Ear troubles are common among household pets, and most pet lovers have experienced them first hand. A painful and often frustrating problem, pet ear infections are no fun for you or your animal. Good thing your friends at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital are here to help!
All About Pet Ear Infections
Pet ear infections are typically not the same as ear infections that humans experience. When we suffer from an ear infection, the problem usually resides in the middle ear behind the eardrum. While pets can also suffer from this, they most commonly have trouble in the external ear canal and ear flap (pinna). This is called otitis externa.
Otitis externa can be irritating, itchy, and downright painful. It may affect just one ear or both, and symptoms can vary from pet to pet. Some clues your four-legged ward may be experiencing ear trouble include:
- Persistent head shaking
- Scratching at the ear
- Rubbing the ear on the ground
- Reaction when the ear is touched
- Noticeable swelling of the ear or ear canal
- Redness of the ear flap or canal
- Bad odor from the ears
- Increased or abnormal discharge from the ears
Some pet ear infections do not start off as infections, but rather inflammation within the ear. This can happen as a result of allergies, moisture, or other irritants. This can lead to an imbalance in the skin’s normal flora, resulting in an overgrowth of microorganisms in the ear canal.
Infections are typically caused by some type of yeast, bacteria, or combination of the two. Pet ear infections can also be complicated by parasites such as ear mites.
Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital to the Rescue
If you think your pet might have an ear infection, please don’t delay in calling us. The sooner we can identify and treat the issue, the better.
It’s important for us to examine your pet and his or her ears each time there’s an issue. Not only are we looking in your pet’s ears to confirm an infection, we’re also checking for any foreign objects, growths, or anatomical abnormalities that might be contributing to the problem. It’s also important for us to verify that your pet’s eardrum is intact. These factors can all change the course of treatment.
Often we obtain a sample from your pet’s ears to examine under a microscope. This allows us to identify what type of infection is present and dictates which medications are most likely to be successful. Remember, even if your pet has experienced ear problems before, the same medication may not be appropriate now, as there can be different causes of ear infections.
Treating Pet Ear Infections
Most pet ear infections are treated with topical medications. We can show you how to apply any medications your pet might need and will likely want to see him or her after a few weeks to ensure the problem is resolved.
Most ear infections go away quickly with appropriate treatment. In some cases, however, the problem can be recurrent due to an underlying, predisposed problem. Additional diagnostic testing may be necessary if your pet’s ear troubles are frequent or do not respond as expected to normal therapies.
It’s important to treat pet ear infections promptly and thoroughly in order to maintain your pet’s comfort and to protect his or her hearing. We’re here to help you navigate this common problem and keep your faithful companion happy and healthy.