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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 pat { 07.02.18 at 8:33 am }

Flush her ears out really well.

2 Betsy { 07.17.18 at 5:58 pm }

Why hasn’t Mometamex been suspended from giving to pets for “ear” infections?

3 Nina Daum { 08.08.18 at 1:01 pm }

I just rescued an 8 yr Golden Retriever two weeks ago and had to take her to the vet for eye infection in both eyes and clean out both her ears. They prescribed Mometamax 5-6 drops in both ears once a day for 7 days. My girlfriend mention this causes deafness in dogs. I read your article and the comments and will NOT use this med on Lily. Thanks for sharing your info.

4 Elizabeth { 08.11.18 at 11:05 pm }

This medication caused my standard poodle to lose her hearing. So far, she does not seem to hear anything. While this known issue only happens rarely, but who wants their baby to win this lottery??

5 Doreen { 08.12.18 at 4:07 pm }

Here it is 2018 and my 12 y.o. German Shepherd has gone completely deaf from the drug mometavet! I will be contacting Merck tomorrow after reading this column! I was not given any verbal warning from my vet! It has been 3 days since I stopped giving him the medicine. I flushed his ears once but don’t know if I should keep flushing as I don’t want to do anymore damage. It is so sad to see his personality change due to this sudden change. I feel awful I allowed this to happen. Please if anyone has any updates on their dogs, please share. I am so scared he will never get his hearing back!

6 Wendy { 09.04.18 at 3:39 pm }

My 11 yr old Aussie/Golden mix lost 100% of her hearing while a yeast infection was “treated” with Mometamax. The vet did not mention deafness as a potential side effect, and it took me a couple of days to recognize the hearing loss as it progressed during the course of treatment. Had I been cautioned, I would have declined the drug and sought an alternative. I’m now kicking myself for not having read the package insert until it was too late. The vet called Merck to file a report, with the Merck rep reporting that 50% of dogs recover some hearing within 4-8 weeks. The Merck rep also told the vet that there was no known intervention to assist with recovery and that no financial compensation would be provided to help with vet bills. Merck has my $32 and I have a dog with complete hearing loss. I guess that’s a fair trade from the point of view of a pharmaceutical company.

7 Wendy { 09.06.18 at 1:21 pm }

My 11 yr old Aussie/Golden mix lost all hearing while a yeast infection was treated with Mometamax. I spoke with Danielle at Merck to file an adverse reaction report. (Call 800-224-5318 to make the report, which will be forwarded to the FDA.) Danielle would not provide answers to most of my questions, stating that because no “patient-client relationship” exists with a dog owner, Merck is able to provide only limited information. Danielle stated that additional information could be provided to the prescribing vet. Here’s a summary of statements Danielle made in response to my questions:
1. Approximately 85% of dogs regain some degree of hearing. (Note that after the prescribing vet spoke with Merck, she said that Merck had placed the chance of regaining some degree of hearing at 50:50.)
2. Various treatments have been attempted, but the clinical responses are not well documented. Merck will provide no information regarding treatment options or results to dog owners – only to the prescribing vet. (Note that the prescribing vet said that Merck stated that no treatment options were recommended.)
3. Merck does not cover expenses for treatment of hearing loss. My case will be referred to a Dr. Nelson, who will not speak to me – only to the prescribing vet.
4. Merck has performed research studies on side effects of Mometamax. These results will be made available only via requests made through the Freedom of Information Act.
5. Merck cannot place a warning regarding the risk of deafness on the packaging – stating that decisions regarding the info placed on packaging made by the FDA.
I will be going to a vet who said that she has had some positive results treating deafness caused by Mometamax with acupuncture and laser therapy. I would appreciate any info from others who have tried this or other treatments.

8 Debi { 10.06.18 at 12:17 pm }

My heart is broken. My American Bull dog is completely deaf after 10 days of Momrtamax. I called my vet after googling “my dog is suddenly deaf” and found that this ear medicine causes deafness. She said she was sorry and there was nothing that could be done?? I have an appointment with a neurologist this week and hoping something can be done for him, he’s only 3.5 years old.

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