ear infection is caused by allergic reactions to environmental particles, some veterinarians may choose an holistic approach. Increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids your dog or cat ingests, may reduce the inflammation response. Products such as Yucca Intensive are believed to reduce inflammation response and allergic reaction, reducing the likelihood of scratching that may lead to infection. Steroids also reduce the inflammation response to allergies.

Surgical Treatment

Sometimes, when the veterinarian has diagnosed the dog or cat with a tumor on the earflap or in the canal, surgery is necessary. While the surgery does not directly treat the infection, removing the tumor can reduce the blockage and irritation. Even if the tumor is benign, if it is causing chronic infection or hearing loss, the veterinarian may recommend surgical removal. Steroids and antibiotics are often prescribed pre-and post-surgery to prevent further damage.

Treating Your Cat or Dog's Ear Mites

It is important that your dog or cat sees a veterinarian if you suspect an ear mite infestation, so that the best decision can be made about treatment. Do not try to treat your animal without the advice or supervision of a veterinarian, because the ear canals are very sensitive, and lead to the ear drum, which is easily damaged.

Ear drops are commonly prescribed for ear mite infestations. Depending on the drops, they may contain an insecticide to kill the mites, and end their life cycle, preventing eggs from hatching and causing the infestation to reappear. If the ear mites have caused an ear infection, the ear drops may also be antibiotics or steroids intended to fight the bacteria and reduce swelling. R-7M is an ear mite treatment drop that is effective for cats and dogs, and uses Pyrethrin insecticide to rid the ear canals of the infestation.

Topical medications are usually spot-on topical insecticides, intended for monthly application, to prevent future ear mite infestations. Products such as Advantage MULTI for CATS and Revolution work to eliminate ear mites by causing paralysis and death to the parasite.

Ivermectin is a medication for the control of an ear mite infestation, but differs from most because it can be administered either orally, or by injection. The benefit being less mess then topical medications and single dosage, whereas drops require multiple dosage usually.

Ear cleansers, such as Epi Otic, are recommended because they can gently be used to remove debris from the canal, clearing blockage, and possibly returning hearing abilities to normal. Cleansers are also useful in the prevention of future infestations. If the ears are cleaned regularly, the mites fail to reproduce. Keeping the ear canals free of debris, may also protect the ear drum from damage, and infection from thriving. It is important to follow the cleansing directions to the exact specifications, and never insert a Q-tip into the canal, even if you believe you can remove obstruction. Insertion can easily result in serious damage to the eardrum, and can force debris further into the canal, causing the ear to become inflamed and infected.

Homeopathic Treatment can be effective as long as you consult with your veterinarian. Some vets may recommend gently flushing the ear out with a mixture of distilled water and apple cider vinegar. Mineral oil or almond oil may be gently massaged into the outer ear flaps. The ear mites move into the oil, and become smothered by it.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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