Proper ear care is extremely critical to your pet’s overall health and wellbeing! It can also go a long way to preventing ear infections in dogs and other pets, which can be both costly to you and painful for your animals. But many times we don’t think about the implications of not taking care of our pet’s ears until it’s too late!
How ear infections in dogs and other pets are caused
In dogs and cats, the ear canal is not a straight line. Instead, the canal is very long and makes a turn before going deeper and stopping at the ear drum. Because of this turn, wax can build up over time and cause infections if not cleaned regularly. Many people don’t know that there is always a minute amount of yeast and bacteria of the surface of an animal’s skin and that includes the ear canal, which makes it very susceptible to painful infections. Ear infections in dogs and cats can also be the result of water getting into the ears and getting trapped by an existing wax build up. That’s why it’s so important to clean the pet’s ears after every bath or if they’ve gone swimming!
What are the symptoms of ear infections?
Obviously your pet can’t tell you that their ears hurt, but there are a couple of common signs that you can watch out for on a daily basis. Constant shaking of the head and scratching of the ears can be the first indication of an infection. Also, if the ears are putting out a sour, unpleasant smell, then you can almost be assured that an infection is present. The ears can actually swell up and your pet may howl when you touch them. All these are indicators to make an appointment with our office right away!
Treating ear infections properly with medications
At Sarasota Vet Center, we can accurately tell what is causing the infection with a simple ear swab. Once the cause is determined, there can be several courses of action. It can be as quick as flushing out the canal with special tools to allow the ear to breathe and prescribing a round of medicated ear drops. Or, if the ear infection is very severe, a round of oral antibiotics may be needed to clear up a bacterial infection deep in the canal. We can also use a cortisone or anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce pain and inflammation, giving your pet much needed relief!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
The best medicine, of course, is a preventative approach to ear care! That is why we highly recommend that you get in the habit of cleaning your pet’s ears regularly with an antiseptic ear cleaner. You can also have regular ear cleanings or hair removal done with the grooming services at our office! That way you and your pet will never have to deal with the pain-and expense-of an ear infection.