Ask A Vet: There Is Brown Stuff Coming From My Dog’s Ears! Does She Have Ear Mites?


Dogs get ear infections. In fact, according to pet insurance claims, ear infections (otitis externa) are one of the top 10 most common claims.

We also get a lot of phone calls about adult dogs with brown discharge coming from their ears. Most people say that they have treated him/her for ear mites with something that they got over the counter and it did not seem to work. I have even seen products at pet and sporting goods stores labeled for the treatment of ear mites in dogs. Well, the reason it does not seem to work is that adult dogs do not appear to get ear mites.


In almost 20 years in practice, have never diagnosed ear mites in an adult dog. The mites are easy to find with a swab and a microscope, if you know what you are looking for, and I never fail to check. I just haven’t ever found any.

Over the counter ear mite medications say that they are for dogs and cats and I am sure that if there were bugs in your dog’s ear, the product would help, but except for the occasional puppy, only cats are afflicted with ear mites.

Adding an unnecessary cream to a dog’s infected ear can only complicate and prolong a painful situation. There is no benefit to applying insecticidal cream in these cases. Would you want bug killer in your ear when you did not have bugs? Me either.

That brown goo coming from your dog’s ears is more likely to be from a yeast infection, which will require prescription medication. Don’t waste your money, your effort, and your dog’s stress. See a vet.

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Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
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