I see about 3-5 cases of ear infections per day in veterinary practice. It is indeed one of the most common ailments that I treat in dogs and cats. Of those 3-5 cases per day that I treat, about 30% of the pet owners bring the pet in firmly believing that their pet is infected with ear mites. According to Dr. Google, that is what it must be. Often they come to me “knowing” the diagnosis but just need to get through the formality of the visit to get the good treatment that big pharma only reserves for veterinarians; because the OTC ear mite drops they got at the pet store did not clear up the infection.
In fact, my inspiration for writing this article this evening was the result of a call from a client who asked me to dispense medication for his cat’s case of ear mites. I relayed the message through one of my technicians that I cannot just dispense medication without examining the patient, checking an ear swab under the microscope to confirm the nature of the infection (in order to choose the appropriate treatment to resolve it), and to inspect the condition of the ear drum to make certain topical therapy is even safe. The owner dismissed my recommendation and instead came in to purchase Revolution because in addition to killing fleas, it also successfully treats mites which his strictly indoor, pampered house cat must have.
With regard to treating ear mites, Dr. Google was in fact correct that Revolution can be an effective treatment for ear mites in addition to its other valuable preventive activities…if only the cat actually HAD mites, all would be well. But alas, this owner will soon find out that his cat does not have ear mites but instead has a far more common case of a bacterial or yeast infection. I suspect I will be seeing him and his cat some time early next week.
Let us return to the 3-5 cases of ear infections I see per day. Of all those ear infections, perhaps 2-3 PER YEAR actually turn out to be a case of ear mites. In those few cases of ear mites that I confirm, it is usually seen in pet store or backyard breeder bought kittens and puppies or in strays. It is almost never a well cared for adult dog or cat that presents with ear mites.
Seriously, I do this for a living, I did not just sleep at Holiday Inn Express last night. 🙂
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of subjects and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.
Treatment depends entirely on the hidden cause. It can extend from the use of topical prescription to murder parasites to long haul hypersensitivity treatment including a multipronged approach with oral or potentially topical treatment (at any rate for the time being) and a limited eating routine as well as immunotherapy.