Ear infections

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We see pets with ear infections nearly ever day. It is estimated that 20% of dogs have an ear infection at any given time. That means that ear disease is a common cause of discomfort for our furry family members. Therefore, it’s important that you recognize the signs of ear disease so we can see your pet for  prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Signs of ear disease include shaking their head, scratching behind their ears, rubbing their head on the floor, groaning while having their ears scratched, scaly skin around the ear canal, discharge and foul odour from their ears. Many of this these signs are from the intense itching that ear infections can cause.

There are 4 main causes of ear infections:

  • Anatomy: dogs that have very floppy ears and dogs that have lots of hair in their ear canals are more prone to ear infections because it restricts air flow and can cause moisture and warmth to build up in their ear canals which are ideal for yeast and bacterial growth
  • Ear mites: these parasites are very contagious and cause extreme itching. We usually see theses more often in puppies and kittens.
  • Allergies: Allergies to food or pollen can make ears very red and itchy. The resulting inflammation can cause yeast and bacteria to overgrow
  • Fungal and bacterial infections: These normally develop due to an underlying predisposing cause such as those mentioned above. Dogs that swim a lot are also predisposed. Dogs are also more prone to developing yeast infections after a bath, as yeast infections thrive in moist environments.  Fungal infections cause itching and a yellow brown discharge and odour from the ear.

Treating your pet’s ears:

  • Treating the infection:  Ear cleaning will be prescribed with an ear cleaner such as epi-otic along with medicated drops to treat the infection. Dr. Kerri will clean your pets ears and show you how to administer the drops. Dogs that swim a lot need to have their ears cleaned with epi-otic after a swim to dry out their ear canals to help prevent infection. The same should be done after bath time as well.
  • Treating the underlying cause: This may involve allergy testing or removing hair from the ear canal. If there is an anatomical abnormality causing narrowing of the ear canal, surgery may need to be performed to open the ear canal

Ear infections can become chronic and difficult to treat. If your pet is showing any signs of ear disease, contact us to book a home visit. Early treatment can result in quicker resolution and your furry loved one will be free from discomfort much sooner.