Ear infections are a common and often painful condition in both dogs and cats. If untreated ear infections can progress to a more serious condition causing hearing loss and other internal organ problems. It is important to identify an ear infection early and consult your veterinarian so your pet can receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition progressing.
Why has my dog got an ear infection?
There are many causes and reasons why dogs get ear infections. Dogs that are prone to skin allergies or have floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are more prone to ear infection as are dogs that spend a lot of time swimming or in a moist environment
Signs your dog has an ear infection
Common signs of ear infection include:
- Scratching, rubbing or shaking the ears and head
- Redness or swelling on the inner ear flap
- Discharge from the ears that is waxy, black or yellow in colour
- An unusual often pungent smell coming from the ear
- Dogs with ear infection are often unhappy and often react painfully when you touch their ears
If you notice any of these signs in your dog it is time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
What will happen during my pets consultation at the vet?
It is recommended if possible to withhold food from your pet on the day of your consultation in case sedation is required to make examination of painful ears more comfortable. At your appointment the vet will:
- Perform a complete physical examination and collect all relevant history on your pet to ensure no other health conditions are present.
- Fully examine the internal structures of your petsâ€™ ears with an otoscope to ensure the ear drum is intact and no grass seeds or other foreign material is present in the ear
Sometimes the ear infection can make this procedure painful and your pet may need to be sedated so the procedure can be performed thoroughly and painlessly.
- A swab or sample will be collected from the ear. This sample will be prepared during your appointment for examination under the microscope. Microscopic examination will detect what type of bacteria/yeast is causing the problem and enable the vet to prescribe medication targeting the specific cause
- Your pets ears will be thoroughly cleaned removing as much debris, dirt and foreign material as possible. Your vet will demonstrate some simple tricks that will make instilling ear medication easier
- Your vet will clearly explain what medication and treatments you will need to perform at home and schedule a follow-up appointment for your pets ears to be re-examined
What type of treatment may I be required to do at home?
Often treatments for ear infections include a combination of oral tablets and ear medication cleaners. All home care instructions will be clearly explained at your appointment. If you have any problems understanding or giving home care treatments please call Vet Cross at your earliest convenience.
What happens at my follow up appointment?
At your follow up appointment your vet will re-examine your dogâ€™s ears with the otoscope to determine the success of the treatment. If needed treatments will be changed or modified at this appointment. Once the infection has cleared your vet will advise you as to how you can help prevent your pet from re-infection.
How can I prevent my dog from getting another ear infection?
- Maintain good flea and ear mite control
- Routine cleaning of your pets ears with appropriate cleaners like Bayer Ear Clean. This reduces the wax and debris that ear infections can start from
- Monitoring the ears regularly for changes in smell or appearance
- Appropriate diets. Certain skin diets can reduce the chance of ear infections by improving the health of the lining of the ear and skin in general
- Allergy control medications. Some pets, regardless of all the best treatments, continue to have problems. The best way to minimise suffering and improve results is to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible
Some pets regardless of all the best treatments continue to have problems, the best way to minimise suffering and improve results is to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.