Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Are your pet's ears smelling kind of off? Full of "stuff" that just shouldn't be there? Lots of ear scratching going on?   Any of the above, combined with head shaking, red and swollen ears, and a "don't touch me" attitude may mean an ear infection.  What causes ear infections and what can you do about them? Read on…

Inflammation of the ears occurs in cats and dogs when the ear canal glands in the lining of the ear enlarge and produce lots of wax. This usually occurs due to 
allergies to pet food, fleas and/or dust mites
infection caused by mites or trauma to the ear
hormonal imbalances
immune system issues
or an accumulation of hair or dead skin in the ear canal.

A chronic inflammation of the external ear canal is called otitis externa. This causes itchiness, redness, and pain. When it's chronic, or untreated, it can lead to otitis media.

Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, and is usually the next step after untreated or chronic otitis externa. Fluid buildup from inflammation can cause a rupture in the membrane between the external ear and middle ear (the eardrum).

Dogs and cats of all ages and breeds can be affected by otitis externa—however, dog breeds with small ear canals, hairy ear canals or long ears tend to be more susceptible. 

Breeds most prone to otitis externa include:

Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, German Shepherds, Hounds, Terriers, and Shar Pei 

Your vet will treat with antibacterial, corticosteroid, anti-yeast, or antiseptic drops. If an infectious organism is found in the ear, an oral antibiotic or antifungal may be prescribed. A corticosteroid may also be used to reduce inflammation and pain.

Some products for canine otitis externa combine an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and an antifungal to help ensure your pet's otitis externa does not progress to the middle ear. 

Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears at home can prevent a lot of future problems. Put some ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ears, rub the base of the ear to dislodge the debris, and then wipe it out with cotton balls. Your dog will do some head shaking, which you can follow up with a towel drying. Cotton swabs can be used on the exterior folds of the ears, but never inside the ear, of course.

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