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Mometamax warning

I know that Golden Retrievers often experience ear problems, so I thought I would post this account about my recent scary experience with the ear medication, Mometamax.

Fred was on a 10-day course of Mometamax for wax and inflammation in his ears. I never take or administer any medication without first reading all the fine print, so I noted the warning that Mometamax can cause deafness or hearing loss in some dogs. It concerned me, of course, but since Fred’s ears had been examined before we started the drug, I knew that his ear drums were in tact and therefore tried to dismiss my worries. He also had his teeth cleaned 3 days after starting the Mometamax, and while he was anesthetized, they once again examined and cleaned his ears.

I had begun to notice that Fred seemed vaguely disoriented and not quite himself midway through the course of Mometamax, but I thought he might be reacting to the trauma of the teeth-cleaning, so I just watched him carefully. In most ways, he seemed fine. I couldn’t put my finger on what seemed wrong about him.

Three days after the final Mometamax treatment, we called Fred’s name to head up to the house from the barn after feeding the horses. Fred was, as usual, waiting in his dog bed in the tack room. He didn’t react at all to his name. We started calling him louder and louder, and he still didn’t react. For a very bad moment, we thought he was dead. When I touched him, however, he jumped up, ready to return to the house with us. Instantly, I remembered the warning on the Mometamax and realized that he was totally deaf.

I ran to the house and reread the Mometamax fine print to see whether there was any protocol for treating hearing loss, caused by the drug. It was past midnight, so I was on my own. The fine print recommended flushing the ears with nonotoxic ear wash, so I did that twice with Epi-Otic, although I worried that so much time had elapsed since his last Mometamax dose it might be hopeless. We tried various tests (saying Fred’s name without moving or giving him any other cue and calling him from other rooms), and he seemed to be able to hear if we spoke loudly enough.

In the morning, I called the vet to report what had happened and find out whether there was anything further I could do. His recommendation was that we wait several days before flushing Fred’s ears again or putting anything at all in them. Meanwhile, Fred has shown convincing signs that he can hear, although I’m not sure whether he’s got the stellar hearing he had before this happened. He does seem to be improving, though.

Sooooooo . . . here’s my 2 cents: watch out for Mometamax and take that warning about hearing loss very seriously. It’s one thing to have a dog lose its hearing due to old age, but quite another to believe you have done something to CAUSE the hearing loss. I’m tremendously relieved that Fred appears to be recovering.


1 Lisa S. Lawrence { 03.17.16 at 1:36 am }

I have had black labs for years and they never had any ear infections but now I to put some Posatex in both of Flicka’s ears. Not having a clue how to do this, I went online and, luckily saw your story!! I’m going online and research Posatex before a drop goes in her ear. I’m glad Fred got some of his hearing back and, by the way, thank you, Fred, for your input.

2 pat { 03.23.16 at 6:09 pm }

Posatex also can cause hearing loss.

3 Erica { 04.09.16 at 11:14 pm }

I found this blog in my frantic searching online and wanted to share my story to warn others. My 13 yr old black lab Zoe was taken in for her annual physical recently. Unbeknownst to me, she has an ear infection and was given Posatex to take. After 6 doses of this drug, Zoe is completely deaf. She’s in great spirits (still eating, going on walks, interacting with our family, wanting to play). Her hearing was fine before I started
the treatment. I’m so frustrated, angry and heartbroken. I’m going to call my vet Mon morning. I’m also going to call Merek and the FDA. In the meantime if there’s any home remedies I can do or give her that you think would make her feel better, please share. Praying that my girl can recover at least some of her hearing.

4 Dana { 04.10.16 at 11:27 pm }

I have just read all this blog since 2010 and 353 people commenting on losing the dogs hearing because of this awful medication Why in gods name has nothing been done in all this time? It just happened today to Our 11 year old boxer named Bailey. It’s Sunday so I’m calling my Vet tomorrow. I am just dumbfounded and astonished that this drug is still on the market. My wife and I have been crying all day. Is there no place to turn? We are just lost. Thanks everyone for your comments and advice in this blog. Please email me if anyone can give me any more advice please.

5 Erica { 04.11.16 at 2:45 pm }

Dana- what did your vet say and do when you called them today? I called Merek (maker of the drug)and now I have a Merek Vet that’s talking to my vet. Just waiting to hear back from my vet on what course of action is next.

6 pat { 04.12.16 at 6:42 pm }

Flushing your pups ears repeatedly has helped some Erica and Dana.

7 Jennifer Kalt { 04.13.16 at 2:54 am }

First I noticed my dog seemed to hear from the wrong direction, like her hearing was bad in one ear. Then her hearing came back – weird. Now she has gone so deaf I thought she was dead after 3 days of Mometamax in both ears. She’s geriatric and when I dug the paper with the fine print out of the package I’ve had since it was prescribed in 2013, I read the warning: has been associated with deafness or partial hearing loss in a small number of sensitive dogs (e.g geriatric). The hearing loss is usually temporary. If hearing loss or vestibular dysfunction is noted, discontinue use immediately and flush with nonototoxic solution. Then the warnings about renal toxicity, skin irritation, and a bunch of things I don’t know what they are. I hope her hearing comes back again!! But what to do about the occasional ear infections?

8 pat { 04.13.16 at 8:05 am }

Zymox which is over the counter, available easily from Amazon and most pet stores, and a better quality food.

9 Sandra { 04.20.16 at 11:29 pm }

My beloved rescued Shih Tzu was given Mometamax on Saturday, 4/16/16 for an ear yeast infection. She seemed to act a little different on Monday. By Tuesday, I was thinking she could not hear me, but it wasn’t completely clear. Today she didn’t respond to me again and she would not go down the steps on the deck. She is a senior, but hs not had any problem with either one in the past. My husband and I discussed it this evening and we realized that she in fact, can no longer hear. I began to look up the information on the Mometamax, since the package gave no information. If there is anything written on the box, the vet’s office covered it with the label. Of course I discovered the horrifying news. I immediately flushed out her ears and will do so again in the morning. In the meantime, I will pray that her hearing will return. This is truly heartbreaking. Not one word from the vet about potential side effects. I will be calling them tomorrow and requesting help for my girl in addition to requesting a refund of the $53+ I was charged for this medication that has left my precious baby deaf. I will definitely be reporting to Merk and to FDA. This drug needs to be discontinued and those responsible need to be fined heavily!!

10 pat { 04.21.16 at 6:08 pm }

So sorry Sandra. Hope your girl’s hearing returns.

11 Jen { 04.26.16 at 10:51 pm }

Our Westie had a vet checkup yesterday for a small bacterial and yeast infection in her left ear (right ear was perfect). She also had her booster shot and was prescribed Tri Otic which is a generic version of Ottomax. They put one dose in both ears (don’t know why it had to be both) at 3:30pm PST and I haven’t put anything in since. Last night she couldn’t hear us at all. Today she seems like she can hear us but sometimes has trouble knowing where then sound is coming from. Should I do an ear flush to get the medicine out? She can hear squeaky toys very well but when we talk she still can’t hear us. Any help is greatly appreciated!

12 pat { 04.28.16 at 8:39 am }

Jen, she probably still has an ear infection. Try Zymox 1% available on Amazon or at specialty pet stores. It is doubtful that just one dose would cause hearing loss, but yes, flush her ears.

13 Jen { 04.28.16 at 11:27 am }

Thanks Pat for responding. I got a check up with our vet and he did a saline flush after verifying there was some medication goop left on the eardrum from application. After the flush, my dog’s hearing was much better! Still recovering though, as she is not 100% in her left ear (mild infection) but the vet said it would be cleared up within a few weeks. Hoping this helps others who went through what I did!

14 Jen { 04.30.16 at 11:07 pm }

Just updating: it seems like she was progressively getting better (right ear but left ear isn’t hearing much because it was the one that was infected) but then today she seems worse. Should I be flushing her ears out more often? My vet said no and to wait until next Wednesday and then call back. I’m afraid there’s a window where if I don’t do anything then it’ll be worse than it should. I can’t believe one dose did this to her and want to do anything to help her recover faster and get as much of her hearing back as possible.

15 Jen { 05.05.16 at 2:36 pm }

Update: My dog has been improving but she doesn’t hear much while sleeping. It’s been a week since I had her ears flushed at the vet and I also got a second opinion this past Monday. The new vet said her eardrums were both intact and that there was nothing in the ear canals except for some inflammation. I’m still wondering if I should flush her ears out with saline solution or I should just wait for her to recover? She hasn’t been acting her usual self which is disheartening for me 🙁

16 Carol latorre { 05.10.16 at 8:26 pm }

My dog was just put on Posatex 5 days later I noticed he couldn’t hear I stopped the medication right away and cleaned his ears with Oti-cleans. Right now he can only hear a loud high pitched sound. He understands everything my husband and I would say to him but now he can not hear us he is supposed to go back to the vet the day after tommrow I don’t know what he plans on telling me. I called him last week and told him right away and he said just to flush his ears but never told me deafness was a possibility. I would never have given him this medication right now I am blaming myself for not reading the side effects even though I have had other dogs on Ottomax and nothing has happened. I am so angry that they even use this for dogs or cats if deafness is a possibility. I only pray his hearing comes back. We all love our little guy’s

17 Carol latorre { 05.11.16 at 1:09 pm }

Are there any future updates on these pets that have lost their hearing. My Kringle seems to be the same , he can just hear high pitched sounds and not all, he can not hear his squeaky toy at all , I hold it right behind him and he cannot hear it and he loves his squeaky toys the best. I,m am so worried his hearing won,t come back does anyone know if this a permanent issue

18 Carol latorre { 05.11.16 at 3:00 pm }

Today I spoke to the Merck company they put me thur to a vet she told me that 80 percent of the time the hearing will return said to give it up to 3 months. I ask d her what happens then if Kringles hearing does not come back. She said maybe see a neurologists. Are you kidding me. He was a healthy dog 2 weeks ago

19 joann { 05.31.16 at 6:40 pm }

Mometamax main ingredient is gentamicin sulfate which a known neurotoxin and in humans when given orally may cause loss of hearing. Consider that the ear canal has many superficial blood vessels which can absorb the medication and of course superficial nerves are there also. I have always suspected that using it was a bad idea despite the vet’s thinking it shouldn’t cause deafness. Of course the manufacturer knows about the side effects of gentamicin. – thank you for posting this.

20 pat { 06.01.16 at 7:36 am }

This drug can also cause hearing loss in humans.

21 Liz { 06.02.16 at 10:23 pm }

I posted in December and said my dogs hearing was back to about 60%. Just wanted to report that it seems to have gradually gotten worse and is probably 50% now or maybe less. So sad that this is happening to the poor dogs.

22 Terri { 06.06.16 at 3:10 pm }

It seems as though the hearing loss issue with Monetamax is greater than most vets think. I have an 11 year old cockapoo who has bad allergies and as a result, often gets ear infections. She has been prescribed Monetamax several times without any issues. But, this time, within 3 days of using the drops, she started behaving strangely…head shaking, disoriented, lethargic, etc. It took me about 24 hours to realize that she was totally deaf!! I googled “sudden deafness in dogs” and the first thing that popped up was Monetamax!! I took my dog to the vet the next day. She flushed out her ears and said that her ear drums looked totally fine. She also then admitted that these antibiotic drops can, in RARE cases, cause deafness in dogs. She said that the hearing usually comes back, but there is a chance that it could be permanent. My vet was very apologetic, didn’t charge me for the visit and said she would report the incident to the drug manufacturer. She also said that its kind of a “catch 22.” They need to have the infection cleared with antibiotic drops, but occasionally it causes this side affect. We are now on day 11 since she started Mometamex. The vet switched her to a different med. I might be starting to see a little glimmer of her hearing returning. It seems like she can detect high pitch sounds, like when my other dog barks or a whistle, but if i call her name or mention words like walk, treat, car ride….I get nothing. I’m so sad and praying that her hearing returns.

23 Asusebukuy { 06.07.16 at 10:30 am }

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24 Janet { 06.11.16 at 8:00 am }

I wish I saw this website before giving my dog Mometamax. After 10 day treatment regiment she is totally deaf. The vet said it was not the meds but that she probably was going deaf anyway. I am beside myself with guilt. I am more angry at him than I am at Merck because he never will admit when a drug is at fault. I will be calling Merck on MOnday and continue to pray that Maggie’s hearing returns, even if partial.

25 Jen { 07.06.16 at 10:44 am }

Update: Sorry for the late update, I wrote back in May and my dog’s hearing came back fully in late beginning of June. I took her back to the vet and he said she was perfect with no infections. This past weekend though the left ear became inflamed and there’s yellow flakes/spots in her ear. Taking her to the vet on Thursday but hoping to not repeat the same mistake again.

26 pat { 07.07.16 at 5:52 pm }

Try Zymox. OTC for yeast and bacterial infections. Vet recommended to me

27 Brad { 08.12.16 at 11:02 pm }

My senior girl recently had a terrible ear infection and after 5-6 days of antibiotics started to come around, by the second week she was doing great. The pet ER gave me Baytril otic as a topical once a day. So I took her to my vet to have a growth on her mouth removed (benign), we had a prelim visit and he looked at her ER meds and told me to start her on Mometamax. So I started using that once a day, massaged in well. After maybe 2 weeks of the Mometamax she suddenly has vestibular disease. I had no idea that especially in geriatric dogs it could cause deafness or vestibular issues.

I’m heartbroken, it’s awful. No, I don’t know for sure its the Mometamax but I never would have taken the chance especially after the bad ear infection she had. Not sure if the Baytril otic was better but I wish I stayed on that. Of course my vet just left me swinging about long term ear care post antibiotics, was I supposed to stay on Mometamax forever ? And I had recently ordered Zymox otic to try out, came today after I had already taken her to the vets for a all day stay…

I think she was starting to show signs yesterday that I took for fatigue and that she’s almost 14. So I’m praying and hoping and massaging…hoping she will recover in the 2-3 days or 2 weeks timetable I’m reading about for vestibular issues. Just when I thought maybe I had the ears issue helped and maybe we’d have another year or so of life and love…

She has arthritis and rear issues but we walk daily and car rides too. Her quality of life was good for her age I thought. Now I’m scared she might have lingering issues at her age. I may contact Merck and the FDA. I just wish vets were up on this stuff and cared. No way would I have used Mometamax on a 14 yr old. God bless all of you.

28 pat { 08.13.16 at 8:36 am }

It must be really scary for your girl not to hear or not to hear as well as she used to. Chonic ear infections are a SYMPTOM of an underlining issue. Check her diet. At her age I would home prepare; spoil her rotten. Are you treating her arthritis with pain meds and supplements? If environmental allergies are causing her ear infections, bathe her at least once per week or take her swimming which her old bones will love.

29 karen Campbell { 08.18.16 at 9:08 am }

So, I am reading through all these comments because my golden has an ear infection and I will have the vet culture it (to see if it is yeast or bacteria) but my question is; if it is bacterial and he needs an antibiotic what is a safe one to ask for? I’m sorry if that is mentioned but I read a lot and never came across the answer thanks!

30 pat { 08.22.16 at 7:46 am }

Tresederm for yeast. Baytrill for bacterial. Over the counter Zymox treats both.

31 Tyler Rembert { 10.16.16 at 7:40 pm }

I was given this same medication for my 13 year old border Collie. My dog went deaf within 5 days of treatment. I returned to the vet only to be told that it could possibly be the medicine but probably cognitive changes. I am heartbroken. My Roscoe was hearing just fine before train him with these same ear drops. It’s been 2 weeks and no change. The vet told me to return in a couple of weeks if no improvement. I am heartbroken. I wish I had read the warnings before giving them mometa vet drops.

32 pat { 10.18.16 at 8:54 am }

I’m sorry Tyler. It is heartbreaking. Reading labels is a lesson too many have had to learn the hard way as we trust our vets to help, not harm, our pets.

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