Treating infestation of ear mites can take months


September 24, 1994|By Gina Spadafori | Gina Spadafori,McClatchy News Service

I've been cleaning out my office for weeks now, trying to win a bet with a friend over who can get organized faster. Working like a pack of crazed weasels, I won the bet and, in the process, I unearthed not only a few good pet questions, but also the resources to answer them.

Q: When we took our new kitten to the vet's, she said he had ear mites. We used the medication, but they came back right away. How do we get rid of them?

A: Ear mites live in the ear canal, nibbling on the lining and feeding off the secretions caused by the irritation. The pests are easily spread from animal to animal, and they are tough to get rid of once established, since their eggs are hardy.

Their scratchings leave the surface of the ear canal more prone to infection, and if left untreated for a long time, the damage they leave behind can spell trouble for years to come.

The pests are treated by applying medicine to kill the mites, adding antibiotics in the more severe cases.

I'd guess you treated until the mites disappeared, and then stopped. That's just not enough with these pests. You must continue long after the signs of the first infestation have vanished in order to kill off the next generations of hatchlings.

Four months of attention is often required at 10-day intervals after the initial treatment. Consult your veterinarian for more guidance.

Q: Our question concerns where to leave our dog when we can't take her with us.

We have a great little poodle we have spoiled rotten. Consequently, we are looking for a place where she will be played with and petted as well as fed, and we don't want to use boarding kennels. We don't want to impose on our friends.

A: I suspect there are few people who are going to spoil your dog the way you do, but for one-on-one care, you have some options: Hire a pet-sitter; trade care with another pet-loving friend; or take your dog with you. A good boarding kennel should not be ruled out, either.

Creative thinking is the order of the day when looking for a pet-sitter. Many a young adult or mature teen would relish having house of their own" for a length of time. Young adults with roommates may also love a bit of privacy, and your house may fit the bill. Ask your friends for suggestions or advertise at work, and you may be able to turn up a young dog-lover who would adore your pet and your house.

If leaving a young person in your house makes you nervous, there are also professional pet-sitting services that offer the comfort of reliable, bonded adults.

If a pet-sitter doesn't suit, why not placate your put-upon friends by returning the favor for their pets? This can be the best solution of all, since your pet is guaranteed a loving environment at likely no cost to you -- except your time, when your friends need your help in return.

Q: Can dogs see TV? Our Lab occasionally will show some interest in the set (especially when a dog barks on a program), but it doesn't last for long.

A: Although dogs are able to see TV, they aren't that interested because they can't smell it and usually don't hear anything worth listening to. And in their book, it may sound like a dog and look like a dog, but if it doesn't smell like a dog, it isn't.

You might have noticed the same reaction around mirrors: An animal -- especially a young one -- may be startled at the sight of another in the mirror, and may even move to greet or challenge it, but it won't be long before the dog takes a sniff and decides it's someone's idea of a joke. If their eyes tell them one thing and their nose says another, the nose wins every time.

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