Ear Health in Dogs and Cats

Pet Ear HealthHealthy adult pets with almost never get ear infections. Most often, the first infection that a dog or cat gets is just random, but if the infection returns after being treated, you should contact your vet for further investigation. Some facts on ear health:

 1. Ear infections often are the result of another problem
In most cases, when a pet has an ear infection, there’s another problem going on. Allergies to ingredients in the pet’s food and/or environmental triggers like pollen, molds, and dust mites are the most common cause.  Occasionally ear infections can be brought on by abnormalities, masses, or something foreign has entered the ear.

2. Bacteria and Yeast Infections or Ear Mites?
When people see their pet scratching their ears they often assume it is ear mites. Ear mites are not that common, unless your pet has been in contact with another animal that has them. Bacterial and/or yeast infections are much more likely.

3. Regular Ear Cleaning is Vital to Pet Health
Keeping the ear canal clean is essential. Your vet will examine your pet’s ears during a routing examination. Examining the eardrum after cleaning is important to ensure the ear drum is not ruptured.

If you are cleaning your pet’s ears at home follow these steps:

  • fill the ear canal until it overflows with the cleaner
  • fold the ear flap over the canal and gently massage until a “squishy” noise is heard
  • then stand back and let the dog or cat shake his or her head. The shaking will bring deeper material to the surface where it can be wiped away.
  • Never dig down into the pet’s ear canal with cotton swabs or other objects. This will push the material deeper and possibly lead to a rupture of the ear drum.

 

4. If you suspect your pet is having ear discomfort call your veterinarian.
Chronic ear infections can lead to permanent alterations in the anatomy of a dog or cat’s ears, making future infections more likely and more difficult to treat. Consult with a veterinarian quickly when a pet develops the typical signs of an ear infection: head shaking, scratching at the ears, and/or discharge and a foul odor from the ears. The longer an ear infection goes without treatment, the harder it is to get rid of.

 

Call us for an appointment today if your pet is having ear problems or has not had an examination in a while.

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